Chockpish — Elaine

There is a lobster processing plant here and this time of year lobster canning is in full swing. All of the workers have arrived, their cars crammed into the parking lot. We drive past the red buildings, as red as boiled lobster, and park near some sheds, away from the activity.

A little grey weathered footbridge is the magical passage way to Chockpish beach. It’s open water, big waves, especially since it’s windy, and you can see the wind turbines on Prince Edward Island’s coast off in the distance. I imagine them spinning like crazy.

On our side there are upscale, widely-spaced cottages perched on the shore. Windows face the sea, like eyes looking out toward the pencil-line blue horizon and cottony white clouds. Actually, our favourite cottage of all time is here, and I’ll tell you, we’ve done a lot of exploring and looking at cottages as we’ve travelled the Acadian Coast. We’ve been lusting for it for the past ten years. It’s grey shingle with a stone chimney, two stories, a filigree screen door that lets in the sea breeze. Roses are climbing up the side. Some folks from Ontario own it, we think. Someday, we fantasize, it may have a “For Sale” sign on it. And we’ll have truckloads of cash after we win the Lotto to buy it.

Chockpish Wharf


Chockpish — what does it mean? Sounds native, but we’ve never been able to find any information about it. “Chock full of fish” is what I think about.

The sand on Chockpish beach is fine and warm this day, even though a stiff, cool breeze is blowing, ruffling the grass and churning up whitecaps.

A formidable stone breakwater says “Danger: No Trespassing on Rubble Mound Structure”. I wouldn’t dream of it.

Closer up, the waves are ink blue with undertones of rootbeer brown— sand stirred up as the waves break on the shore. I study some subtle patterns in the sand close up. They’re fine line drawings made by hidden hands in the waves as they advance and recede.

Lobster boat at Chockpish Wharf

Chockpish is all about motion

A seagull hangs in the air. Three cormorants dart from the other side of the rubble breakwater and fly low, just skimming the water. The gulls like the wind, they play with it, hovering and diving, letting it lift and drop them. The more agile terns use it to change direction like acrobats. One seagull perches on top of a pole, watching for a long time, like he owns the place.

The sea grass twitches like a horse’s flank. Like a horse that has been spooked.

I am praying that the Louisiana oil spill doesn’t make it up here. Chockpish is pristine, virginal and pure, up to this point, anyway. It’s a treasure. One of the nicest beaches around, it seems like not many people know about it. Even at the height of the summer, we never see many visitors here. Today it’s just us.

We walk back over the footbridge to the wharf. There are interesting, colourful boats bobbing next to it. A metal bridge spans the Chockpish River that widens here and empties into the ocean. The cars going over it make a muffled thunk thunk sound.

Today, Chockpish is all about motion. Motion and clarity, everything is in sharp focus.