The thought had never crossed my mind to build life sized Sandcastles, so when I was invited to the annual Clam Harbour Sandcastle competition to represent Suniela Beach, I was intrigued and excited!
Every year 10,000 people flood Clam Harbour beach, which lines the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. It is here that an inspired few mold sand into the most incredible designs. The creativity may have started with castles but progressed as the day went on into unique, captivating sand sculptures!
I arrived on the beach with the morning mosquitos nipping away while we staged our day. Suniela Beach (suniela.com) first attended the Clam Harbour Sandcastle Competition in 2015, but for me this whole experience was unfolding in front of me for the very first time. It was a no brainer when the founder of Suniela offered me a space on her team in May, as I had spent years taking up space under Sunielas on beaches all over Nova Scotia & PEI already! These cabanas are the real deal in sunshade and don’t sacrifice your style. With so many years of admiration, I was thrilled for the opportunity to represent them in such a unique beach tradition.
A beach day holds ritual for me, so every step had been eloquently coordinated in advance. With our coolers jammed with local goodies and our beach accessories in tow, things began to take shape. The weather was in favor of the event so not a cloud emerged in a sun-soaked sky and our sunshade became our refuge. We line the mesh pockets on the inside of our cabana with sunscreen, water & our favourite books and prepare to perch while the sandcastles begin to take form around us.
OH! Solid beach read is Jessica Simpsons autobiography "Open Book". It was surprisingly amusing & captivating! I was never a huge Jessica Simpson fan but this book was so fantastic, a truly embracing read!
OKAY! Back to the beach! My first venture into the field of sculptures was like stepping into a classroom. So tedious each station with teams moving so effortlessly around, almost choreographed. Small utensils to carve, dig, smooth and shape handed between each member without fault. With the sun beaming down, I felt the need to ask if everyone had sunscreen on but tucked my inner mom inside and kept walking. With each unique design beginning to take shape in front of me, I decided it was time for some shade…and a snack! Snacking in my opinion is the ultimate beach activity, and fueling my body while in the heat has always been a top priority.
Hours passed, time slowed down, snacks dwindled but the beach became fuller and fuller. The sense of excitement mixed with the smell of sunscreen was glorious as I laid there waiting to see the final sand creations! As I knew judging was about to start and I had taken more than enough splashes in the waves I began my final adventure through the sand sculpture area. A beautiful horse wrapped closely with another (The Imperial Beer label!), a castle Rapunzel would have been thrilled to live in, a sunken living room complete with family pets and my absolute favourite, a giant Pineapple created out of rocks and flowers. My imagination was exploding!! I had always loved sand, its tiny rocks and warmth between my toes, but alas another reason to be in love with a white beach.
Our Suniela Beach setup, with its cabanas and photo booth sat proudly as neighbors to the awards area, so our whole team eagerly watched as each group accepted their awards. The winners of each category are presented a beautiful hand painted buoy, while a sunburned crowd forms to cheer sounds of encouragement! Feeling like we had become friends with the teams during our casual visits during the day, our proudness beams! A job well done!
As the event ends, the beach begins to clear and the sun slowly falls below the horizon... we take a moment to reflect and take a snap!
If there is ever a chance for you to truly use your beach imagination, I highly recommend joining the masses on Clam Harbour beach next year! Even if you are just in it for the snacks & not actually to build a castle like I was…