any last words

andrew malcolm's 2007 portfolio

Author's Notes

Comox Valley loves Baynes Sound – that pool of ocean that spills into Comox Harbour at high-tide than back into Georgia Straight at low-tide. It's used for recreation, oyster farming, great views and as a landing pad for float planes. When a Valley resident is feeling good about where they live, they're usually standing on a beach or patio admiring the Sound.

Sandy • Island • Marine Park

originally published by wave•length magazine, summer 2007 issue

••• Full Article (PDF)

– Selected Passage –

Old growth forest at the center of Tree IslandOn my second trip this year, I was turned away by wind and waves and decided to recruit a paddling partner for another try. Two days later, we paddled past the Comox Spit to the open waters in relatively calm weather. Suddenly, half way to Tree Island, head winds picked up, and two-and-a-half foot waves came tumbling towards us, submerging the nose of my canoe as it crashed through the crests. We quickly decided to turn around and paddle with the wind, which was the quickest way to get us safely back to shore. As the canoe anxiously surfed the waves rising behind us, we fought to keep ourselves from turning broad side and tumbling over in the white caps.Aged and weathered bark of an ancient tree

60 exhilarating minutes later, we sat on a marshy beach near Royston contemplating that small group of trees beyond the white caps. As I relaxed against a driftwood log and wondered if the weather would ever let me reach Tree Island again, I noticed a piece of bark moving a few inches away from my arm. Looking closer, I realized that was no piece of bark, but a beetle.Seashore Lupin (scientific name)

I pulled out my copy of Insects of the Pacific Northwest (an incredible field guide by Peter and Judy Hagard, and a must for macro-photographers) and looked the little guy up. Part of the Ironclad family, the book read, a group of beetles usually found on forest trees with conks or mushrooms growing on them (they feed on the fruiting bodies of the fungus); but this was no forest, and there were no mushrooms on this driftwood to eat. Clearly, this beetle was trying to reach Tree Island as well, most likely floating on a piece of driftwood, but had beached in Royston on the same waves.Phellopsis obcordatus (Iron Clad beetle), found on beach facing Sandy Island Marine Park