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ECO TOURING ALONG THE SUNSHINE COAST

By Jane Cassie

Where in BC are you treated to 180 kilometers of scenic shoreline bordered by mossy rainforests and recreation abundance? What destination has been dubbed, the Scuba Coast, Wildlife Coast and Wellness Coast? And where on this province's water-logged mainland are you warmed by 2,400 sunny hours each year? If you guessed the Sunshine Coast, you're spot on!

During this trip from Langdale to Lund and back we check out a few eco treasures. Here are five favourites.

Eco Cruise

Andy Cardiff has owned Malespina Water Taxi since 2005 and it's easy to see that he's totally in his element. "I operate year-round, 24/ 7," he says with a wide grin. "And for me, this line of work is playtime."

After picking up scrumptious lunches from the funky Copper Sky Café and Gallery, we climb aboard his ocean going vessel and are treated to a Pender Harbour panorama. Tranquil bays are etched into the lush hillsides. Evergreen islets sprinkle along the perimeter and the hiker's haven of Mount Daniel looms in the backdrop. We cruise by high-class homes, Francis Point Marine Park and the Indian Islands where eagles, herons and teary-eyed seals provide non-stop entertainment. We sidle up to Fearney Bluffs, a four hundred foot deep grotto that thrives with sea life, check out granite etched pictographs that tell an ancient story, and gaze at glacial summits backing Agamemnon Channel. Our final stop is the driftwood-clad Robert's Beach on Nelson Island, where remnants of a log cabin still stand. It's picturesque to a fault, and like the rest of this two hour adventure, leaves us with a sense of awe.
www.malaspinawatertaxi.com

Sakinaw Lake Lodge

This boat-accessible getaway is just minutes from the grid, yet feels blissfully removed from civilization. Boardwalks and pathways lead to terraced gardens, patios and gazebos. We peer into fish ponds, cuddle on a garden swing and get massaged by the hot tub.

Two sanctuaries cantilever over the rippled shoreline. A self-contained cottage boasts an all-equipped kitchen. And the penthouse 'tent house' depicts glamping to a tee. Bountiful breakfasts and culinary diversions augment the overload of activities. Balance on a wakeboard, skim the lake on a boat cruise, trek the trails that lace its seven wooded acres -or just sit back in the shadow of the imposing Hallowell Mountain and enjoy the tranquility.
www.sakinawlakelodge.com

West Coast Wilderness Resort

From its hilltop Egmont perch, guests are privy to vistas of islets, inlets and forever unfolding peaks. Cedars and firs canopy twenty upscale suites where terra cotta tiled bathrooms host vessel sinks and oversized showers. After a Beauty Rest sleep, unleash your energy by kayaking pencil thin fjords, mountain biking Skookumchuck Trail, or heli-hiking alpine meadows. And when the day is done head for the resort's nosh Inlet Restaurant. You won't want to miss these gastronomic sensations! www.wcwl.com

Sevilla Island Resort

From its rocky bluff, overlooking the seaside town of Lund, this posh island property gives us a close up perspective of life that thrives beneath the surface. "I've been diving all over the world," shares owner, Ian Hobbs, "And this underwater metropolis beats anything I've ever seen." Whether it's from behind a snorkel or in the comfort of his cruiser, Ian promises to make your every eco wish come true. Kayak the Copeland Islands where you'll spot seals, eagles, and sea stars. Bike on Savary Island and picnic on a sandy beach, or hike the Sunshine Coast that stretches all the way to Saltery Bay. Classy guest rooms and fine cuisine are also dished out, along with heaps of hospitality.
www.sevillaislandresort.ca

Terracentric Coastal Adventures

Terracentric believes that we're all connected to our natural environment. After skimming Lund's waterways on this zodiac tour, we're convinced! Owner, Christine Hollmann, has a wonderful way of integrating eco-education with the stunning surroundings. While paralleling rugged shores we learn about the Sliammon First Nations and explorer Captain Vancouver. In shallow bays she shares the symbiotic relationship between otters, sea urchins and kelp. And when checking out sun-bathing seals we discover the importance of keeping our distance. This act of privacy is a guideline that Christine closely adheres to and though we never invade their personal space, we're able to get a real good glimpse of the sea life that abounds.

As we're heading back, we have one last performance on our distant starboard. Jet black torsos break the still surface, revealing their pure white undercarriages before submerging again. They swim at record speed, darting back and forth, leaping and cresting in unison. Though it's just a feeding frenzy to these Dall's Porpoise, it's a synchronized water ballet to us, and a grand finale to this eco tour.
www.terracentricadventures.com

IF YOU GO:

Copper Sky Café and Gallery
12904 Madeira Park Road
Madeira Park, BC
Tel: (604) 883-0096 Gallery (604) 883-0098
Email: copperskygallery@dccnet.com

Malaspina Water Taxi & Tours
Tel: 604-989-BOAT (2628)
Email MalaspinaWaterTaxi@gmail.com

Sakinaw Lake Lodge
Tel: 1-604-989-3242 (888) 341-1720
Email: escape@sakinawlakelodge.com

West Coast Wilderness Lodge
Tel: 1-877-988-3838
Email lodge@wcwl.com

Sevilla Island Resort
Tel: 604-414-6880
Email: info@sevillaislandresort.ca

Terracentric Coastal adventures ltd.
Tel: (604) 483 7900
info@terracentricadventures.com

Sunshine Coast http://www.bigpacific.com/

Travel Writers' Tales is an independent travel article syndicate that offers professionally written travel articles to newspaper editors and publishers. To check out more, visit www.travelwriterstales.com

PHOTOS: Images by Brent Cassie

1. Scalloped shoreline of driftwood-clad Robert's Beach #1813
2. Sakinaw Serenity #6029
3. West Coast Wilderness Resort -image by Paul Hansen
4. Sevilla Island Resort overlooks the seaside town of Lund #5939
5. Pacific White-Sided dolphins, perform a synchronized water ballet #1706

 


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