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Cortes Island

Vacation on an island off an island off an island

Story by Oren Teich August 16th, 2014

Scenery

The first thing to note about Cortes is that it’s really insanely beautiful. I didn’t know what to expect – rainforest, BC, on the sound, I knew the words, but had no idea what the place would be like. It’s a trek to get to. Fly into Vancouver. Then take a little turboprop to Vancouver Island. But don‘t get off - stay on it while other people get off, it‘s like a bus. Go one more stop, THEN get off the plane. Now rent a car. Drive it to a ferry. Take the ferry to a smaller island off the big island. Drive across the small island. Get on a smaller ferry. Take this ferry to an even smaller island off the small island off the big island. Drive another 20 min.

And yes, it‘s worth it. These are the views from the house. The sun rose at 5:30, set at 9:30, and it was light enough to kayak till almost 11pm. The water was like glass most of the time, warm enough to swim (!!), the beach was full of crabs and starfish, and the scenery was out of this world.

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Community

What makes our trip to Cortes special though isn‘t the place, as amazing as it was. It was definitely the people. We found Cortes through friends – friends of the family have gone there for 14 years every summer. Last year Sina went for a few weeks, and this year we joined Sina and friends for an amazing 2 weeks.

Cortes is small - ~1,000 people, 3 restaurants, no bars that I saw small. No towns, just some town halls. Half the island is inaccessible woodland, the bottom half dotted with homes. The beaches are wet but nice during low tide, disappearing during high tide. As if all that water wasn‘t enough, Cortes also has 3 freshwater lakes.

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We quickly settled into a routine: wake up with the BLAZING SUN IN MY EYES MY GOD THE NUCLEAR FIREBALL WHAT I CAN‘T EVEN at 5am. Struggle to sleep a bit more, kid gets up around 6, eat breakfast slowly. Come 8, head out to the beach for a few hours of playing in the sand and sun, hunting crabs. Immediately, we ran into other kids staying on the island. Beckett LOVES other kids. I love Beckett being entertained by other kids. A few hours later, come in, wash up, have lunch, everyone naps. Wake up from the nap, and head to the lake.

Hague lake is pretty amazing. A quick walk through the forest gets you to a provincial park, with bathrooms, signage, and an amazing little beach on the clearest prettiest lake you‘ve ever seen. Of course, the lake on the island has an island in the lake. All along the beach there are ~50 kids playing, running around, splashing in the water.

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Our friends introduced us to other friends and kids, and bam we had 5-10 kids playing at all times. We started seeing kids everywhere. They would show up at our house, see them at the market, walking along the street. It was awesome. We had dinners at our house with 8 kids and an equal number of adults. Our refrigerator and freezer were hoarded by hungry roaming 8 year olds. Beckett fell in love with all the girls over 10 he could find.

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Cortes Island, Comox-Strathcona I, BC, Canada