‘If you explore beyond the popular spots you can still find lots’
Sara Fraser · CBC News · Posted: Jul 16, 2017 8:00 AM AT | Last Updated: July 16, 2017
Beachcombing for interesting shells and beach glass has become an increasingly popular pastime — so much so that many Islanders claim P.E.I. beaches have been all but picked clean. We decided to ask some experts for their recommendations, and they generously shared. “Souris is one of my favourite places to frequent,” shared Red Island Sea Glass‘s Steph White, who makes jewelry and home decor from beach glass which she sells at several Island craft shops.
Souris is prime
Most readers, when asked on Facebook, concurred beaches in Souris, P.E.I., are prime spots.
“A lot of my personal collection is from the beaches there,” said White. “The sea glass tends to be more smooth, frosty and rounded compared to other places I’ve searched on the Island.” West Point Beach is suggested by the website Welcome PEI as “great to explore the shoreline and look for sea glass.” Tourism P.E.I.’s website has advice for sea glass hunters, too — in its Ask an Islander section, Patty Murphy said “I’ve always had good luck along the south shore beaches.” “If you venture farther along the coastline away from the entrance to a beach, you are more likely to find interesting shells, driftwood, and possibly some sea glass,” she advises.
‘Just about any beach’
Guy and Cindy Cousineau run an inn and craft shop in Charlottetown where, for $15, you can pick out a piece of beach glass from their huge collection — or bring your own — and learn how to wrap it with silver wire to make a pendant. The Cousineaus got hooked on collecting beach glass about 13 years ago, Guy shared, and said “you can find glass on just about any beach.” The couple shares beachcombing tips and jewelry-making tutorials on their website, seaglassing.ca.
Cousineau was surprised to recently find several good pieces at Brackley Beach in the P.E.I. National Park, he said, and Tea Hill Park beach in Stratford, P.E.I., has yielded some good finds at low tide, he shared.
Cousineau also suggests MacLeod Road Beach just before the Wood Islands ferry, where he said the picking can be good along the west side of the terminal’s breakwater.
‘The sea glass found me’
Teri Hall is the grand dame of P.E.I. beach glass — she started walking the beaches to relax after stressful days as a corrections officer, and started taking home bits of colourful, tumbled glass she’d spotted.
“The sea glass found me,” she said. Hall began making sea glass jewelry about 20 years ago — Fire & Water Creations was likely the first on P.E.I. Hall has even written a book — A Sea Glass Journey: Ebb and Flow. Hall collected most of her beach glass in Souris, she shares, but has a huge collection and doesn’t comb the shore much anymore. “My head doesn’t have to be cranked down anymore!” she laughs. Hall did share her top tips for finding beach glass.
- Look for a source of glass, like old dump sites, fishing villages or old farms along the shore.
- Look for the right shoreline — the right combination of gritty sand, wind and PH level will tumble and frost the glass perfectly.
- If the glass is still fairly clear and sharp, throw it back.
- Blue, red, orange, yellow, or purple are more valuable and rare than green, clear or brown.
- Interesting maker’s marks or printing can add interest to sea glass.
- Go after a storm, where the ocean can toss up treasures onto the beach.
- Enjoy the search — don’t get too obsessed.
If you love beach glass, you’ll want to visit the 9th annual Mermaid Tears Sea Glass Festival at the lighthouse in Souris July 29 and 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’ll feature sea glass art, displays, sea glass bingo and a $400 prize for the best sea glass shard, as well as other prizes for most unusual, people’s choice award, best pottery piece, and best bonfire glass.