Canada Day at Wreck

Caroline came down from Squamish and wanted to collect her rope, so I obliged and she presented me with an excellent bag of caramel popcorn, home made.

I didn’t have anything better to do so I headed down to Wreck Beach. Now Wreck is a magical place where you will see All Sorts of Things, which I will attempt to describe. Some people believe that all the people down there are wrecks, but this is only partially true; apparently it is named after a shipwreck. Of course if you want to take all your clothes off and parade naked in front of large numbers of random strangers, you can do that, but if you just want to generate a bit of vitamin D, that’s OK too. I’ve been going down there for at least a couple of years, learned the names and idiosyncrasies of some of the regulars, trying to grow foot muscles to make my feet happy.

When I arrived, just after 12 noon, it was cloudy, a bit windy, and not particularly warm. A quick survey suggested that all the ladies were wearing clothes. Coffee Man Dan was the only vendor selling food, and he was doing good business. I still had my caramel popcorn. A customer asked about beer, and Dan referred him to a tall man wearing a pink bikini. It seems you can always find beer at Wreck. Other than the pink bikini, many people were wearing red and white for Canada Day.

My next project was to see if I could get to Secret Beach without having to walk on the breakwater. I made it easily; the tide was within an hour of low-low. There wasn’t much exciting going on at Secret; one guy was there, searching for solitude. I sat on a nice log and opened my package of caramel popcorn. A very large and competent looking seagull sat on the other end of the log and warily watched as I ate my popcorn. After a few minutes I offered a piece of popcorn to the seagull. Now, seagulls have a hard life; most things are predators so they are wary. I put the popcorn about a meter away and watched while the seagull gathered up courage, and eventually, the popcorn. I repeated this three times, then finished the popcorn and explained to the seagull that there was no more. The seagull lowered its landing gear and prepared for a nap. Apparently I had a new friend.

Not much was happening at Secret so I headed back to where the action is. I found a dead baby seal, only partially eaten. That’s the second dead seal I have found this year. Other years I found a dead raccoon, and about a million dead crabs; crabs must be expendable. Apparently the GVRD employees go around burying dead seals but they don’t much enjoy the work so if you point out the location of yet another dead seal, they aren’t very grateful.

At the other end of the beach are the sand cliffs, where a couple of years ago a bunch of sand fell down and killed somebody who was camping on the beach. More sand had fallen recently so I searched for feet sticking out, but there were none. By now the wind had died and the sky was blue; I took off my jacket. I encountered a couple of Canada Geese, and they didn’t seem particularly afraid of me, but they did have about 8 babies with them. I guess that, like the seagull, they learn that Wreck humans aren’t particularly predatory. Or if you have 8 babies, maybe one extra more or less doesn’t matter much.

I walked back towards all the Canada Day revelers and noted two RCMP officers sitting on a log and watching and chatting, and enjoying the sun, and keeping an eye out for trouble. A few years ago there were four officers there and they were searching people’s bags for illegal stuff, dumping out beer, generally making themselves very unpopular. Nowadays their role could be described as “public relations”, which is a great improvement. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. A man in a Superman costume and wearing a bright orange wig dropped by and explained to the officers that he would be happy to help if needed, but today was his day off. One of the officers said he wore a superman shirt under his uniform. Some tourists, probably Americans, approached warily, probably expecting to be shot, because that’s apparently how it works down in Trump-land. I wondered what would be required to get the officers off their log. I soon found out.

A small black animal wandered across the beach. The officers confirmed that it was a baby sea otter. It was totally uninterested in humans, either as predators or as a source of food. The officers had to speak authoritatively to the humans or they would have probably trampled it in the course of trying to take pictures/selfies. I think that no otters or humans were killed.

After the sand dumping from shoes ritual, and before going up the stairs, I had to check the vendors. They were all there by now, Dan was still selling coffee, but Rachel the Coconut Lady wasn’t there. Instead, she had an understudy, as well as a rather chubby naked guy. The understudy, named Zane, gave me a nice smile and said she’d sell me a particularly large ice cream bar, but I’m too cheap. She’s not quite as beautiful as Rachel, but entirely OK. I suggested to her that maybe the chubby naked guy was scaring away customers.

On the way up, the stairs were pretty near full, with people coming down. At the top of the stairs a nice lady was trying to get somebody to carry supplies down for one of the vendors. I briefly considered a trip down and up again, but decided I’d had enough exercise, so went home.

If you would like to go to Wreck Beach but feel under-qualified for such an excursion, be aware that I am a fully qualified WBCG (Wreck Beach Certified Guide), and I can arrange a dream trip for you, for suitable compensation.

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2 Responses to Canada Day at Wreck

  1. Roland Burton says:

    The sequel: Just three things to report today
    1) Dogs are becoming more prevalent though not allowed down there. Some people will not be happy if told to take their dog home, and to pay the fine.
    2) Zane and Rachel are running separate businesses, so Zane is not an understudy. She’s very good at selling, but I’m very cheap.
    3) I got a naked hug from somebody who’s been going down there for at least a couple of years. The number of naked hugs which I have accumulated over the years can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand. She apologized for being “slimy” (suntan lotion) but I said that “slimy” doesn’t bother me. Previously, Carla guessed that she is a taxi driver and I guessed that she’s into healthcare or looking after people somehow. Turns out she works at getting single moms off their drug habits so they can get their kids back. So I won!

  2. Caroline Jung says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed the popcorn and enjoyed the time on the beach! Thank you again for helping me pick up the order :))

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