As winter begins to release its grip and thoughts of heading back to the island come into clearer focus, I thought I’d share a slightly different view for our March wallpaper. As gorgeous as we all know the River to be during daylight hours, the right evening arguably presents just as compelling a view.
Lyne and I are incredibly fortunate to have this island in our lives. While I well know that every island is unique and has its own special assets, Raleigh’s have served my needs in ways that no other ever could. Most of you know that much of my photography has been shot low from above, for many years from my Challenger, and more recently, from a helicopter.
The distribution of the Challenger across Canada had been my business when I discovered the River and there was no possible way I could adopt a life on an island if my plane wasn’t there with me. However, keeping a fragile plane safe on a rocky island through occasional and inevitably violent storms, was never going to work.
Imagine then, discovering Raleigh Island (which was offered for sale just once in the last century) with its long, natural, protected harbor exactly a wingspan wide. Better yet, at the end of this 300 foot long inlet is a sloping lawn which allows taxiing the plane onto terra firma and tying it down to bedrock in the lee of the cottage. Just like a hangar, only missing the roof. Were it not for this, none of the photography would ever have followed.
The cottage, when I first arrived, was little more than a home for insects, abandoned and very rough, not long for this world. However, beyond grandfather rights, the island had other important assets, like a natural helicopter pad! While I’ve never been wealthy enough to own one, I have had one parked there, thanks to 1000 Islands Helicopters and their chief pilot, Joran Mol, when we landed to wait for a ship to get into position.
Arguably its greatest asset now that I no longer have a plane, is the perfectly flat rock at the southwest corner of the island - “the dining room.” Who needs a castle when the view from a 1000 Islands chair in our dining room includes a castle (Singer), along with a stunning vista of the islands?
Cottage be damned. Weather permitting, this is our favorite place to be. And as this month’s image shows, it’s every bit as pretty at night with the River bathed in moonlight. On darker evenings without the moon or clouds, the Milky Way cascades into the water. I could have shared that view, but with it already serving as the final page of Volume VII, I thought it would be more interesting to share this unpublished view. Should it prompt memories or stories, please don’t be shy to share them below.
As always, I’ll remind you that we have our winter home at the mouth of Jones Creek (1000 Islands National Park) available as a summer vacation rental on the River, as well as our exquisite little getaway in Provence, France. Neither will disappoint and if you haven't been to Provence, this part of France might just blow you away as it has us.