Water, water everywhere

5 January 2008


When I lived in Florida, this was my idea of “beach:”




During my recent stay in Chemainus, BC, I lived near Kin Beach:




Although they hardly compare, I admit that Kin Beach is still a beach. But I had more trouble with what constituted the “ocean.”


Vancouver Island sits off the coast of the Canadian mainland. In between is the Strait of Georgia, and to the west is the Pacific Ocean.


I got tickled when the locals referred to the Strait as the ocean itself. I mean, the town doesn’t even sit directly on the Strait but rather on Chemainus Bay which itself is on the Stuart Channel, which separates Vancouver Island from several smaller islands in the Strait. So are these really “ocean views?”


The arguments I heard made sense, but were still unconvincing. “It’s salt water!” Well, so are Utah’s Great Salt Lake and the Middle East’s Dead Sea. “The island is sitting in the ocean, so that’s the ocean all around it.” Hmm. Florida sticks into the Atlantic, but Florida’s west coast residents say they live on the gulf coast, for the Gulf of Mexico. Now, Hawaii—those are islands with the Pacific on both sides!


Maybe I’m just over-particular about details. If I look out my window in Toronto, I see my street, which is part of the city. But if my apartment was advertised as having “city views,” I would expect to see the Toronto skyline. It’s just a matter of clarity. 


So am I wrong? Is any inlet, waterway or other extension of the ocean still “the ocean?” Technically, I suppose, yes. Am I too picky? Or are the locals puffing up something that needs no exaggeration? Because whatever you called what I was looking at, it is still attractive and pride-worthy.





  1. I’m a transplanted Floridian. Did you live on the Atlantic of Gulf coast? In either case, I don’t think you’re being too picky at all. If you go to Ft. Lauderdale Beach (I’m from the Lauderdale area) you have the “beach” and then you have the “intercoastal.” The intercoastal side of the barrier islands have “beaches” as well — that is to say they have moderately sandy areas that run off into the water. But sand and water, a beach, do not make. I found it HORRIBLY offensive when I went to the “beach” in Ohio. I don’t care how “Great” they are, fresh water lakes are no substitute to the majesty of true open water ocean expanses.

    Plus the water was so bloody cold!

  2. You crack me up.

    My beach right now is my bathtub, with all the kitty litter that the cats spread around every day during their Kitty Litter Fiesta Time.


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