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Mayne Island

2021 & 2023
Michael Kluckner

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Artwork & text © Michael Kluckner

Generous friends Abbe and Jim loaned us their cabin near Bennett Bay on Mayne Island, one of the Southern Gulf Islands in the Salish Sea in BC. There were places on Mayne that I visited in the early 2000s for the Vanishing British Columbia project: one was the hotel at Miners Bay, which is open as a restaurant and bar most afternoons, and the other documents a few of the Japanese-Canadian sites from the period before the WWII internment.

In the first trip I took watercolour and inks, and did some pencil. The second trip is just pencils and my very minimalist style in the small sketchbook.

Mayne is pretty representative of those beautiful islands: a beautiful rural landscape with a seashore as good as anywhere, lots of parks and hiking trails, but ...

• chronic summertime water shortages (Stage 5 in the extreme drought of 2023).

• population pressures: more people, most in great big new houses which appear to make no provision for fire resistance or water storage; and, even, a widely publicized dispute between tennis and pickleball players that ended up in court.

• environmental issues, such as the escape some years ago of fallow deer (a kind of elk) from a venison operation, with the resulting loss of native undergrowth, much like the case of the feral goats on Saturna, the feral sheep on Lasqueti, and rampant rabbits in Saanich.

Anyway, art from that beautiful place... I am most captivated by the arbutus trees.

Georgina Point in 2021 with, way over in the left distance, the City of Vancouver, its towers faint in the haze. Most of the arbutus on the west coast are sick from a fungus and weakened by the repeated droughts of climate change. Below, the same scene in 2023, the tree much more deteriorated and a lower tide.

And, below, other arbutus trees from 2021 and 2023.

Below: the wonderful old house built by a man named John Aitken along the shore at Miners Bay, high tide and low tide.

And below, a few more bits from those brief trips.

I redid the beach one in ink and watercolour after returning home...

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