Sand, shallow waters and terns are the stars on Tree Island.
We had been wanting to make a return sea kayak trip to Tree Island but somehow we never got there last summer. Our first paddling trip was just after we arrived in Courtenay in early November, 2014 (http://keithnicol.blogspot.ca/2014/11/exploring-by-sea-kayaking-in-courtenay.html) and that time we launched from Argyle Road. This time we opted to put in at the boat launch at Union Bay, which is easy to find but for those with a GPS the launching area is at: 10 U 0363654E 5494176N. The trip across is slightly longer via this route (4.5 km vs 4.0 km from Argyle Road) and you should allow about an hour to make the crossing. Be sure to have an eye to the weather given the distance involved since a sudden increase in winds can sometimes make a return trip quite challenging. We didn’t see too much bird life enroute but there was an eagle hanging out on the wharf posts at Union Bay at the launch site and we saw 6 eagles soaring above us while we had lunch on Tree Island.
Tree Island has a broad sandy beach (it is sometimes called Sandy Island) and it is a popular destination for a variety of boaters in the area. When we arrived there was a power boat anchored just off shore and while we were there we saw 2 more sea kayakers approaching from a distance. We decided to return to Union Bay via a dog leg route to the northern tip of Denman Island. Tree Island is virtually connected to Denman Island by a sandy spit and even though the tide was rising (water levels were roughly 3m) the water depths were very shallow. We paddled around Longbeak Point on Denman Island where we were fortunate to see 4 Caspian Terns. Evidently these birds are in the local area for just a few weeks each year so we were pleased with this sighting. These birds are the largest terns and are the size of some gulls. In this case they were hanging out with a flock of gulls on the gravelly-sandy shore line. From Long- beak Point we headed back to our starting point in Union Bay. Total trip length was about 11 km.
Keith and Heather Nicol write a popular travel blog and more travel ideas can be seen at: http://keithnicol.blogspot.ca/