The mission of Sunnyshore Studio is to share the beauty of Camano Island with the world. So where in the world is Camano Island? And why share its beauty with the world?
According to Wkipedia, “Camano Island /kəˈmeɪnoʊ/ is a large island in the Possession Sound portion of Puget Sound, located in Island County, Washington, between Whidbey Island and the mainland. The body of water separating Whidbey Island and Camano Island is called Saratoga Passage. Camano Island is separated from mainland Snohomish County by Davis Slough near the city of Stanwood. The island is reached via State Route 532 over the Camano Gateway Bridge in the northeast of the island. There were 13,358 residents on the island as of the 2000 census, but the population peaks at 17,000 during the summer months with retired “snowbirds.” The island has a total land area of 39.77 sq mi, though it was larger before the Great Slide of 1825.Camano Island is named for the Spanish explorer Jacinto Caamaño. Charles Wilkes, during the Wilkes Expedition of 1838–1842, named it MacDonough Island in honor of Thomas MacDonough for his victory of the Battle of Lake Champlain during the War of 1812. Following this theme, Wilkes named the body of water between Camano and Whidbey Island after MacDonough’s flagship the Saratoga. When Henry Kellett reorganized the official British Admiralty charts in 1847, he removed Wilkes’ name MacDonough and bestowed the name Camano, which the Spanish had originally given to Admiralty Inlet in 1790. Wilkes’ name Saratoga Passage was retained.”
That is the Wikipedia definition: Geographically, historically, and demographically based.
But for me, Camano is the place of my childhood memories.
In 1970, when I was less than a year old, my parents moved to the south end of Camano Island. My mom’s dad, Dr. Dodgson, had given them 10 acres with the shell of an old house on it. The house didn’t have indoor plumbing, but it was free, and it did have a roof! The gift enabled my parents to live their dream: dad would be a full-time, professional artist.
For a little boy, growing up on Camano was magical.
There were forests to explore, forts to build. Imaginations to be mined. A whole world to be reveled in.
I could run through the woods to my uncle and aunt’s farm to play with cousins.
And beaches with their treasures. Well I remember long hours at Mabana beach, building sand castles and swimming.
My sister, April, and I were companions and best friends in these dreamy days.
I’m sure things weren’t so magical for my parents. But slowly and surely they fixed up the old house. I remember using the outhouse for many years, but finally we got indoor plumbing. And no matter how little we had, mom was always able to make our home beautiful, placing little bouquets of flowers in the nooks and crannies of the house.
And there it was, in that little house on the south end of Camano Island, tucked among the towering fir and cedar trees, that I grew up. Learned to pick blackberries and to jam my mouth full of ripe huckleberries for that sumptuous bite; learned to fill up the long summer days playing imaginary games with my cousins; learned to swim and build rafts, and to fish for the flounder and sole and perch at the point below our house.
This magical Camano, this place of my youth, is the place that I am inspired to celebrate and to share with others.