A pillar of Sunnyshore Studio’s mission is to share the beauty of Camano Island. Sunnyshore Studio exists as a destination for artists, friends, travelers, family, and community to come and enjoy an enriching experience on the island. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Faith of A Mustard Seed, an urban youth outreach program from Indianapolis was unable to join Sunnyshore Studio for our inaugural Sharing Camano Week. Thankfully, Sunnyshore Studio was recently able to share Camano Island in another way, a Fourth of July camping and adventure weekend with young adults from Redeemer Redmond.

On Sunday afternoon, after a delicious and spicy West African meal our group consisting of my brothers Jacob and Judah, and our friends Eric, Elroy, and DK made our way towards Camano Island. The objectives of our adventure expedition were to go camping at Sunnyshore Studio, hang out on beaches of Camano, celebrate the Fourth on my Aunt and Uncle’s beautiful farm, and build an enormous raft and sail around the Island.

Once we arrived on the Island we headed to the beach on my Aunt and Uncle’s farm where began construction of the raft. We made our way down to the beach just as the tide was coming in. We scoured the beach filled with driftwood for flat planks, big logs, and long poles. Once we had assembled our materials we maneuvered the heavy logs into the shallow water. Next we roped the logs together to provide stability and nailed planks across the boards to fasten the logs together. As we nailed the tide began edging out, forcing us to move quickly to push the half-constructed raft deeper into the water. We strained with all our might to push what felt like a few thousand pound raft into the water, but alas the mud impeded our efforts and the raft was stuck along the shore. We decided to return on Monday to put the finishing touches on the raft and begin our expedition.

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We drove down to the South End of the Island to Sunnyshore Studio where we pitched our tents and started a raging bonfire. Elroy fired up the grill for our dinner of hot dogs while Judah chopped up some firewood. After we consumed some hot dogs Judah started roasting his world famous s’mores over the fire and DK whipped up some delicious Korean barbecue. After we finished eating Judah and I settled into our tents and fell fast asleep, while the other guys stayed up late into the night talking.

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We awoke to the chirping of birds around 8:00 A.M. A typically Pacific Northwest overcast and cloudy sky greeted us as we stepped out of the tents and raced about our campsite setting up breakfast. As Jacob and I started a fire and made some bacon, Judah and Elroy ventured down the road to my grandparent’s home where my grandmother’s famous cinnamon rolls where waiting for them. After they returned our whole crew dug into a breakfast of bacon, scrambled and hardboiled eggs, cereal, and muffins.

They tide was so far out from the beaches that we had to wait a couple of hours until we could go back to the beach where our raft was stored. To pass the time Elroy introduced us to the card game Bridges and time quickly flew by while we played. Around noon we packed up our tent and food and headed down the road to my grandparent’s home where my parents and sister had just arrived to. After we arrived we began packing our lunches for a day at the beach when Max, another of our friends joined us. We decided that the majority of our group would travel to Iverson Beach to hangout and relax while Jacob, Max, and I transported a canoe from my aunt and uncle’s beach to Iverson Beach. To do this we had to carry and drag the canoe across the mud flats while the tide was out. Wading ankle deep through the most ill-smelling mud and guck and sinking down to our knees at some points was easily one of the most disgusting things I had ever done. Yet through the stench we persevered, dragging the canoe until we reached the water of Iverson Beach where we then paddled to shore and met up with the rest of the crew.

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Unfortunately on Monday the sun did not want to come out and stayed hidden behind an expanse of grey clouds. We gamely braved the less than ideal beach weather and played Frisbee and hung out on the beach for a few hours. Soon after we had arrived another family, the Lanes’, from Redeemer Redmond joined us. Cole and Kai, their two sons, in a driftwood fighting contest as they balanced on huge logs. Much to the amusement of our group, my dad egged them on and then spurred on by his competitive spirit, joined the fray. As the tide came in we prepared to return to my aunt and uncle’s beach to launch the raft. We drove back to the farm while my dad, Cole, Kai, and my sister canoed back to the beach.

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Once we arrived on the farm we raced down to the beach to finish constructing our raft and welcome the returning canoers. As we finished nailing down the last planks and just as the water was lapping at the side of our raft, a small contingent of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends cheered us on as we finished our craft. As our crew searched the beach to find poles to use as oars, Elroy and I came across a long piece of driftwood to use as a mast. As we carried it down to the raft my able cousin Josh attached the long piece of wood to the raft and then construct a support system. After the mast was nailed into the place the raft – named the U.S. Nelson – was ready to embark on her maiden voyage!

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Jacob, Josh, Elroy, and I pushed off and headed out into the deep water while Eric and his friend Mai, who had joined us followed along in the canoe. The raft floated magnificently and all of us were surprised by her seaworthiness. As we poled out into the deep water we navigated through pilings and driftwood that would crash upon our raft. Suddenly Judah slipped on the raft! With a thud and an ear ringing shriek he fell into the water! He quickly panicked and grabbed onto the side of the raft proclaiming “my shirt is stuck! My shirt is stuck!” Elroy quickly hoisted him up and dragged him back on board the raft. Much to our amusement we gave Judah a hard time for freaking out in what had only been in waist deep water. He swore he saw the Kraken preparing to drag him to his watery grave.

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After we had poled out quite a ways we turned back and headed for the beach. Once we arrived we decided to build a pyre upon the raft and then light it on fire when we went off to sea again. As Judah, Jacob, DK, and I piled driftwood onto the raft, Josh raced off to find diesel fuel and a blowtorch. Once he returned and the driftwood was piled high we set off again. DK, Jacob, and I poled the raft into out into the bay while Josh followed with the diesel fuel and blowtorch in the canoe, ready to pick up anyone who bailed into the water after we lit the raft on fire. Once we had reached a point far enough to the shore DK hopped in the canoe while Josh handed me the diesel fuel and blowtorch. I doused the pyre in the fluid then turned on the blowtorch. Jacob jumped off the raft and swam back to shore while I dutifully stayed on board until the driftwood piles went up in flames. As soon as it became too hot for me I hopped in the canoe and we paddled back to the beach. We reached the beach and admired our fine raft that had become a magnificent bonfire floating on the bay. We left the beach and walked up to the farm where all the family and friends had prepared a mouth-watering Fourth of July barbecue on a bluff overlooking the bay. As we devoured our food we retold the stories and adventure that had taken during our time on Camano. In the distance our raft blazed brightly as ever into the night, while fireworks lit up the sky.

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