Okay, we admit it, we’ve become addicted to sea glass hunting. As Hector says “the ocean coughs up jewels for you to pick up on the beach”. It’s kind of magical how the ocean takes garbage – broken glass – and carves it into beautiful “gems”.
Part of the charm is that we’re discovering some absolutely striking beaches in our hunt for sea glass. And, since they’ve generally been too cold for me to swim in, this is a way to “connect” with the beaches without having to go into the water.
I find sea glass hunting to be incredibly relaxing. It’s a fully “in the moment” experience. In fact, a couple I met recently at one of the markets told me that the husband has a high stress job and that sea glass hunting is his way of relaxing. I totally get it.
And, like with many things that we’ve “discovered”, we find that there is an entire culture around sea glass. Also known as mermaid’s tears, a romantic thought. Sophisticated collectors, books, websites, conferences etc are devoted to the topic.
And there are colors that are considered much more rare than others and so forth. Clear (white), green, and brown are the most common. Blue, yellow, and red more rare. After some research, we think we’ve found some pretty nice pieces considering we are “newbies”.
And part of the intrigue of sea glass is trying to figure out where it came from. There are many sources of sea glass, including, of course, shipwrecks, old dump sites, and bottles thrown overboard or thrown over cliffs from beach houses in the past. The shape, color and thickness of the sea glass are clues, but there can be much more to it. Wondering where each piece came from is part of the fun.
While on Cape Breton Island, we found one of the most beautiful sea glass beaches, Inverness Beach. It’s in a lovely cove, almost deserted on some days we visited, and stretches for about three miles. A stunningly beautiful beach by any standard, and each tide delivers a fresh batch of sea glass jewels to be found. Magic.
Where did the sea glass come from? In this case, a town dump site that closed fifty years ago. Hard to think that people were dumping garbage into the ocean so recently. But five decades of ocean processing makes this one of the best beaches for sea glass we’ve found.
There’s also an interesting story about the town of Inverness, which was formerly a coal-mining town in decline. Inverness now boasts a golf course rated as the best new development in the world by Golf Inc. partially located above those very same coal mines.
For those that know golf (not me), the Cabot Trails course is one of 246 true “links” courses in more than 30,000 golf courses in the world. Every hole overlooks the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This design is partially from Scotland, where golf is said to have originated. And the town of Inverness was originally settled by Scots.
The project was controversial for a number of reasons not the least of which was that the golf course would block some access to the beach, leaving only one road going all the way to the beach from the town. Since it’s a three mile beach that was a big issue.
The developers finally relented and built a boardwalk from the entrance point to the end of the beach with multiple access points down to the water. So it’s still a long walk to the opposite end of the beach, but it’s a bit more accessible. Of course, the golf course promises new life to the town. And I hope for the best for Inverness.
But on the last day we visited, there they were – jellyfish, lots of them. Really? They were actually beautiful, and there was a strong surf, so many were getting washed ashore. Several Canadians I asked told me they don’t sting…much. Hmmm. Ultimately I didn’t go in.
We visited other beaches, many were quite pretty, many had sea glass, but none matched Inverness. A gorgeous stretch of beach, with clear water, pretty sand dunes and beautiful jewels among the stones.