Oak Island

Editorial — January 2020
28 images

Airbnb Magazine

Photo Editor: Katie Dunn

*this series is two parts. view Part One – Samatian Island*

In early Fall 2019, I visited two different islands for story in the next issue of Airbnb Magazine. I spent a few dreamy days at each, documenting their place on earth and the unique adventure they offered. I experienced the islands as the tiny microcosms they are by taking interest in the place on different scales – the plants and animals playing the most distinguished roles. The collective understanding from these trips was the provocative correlation between the amount of space around you and the distortion in perception of time. Environment informs everything, being in these places brought a depth to that power. Considering my undying love affair with water and it’s reverent qualities, being on these islands intensified my respect for how that spatial distance can affect relationships and the importance for us all to bring a sensitivity to it.

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I left all expectations out of this particular trip, knowing full well that any pretension for this kind of opportunity would only make it something less enjoyable. I prepped as I would for a solo camping trip, save for some non essential groceries, and I made the trek of plane, car, and fishing boat over the course of one day from NYC. Maine welcomed with three perfectly sunny, temperate days where I could rise with the sun on Parker’s Hill and end the day listening to the ocean lapping at the perimeter of Oak Island facing east.

What I learned first was that Oak Island was intended for conservation, a step above camping, but not much more. Once you’re out there, it’s you and the elements, save for two rustic structures with solar and rainwater collection. The owner, Fred Dodd, managed to buy the island from an older woman back in the early 90s calling anyone in the area and leaving his number, then by a stroke of luck in the courts. Safe to say, the story needs to be heard first-hand from the man himself, as it added to understanding the interwoven politics, history, and obscurity of the place.

I’m told that summers are most magical as you can witness a spectacle of all kinds of wildflowers. I managed to catch the tail-end of this, seeing the arrival of Pearly Everlastings, which get their name from the fact they will stay white long after picking, and are a great addition over the entry to the cabin. In the mornings, you can hear the low rumble of fishing boats heading out to check their lobster traps, hundreds of which sit on the seabeds surrounding the islands that dot the neighboring landscape. If you’re prudent enough, you can even wave one of them down to deliver you a case of the freshest catch you can imagine.

The island has multiple trails, beaches, and groves of trees, all offering their own way of communing with nature. If you ever wanted a way to feel completely free from the connectedness of our modern world, it’s here you can cut those ties and return to something mysteriously timeless. Just as you observe weather patterns, so can you watch large wooden ships with white billowing sails navigating to open waters, monarch butterflies as the bounce from tree to flower, and the occasional seal as they play in the tides.

All things pass through Oak Island with a curious ease, an unstructured brilliance. From Parker’s Point, you can watch them all come and go as I did, with the wind vane turning, mimicking all that has happened in the great delight of reality.

Thank you Katie, the Dodd Family, and all the people who shared these journeys with me.