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Hanuse Beach at Floodtide

Hanuse Beach at Floodtide


If you’ve never been to Hanuse Beach, you must go! It is really the estuary of the Nimpkish River and lies directly across Broughton Strait from Alert Bay. When the tide is at an extreme low, the beach, sometimes sand, often mud, is safe to walk on, reaching out from shore toward Alert Bay for over a kilometer.

The name is derived from the Hanuse family of Alert Bay, who were involved with logging the Nimpkish Valley and much of the immediate area, including Mt. Holsworth, the mountain that looms over Beaver Cove. It was here at Hanuse Beach that the logs were brought and boomed for southern markets. The old pilings that held the booms are still part of a landscape that is part of the heritage of the Namgis people of Alert Bay.

The beach is very accessible, if you don’t mind a few scratches on you car when you drive down the narrow road leading to it. It begins just behind what used to be the Visitor’s Centre near the Beaver Cove turnoff. A brief search of this small area will result in finding the little opening in the bush that is the start of about a kilometer- long road. If you value the paint job on your car, park it at the Visitor’s Centre and walk your way in, as many people do, but do take some rubber footwear if you are going to walk the beach. The shoreline, alternating sand and pebbles, is very walk-able up to the Nimpkish River or just for lolling about and watching the wildlife.

On the day I painted this 16x20 acrylic, I snuggled back among the driftwood and under a shade tree to get away from the glare of the sun on my canvas. I had arrived there when an extremely low tide was just beginning to flood. As I settled in to paint, I could just barely make out the figures of several people beginning the long walk back to the shore carrying sticks and buckets with crabs they had caught. As the day and the painting progressed in my little pocket in the bush, a number of hikers passing by didn’t see me until they were directly beside me. After the startling discovery, we often had some interesting conversations, each one different depending on the personalities: a young couple enjoying an obviously amorous stroll; a father and daughter having a picnic, and a gentleman allowing his two ecstatic dogs to have the run of this immense space.

A walk in the direction away from the river will take you to Theimer Falls, which spills into the ocean in a secret little cove. To reach these places takes some effort but makes them all the more charming. So, put a picnic lunch in your back pack, put on an old pair of runners and hit the Hanuse trail. You will enjoy it, guaranteed!

Henschel Fine Arts
Henschel Fine Arts


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