Destinations | Cortes Island
Although ferry service via Vancouver Island is available to Cortes Island, many kayakers traveling from Vancouver choose to travel up the Sunshine Coast, through Powell River, and launch from either Lund or Okeover when paddling Cortes Island. The reason for this is simple: over-all travel time is less and the paddling distance from Lund is very reasonable.
Cortes is located just north of Lund, BC. Launching from Lund, paddlers head north through the Copeland Islands Marine Park and then make the short crossing to Cortes. The total paddling distance is approximately 7 nautical miles. In fact, Cortes is only 1.75 nautical miles from Malaspina Peninsula: the finger of land separating the waters in front of Lund from Okeover Inlet.
From there, many paddlers circumnavigate Cortes Island. On route, kayakers will discover many of the islands charms. For instance, at Mansons Landing Provincial Marine Park, paddlers can explore the lagoon by kayak or simply relax on the sandy beaches. Another draw of this area is Hague Lake, with it's white sandy beaches and clean, warm water, it's perfect for a freshwater swim.
Continuing around the island, paddlers may choose to stop at Uganda Passage (Shark Spit) at Marina Island. Here, if the tide is low enough, paddlers can dig clams for an evening feast. From there, paddlers may seek yet another lagoon at Carrington Bay. The piles of driftwood blocking the access require a short portage of the kayak, but exploring the lagoon can be fun.
Next stop is Von Donop Inlet. This magical inlet and the surrounding lands were turned into a Provincial Marine Park in 1994. One nice feature in Von Donop is....you guessed it, the Von Donop Lagoon. It's best to enter this lagoon at high water to avoid the swift currents and boulders. At the head of the inlet is a short trail that leads to Squirrel Cove. Some paddlers prefer to portage their kayaks over to Squirrel Cove versus paddling all the way out the inlet and then back down Lewis Channel. Keep in mind though, the portage requires some gear planning and certainly some effort!
Before paddling back to Lund, be sure to test your paddling skills in the tidal rapids at the entrance to "Squirrel Cove Lagoon" (yes, yet another lagoon on Cortes Island!).