Sunday, July 20, 2008


We're back from most of a week in paradise. After five days of canooodling, sleeping, reading, barbecuing, sleeping, kayaking, skateboarding (not me), sleeping, swimming, running, mini golf, drawing, sleeping and playing guitar it's actually kind of a drag to be back ... but at least I have the photographic evidence and a ton of inspiration for future artwork.

Caycuse (a native name meaning scraping the barnacles off the bottom of the canoe) is a tiny settlement (permanent residents: 12) and former logging camp (high population mark: 400 in the '50s) in a remote spot on the south side of Cowichan Lake about 20 km west of Lake Cowichan (figure that out) on Vancouver Island. This was our second time renting the (very comfortable) cottage from a former colleague of Greg's.

It's completely private and has a great 'party dock'. This was where we parked our new baby and pulled the old kayaks out from under the house for fun and shenanigans.

Our first long-distance expedition in the boats was to one of the Picnic Islands. We discovered the hard way that a strong wind picks up mid-afternoon, making the trip both challenging and more than a little
hair-raising. This is how it looked on the much calmer leeside of the island where we stopped to catch our breath:

A couple of days later we packed a picnic lunch and headed in the other direction:

We did re-connect with civilization one day as we went into town to get supplies. We suddenly felt an irresistable urge to play a round of mini golf and found this place. The course was great: shabbily overgrown but totally charming and a bargain at $3 per person. Greg confirmed his dominance as alpha male by beating us all -- but it was close...

The total character who owned the place is working on a parade float. I don't even want to know what it all means...

Heading home to Caycuse along the busy working logging road was a terrifying experience. Imagine giant trucks bearing down on you at 80 km/h on a 1 1/2-lane wide dirt road loaded down with massive cedar trees, creating so much dust that you're blinded the minute they (thankfully) pass. One actually didn't see us until the last moment and had to swerve to avoid us. We stopped to photograph some of the breathtaking views. (This is Emily Carr country.)

Odds and Ends, c. 1937

There's always lots of wildlife in the area and the mornings are outrageously beautiful and tranquil. One morning a group of three adult Mergansers treated me to the most amazing display of fishing. They'd dive really deep, often in unison, disappear for ages, then pop up miles away. One of them caught a massive fish bigger than its head and struggled with it for quite awhile before swallowing. When it finally did, its whole head and neck were distorted trying to get the thing down. Less than 30 seconds later it was diving for more!

Time to get back to work (sigh). More photos here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


20/7/08 7:30 p.m.  
Blogger dinahmow said...

Next time, can I come, too? Please?
And thanks for the Carr link.I admit I had to Google.

20/7/08 11:17 p.m.  
Blogger tlc illustration said...

Ah Andrea, it sounds so wonderful. I'm glad you got the break (and apparently lots of sleeping. :-)

That last photo made me gasp - how gorgeous! Thanks for sharing. This is where Emily Carr hails from?

21/7/08 12:02 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A long time ago we were seriously considering emigrating to Canada. Now I know why again!! Thanks for the beautiful pics. I am determined to visit you coubntry one day!

21/7/08 1:03 a.m.  
Blogger Alda said...

It looks stunning and so very peaceful. Thanks for sharing those photos - beautiful!

21/7/08 4:40 a.m.  
Blogger Cynthia said...

This does look like paradise!

Welcome back, and I love Emily Carr's work!

21/7/08 6:20 a.m.  
Blogger Hayden said...

ohhh, how absolutely beautiful! balm to my soul this chilly, foggy, SF morning!

21/7/08 8:40 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Citizen: Thanks for reading the pictures.

Dinah: there was room for both you and Peter so I'll let you know ahead of time next time, K?

Tara: She spent a lot of time in the backwoods of the south island painting.

Laura: Make sure you come to the west coast -- and give me call! (I've been to both Belgium and Holland but have yet to make it to SA -- a top 5 desired destination for me!)

Alda: It truly was.

Cynthia: Growing up where I did her work was ubiquitous.

Hayden: We had a foggy morning there, too, but wonderful once it lifts.

21/7/08 9:07 a.m.  
Blogger Ellen said...

Gorgeous pictures. Welcome back! Love all those gnarled coastal trees (and your flickr drawings you did of the landscape there).

That float would never go over in Mission (gotta love all those eclectic, hippy islanders.)

I agree with Tara, that last picture, breathtaking.

21/7/08 11:05 a.m.  
Blogger Ian Lidster said...

Looks idyllic, Andrea. I must go there, especially since it is so close.

Had coffee with,and met for the first time, Todos Santos guy, Vic Kirby. Very nice guy to know.

21/7/08 2:06 p.m.  
Blogger Within Without said...

Amazing pictures and story, Andrea.

The island must be one of the most beautiful places on the planet, so good you had a great time.

What are you looking up at in that pic of you?

Eagerly awaiting the creative juices of yours to flow as you capture on canvas what you experienced.

21/7/08 5:45 p.m.  
Blogger Deborah Ross said...

Thanks for sharing, Andrea. That last photo took my breath away, I just can imagine how spectacular it was in person.

21/7/08 7:09 p.m.  
Blogger Toni said...

OMG breath taking! Girl you are after my heart with your photos and descriptions. I would in a heart beat take a vacation where you went rather than Phoenix any day. Inspiration! I can't wait to see what you do next.

22/7/08 4:43 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved looking at these pics on your flickr page and love them even more so now that I've read the story behind each one. The last

So glad you had a wonderful time.

22/7/08 5:48 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Ellen: You would've loved the funny old guy who runs the place and how the golf 'greens' needed a good vacuum.

Ian: The lake's beautiful. As for the civilization apsects Lake Cowichan, as a town, is quite a nice visit: clean, tidy, totally unpretentious, not really touristy. Most small BC towns are either overdone tourist spots or dumps so I love LC. Eat at the Cow Cafe. Great food!

WW: I was looking up at the densely moss-covered branches filtering sunlight above me. Forest primeval indeed.

Deborah: My camera got so much action!

Toni: I'm easger to do more drawings but have to finish what I'm working on first (for deadline). I'm afraid inspiration will escape me!

Andie: Editing myself down was SO hard!

22/7/08 7:30 a.m.  
Blogger Michelle said...

Andrea, Looks like your wet coast dream is my east coast dream. Good for you for getting away, enjoy your week!

22/7/08 10:45 a.m.  
Blogger carla said...

Absolutely gorgeous, Andrea! The last shot is so tranquil with the mist on the shimmering water. I want to let you know that I gave you the Brillante Weblog award... you are truly brillante!

23/7/08 3:52 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Michelle: Thanks, Michelle.

Carla: Thank you so much for the Brillante award! Been by your blog already to thank you.

23/7/08 11:03 a.m.  

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