My sister Lynda and her husband Bill have built a great house on Cortes Island in British Columbia along the Pacific coast in a group of islands just east of the large Vancouver Island.
I took a floatplane from Vancouver and landed at a nearby public dock. The ride was pretty neat, the Dehavilland Beaver, built in the 1950’s, made a couple of stops to drop off passengers at other islands nearby. I was a bit concerned when I got on the plane and the young pilot was wearing shorts and flip flops, but I understood when one of the stops was at a beach in front of the passenger’s house and it didn’t have a dock. The pilot jumped out as we hit the beach and had to wade a little to pull the plane up on the sand.
I sat up front in the co-pilot seat and had headphones that let me hear the air traffic control as crossed waypoints during the hour-long flight. We never got over 1,000 feet, usually around 500 and rarely broke 100 mph. The old engine was loud but she sounded steady and it was a fun ride.
Cortes Island sits in Desolation Sound between the much larger Vancouver Island and the mainland of Canada. It is full of tall ferns that grow up to your waist and was once covered by huge Douglas Fir, Hemlock and cedar trees, but were mostly been cut years ago leaving massive stumps. Second growth has taken over and even they are starting to get harvested. I liked the Alder trees that tend to grow quickly in bare places but they don’t last long, their bark is light colored and has interesting patterns.
The locals are proud of their Arbutus trees, which have a smooth, almost skin-color bark and Cortes Island is the northern most reach of their existence. Lynda and Bill tell me that they are called Madrone in Oregon and are considered a weed tree and are cut for firewood.
I can tell already this is going to be a great place for photography during my visit this week.
Click to see my British Columbia photo gallery from the trip.