I have written about the Hants Harbour Hamptons before. I wasn’t sure back then if I was only one of a few who thought Hants Harbour was the belly button of the world, but now I know for certain that it’s true.
I came to this realization by chance. It was a day like any other in the bay. Relaxing, rejuvenating and telephone free. The sense of inner peace was momentarily interrupted, however, by an anxious-looking man who stopped in his car outside our front door.
People are always stopping by to say hello or to ask if we know of any houses for sale. But this guy was different. For one thing, he seemed stressed, a strange thing for someone in the bay. And another thing, he was out of breath, a highly unusual state for someone behind the wheel of a car.
“Where’s the webcam store?” he blurted. Obviously he didn’t have time for small talk.
“There’s a store over there called Green’s,” said my husband.
“No, that’s not the name,” said the man and he hurried off, as breathless as he had come.
Intrigued, we asked around and discovered the man had been searching for Larry Tuck’s live webcam (http://larrytuck.tripod.com
/id99.html) which looks down Larry’s driveway at the Main Road in Hants Harbour. Larry’s webcam is only a few hundred metres from our house and has been running since 2006 with almost 240,000 views.
I remember when we lived in B.C., a guy directed a webcam at an eagle’s nest in a tree near his house. Every day we tuned in to see if the eagle eggs had hatched.
Watching Larry’s webcam is a bit like watching eggs hatch. Most of the time absolutely nothing happens on camera, but every now and then, wahoo, you might be in for a surprise. Larry’s webcam looks directly at the front of the one convenience store in Hant’s Harbour — Vince Green’s, a welcoming place where you can buy everything from touton dough to worms to nuts and bolts and dust masks by the each.
Besides the odd person going in and out, or passing in front of the store on a quad or in a truck, nothing significant happens. Yet you can’t help but check in on Larry’s webcam now and then just in case it’s the moment the eggs hatch. On Mondays, for example, you might catch a glimpse of the garbage truck. Or Anna, the resident runner, zip by. Or Alan Ash venture over to this side of the harbour from Custer’s Head.
But that, folks, is the true magic of the bay. Life is tranquil. It’s not a Costco rush. It’s not robocalls from the captain or credit services. It’s not stacks of junk mail. No, life in Hants Harbour means getting a friendly letter from town council at Christmas. It means salt air and crab and lobster. It means lighthouse rays flashing in your windows at night.
It means your 80-year-old neighbour climbing up a ladder to hammer down the corner of your roof in the middle of a winter snowstorm with winds strong enough to knock the feathers off a seagull because he knows you’re back in St. John’s and he’s worried about water damage to your new hardwood floors.
And for me, most of all, Hants Harbour means relaxing on the beach. St. Pete’s has got nothing on Hants Harbour Beach. The first thing No. 5’s friend, Ewan, wants to do when he gets to our cabin is go straight to the beach and start a campfire. Be it three in the afternoon or seven at night, down we go with the kindling and marshmallows and some chocolate-covered cookies donated by our townie neighbours, Esther and Jeanie.
The beach in Hants Harbour is small — I’m talking only about 30 metres long and probably four metres in depth, depending on the tide. An intriguing fact about the beach in Hants Harbour is that it’s covered in a stone alien to that area of Trinity Bay.
For a long time I had no idea what the grey egg-like rocks were. They’re almost as heavy as iron and when they’re cracked open, the interior looks just like liquid honey.
But now I know the rocks are chert. What the heck is chert, you say? Don’t despair, because I had to ask the same question. I actually gathered a handful of these egg-shaped rocks and brought them to the Department of Natural Resources on Elizabeth Avenue where a lovely British man named Ian Knight told me that the rocks are chert which is the same as flint.
Bob Pelley, our wonderful bay neighbour, the one who risked life and limb to climb on our roof in the middle of the snowstorm, had already told me that these rocks are not naturally occurring but rather were brought over as ballast on ships from England and France. This was confirmed by Ian, the British rock man — not that I doubted for a minute what Bob Pelley had told me. Ian explained that chert is a type of quartz from the cretaceous era and is so hard it was used by native people to make arrowheads. He went on to say honey-coloured chert usually indicates it’s from France and grey chert is from England.
I was so excited after visiting Ian at the Department of Rocks that I ran home to Google images of chert in Dover and by Jove, I could’ve taken the same shots on Hants Harbour beach.
So, if you happen out Winterton way come a little way north and drop in to see Hants Harbour beach. You can always take a quick peek at Larry’s webcam before you come to see what exciting things are happening.
And stay tuned next week to hear about d’Iberville’s trail which goes from Heart’s Content to New Melbourne.
Susan Flanagan is a journalist who just might make Larry’s Place her homepage. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
East Coast Trail feedback
Belinda Wilson writes: “Thank you, Mr. Gard. Amazing. So great to learn about the history of the East Coast Trail. Onwards and upwards.”
Renee Pendergast of the Mount Pearl Soccer Association (MPSA) writes: “The MPSA is now accepting registration for our summer micro program (either daytime or evening). All children welcome from ages 3-6, sessions start June 30-Aug. Cost is $160.
To register go to 1 Arena Rd., off Smallwood Drive, Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or call 364-9793. Email: email@example.com. Website: www.mpsa.ca. Twitter: @mpsa2013.