Ahoy, land–or Lund–lubbers. The red-and-white Raggedy Anne is about to set sail. What better way to appreciate the waters of Malaspina Strait and Desolation Sound than aboard the sturdy water taxi as it forays from Lund, 27 kilometres north of Powell River, around the northern Sunshine Coast?
Got a bike or a kayak? Toss it on. Only brought your swimsuit and a picnic hamper? That'll do just fine. There's really only one thing that matters before setting off: scoring some blackberry cinnamon buns at Nancy's Bakery. And keep in mind that the Raggedy Anne, and companion boats in the Lund Water Taxi fleet, typically drop off passengers where few, if any, supplies or services are available. Unless, of course, you count the plentiful colonies of shellfish for which this stretch of the Strait of Georgia is renowned. Before harvesting, be sure to check for any red-tide or paralytic-shellfish-poisoning closures posted at the federal dock. Have a tidal-waters sport-fishing licence handy, too.
Where might you care to venture? To the west lies sunny Savary Island, a 15-minute taxi ride or a one-hour paddle from Lund's boat ramp. In summer, the slowly migrating sandbar is where most passengers are bound. Come Labour Day, those numbers trickle down, making September one of the best months to visit anywhere on the Sunshine Coast. Long and skinny as a string bean, and ringed by an unbroken strand of white shell, pebble, and sand, the 7.5-kilometre-long island can take a full day to walk around. Although yours may be the only footprints you see on the beach, you won't lack for company. Eagles by the dozen swoop and cry on the breeze. At low tide, seals haul up offshore on glacial erratics. Watch for one of the tallest arbutus trees on the West Coast: the 24.4-metre-tall copper-coloured giant at Garnett Point on the southeastern side of the island. Just as prominent is a hulking piece of abandoned, rusted logging equipment at the tideline further west in Duck Bay.
Water taxis drop paddlers at Copeland Islands Provincial Marine Park, a quick hop north of Lund through Thulin Channel. This is a safe and easy way to reach the entrance to Desolation Sound and avoid the added bother of large-hulled powerboats with, unlike the smooth-planing water taxis, their substantial wakes. Emergency landing spots are in short supply until the low-slung Copelands begin to offer shelter. The Copelands–or Raggeds, as this chain of four islands and 14 islets is known locally–are an exquisite place to explore by canoe or kayak. Marine life abounds, as does a sense of cloistered stillness. Unlike on Savary, which, with the exception of its beaches, is privately owned, there are two campsites on the Copelands. Just make sure to haul your boat high above the tideline; otherwise, the ocean might silently make off with your sole link to the mainland while you snooze.
Savary and the Copelands are just two of the many island-hopping adventures within easy reach of Lund. That said, there's a palpable remoteness to the Malaspina Peninsula. It feels more like an island than part of the coastal mainland, because reaching it requires catching two ferries. The pace of life on the Sunshine Coast is decidedly less adrenaline-fuelled than in Vancouver. Even so, over the past decade the village of Lund, and its much larger neighbour, Powell River, have experienced noticeable changes. Gone are the days when the Raggedy Anne could handle all the to-and-froing on its own. The local Tla'Amin First Nation now operates the historic Lund Hotel, which has been admirably renovated. Nancy's Bakery, which opened 16 years ago in quarters shared with Lund Water Taxi, now anchors the boardwalk-lined cove from a stylish, two-storey adventure centre, restaurant, and crafts store. Visitors may arrive for a host of reasons, but eventually everyone gravitates to Nancy's, the Lund of the Rising Bun.
ACCESS: Lund lies 153 kilometres north of Vancouver on the Malaspina Peninsula, via BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale on the Sechelt Peninsula, and then from Earls Cove to Saltery Bay. Allow at least five hours to make the journey. For schedule and fare information, visit www.bcferries.com/ . To contact Lund Water Taxi, call 1-604-483-9749 or visit www.lundwatertaxi.com/ . For a comprehensive list of activities, attractions, accommodations, and dining on the Malaspina Peninsula, call 1-604-485-4000 or visit www.discoverpowellriver.com/ or www.lundbc.ca/ . For the Lund Hotel, call 1-877-569-3999 or visit www.lundhotel.com/ . (Note: Room 216 provides a particularly scenic corner from which to overlook the snug harbour.)
The Savary Island Land Trust publishes a detailed map of the island that is widely distributed in Lund and Powell River. Call 1-604-483-4743 or visit www.silt.ca/ , where a map of the island is displayed.
For information on Copeland Islands Provincial Marine Park, visit www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/ . Note: Shellfish harvesting is not permitted in the park.
Terracentric Coastal Adventures offers a variety of Zodiac, sea kayak, and Tla'Amin First Nation cultural tours. For information, call 1-604-483-7900 or visit www.terracentricadventures.com/