Lund, BC - top of the Sunshine Coast - end of the road - start of your kayaking adventures!
The Copeland Islands Marine Park is a wonderful collection of islands and islets with protected bays and thriving marine wildlife, easily reached on a day trip from the town of Lund, 30 minutes north of Powell River at the end of Highway 101, British Columbia.
Locally known as the Ragged Islands, kayakers can reach the first major islands in the Copeland Islands chain after approximately an hours’ paddle north from Lund. Being a busy harbour in the summer months, we recommend kayakers take care leaving the launch site behind the Lund Hotel. Hugging the coast of Malaspina Peninsula to avoid boat traffic in busy Thulin Passage and any prevailing winds, kayakers should cross to the islands at the shortest possible point to minimize and danger that may exist.
Once you reach the first island however, there are any number of meandering routes to choose from. If the tide is low, a visit to the rock pools in between the first and second Copeland Islands - or if the weather is calm, to the western shore of the first island - where nutrient rich waters provide the perfect habitat for all sorts of colourful and interesting marine life.
Sea stars of different shapes, colours and sizes are abundant, often clinging together in huge colonies in the folds of the rocky cliffs that are characteristic of these islands. Also to be seen by kayak (or for those so inclined, with a mask and snorkel) include scores of green, white and massive red spiny urchins, globular sea anemones, and enigmatic sea cucumbers grazing just below the surface.
Countless bays and coves are scattered throughout the marine park, inviting kayakers in to stretch their legs and have a bite of lunch on their beaches. As you head north, the larger islands are replaced by rocky islets housing large numbers of sea and shore birds, from different species of ducks, oyster catchers, sandpipers, gulls, cormorants and more.
Situated in the rain-shadow of Vancouver Island, the Copeland Islands receive much less rain than the mainland, and unique flora thrives on these barren rocky islets, including several species of cactus, arbutus groves and gnarled, ancient pines!
Opportunities to camp exist in the northern most islands of the marine park, with amenities including tent pads, bathrooms and comfortable picnic areas. With some of the best sunsets on the west coast, the Copeland Islands are a great stop on the way to destinations to the north, such as Desolation Sound or the Discovery Islands.
Returning to Lund, it is simple to pick a route through the islands south and ensure that you don’t paddle the same area twice. Another option is to cross over to the mainland early and paddle back along Malaspina Peninsula, checking out the ancient native pictographs high up on a rock wall along the way!
Whether visiting just for a day, spending a few nights to explore the area deeper, or passing through on the way to Desolation Sound and beyond, the Copeland Islands are an idyllic island paradise easily accessible for all levels of kayaker.