Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Comox Lake is a perfect place for a sea kayaking-swimming excursion

by Keith and Heather Nicol
Heather swimming at our lunch spot
    With a forecast high of 32C in Comox (the warmest day of the summer so far) we decided to do a kayak – swim excursion on Friday, August 19 and we thought that nearby Comox Lake would be an ideal place to explore. A previous days` swim in the Puntledge River suggested that the water was warming up nicely so we thought that Comox Lake would also likely be perfect place to combine a dip and kayak trip. Our 2 previous sea kayak trips to Comox Lake had involved launching at Cumberland Lake Park  but for this trip we opted to try a launch on the other side of the lake. We knew that the northern shore of the lake had many more beaches than the steep walled south side and this was a priority if we wanted to swim. We drove up a combination of Lake Trail Road and Comox Logging Road to the bridge which crosses the Puntledge River just above the dam. We parked at 10 U 0348645E 5500980N which is just past the bridge on your left. Here we found a reasonable trail for wheeling our kayaks to the lake. There are a few roots along the way and it is quite steep as the trail drops toward the lake but the 100 meter trail is quite manageable. 
Comox Lake has fine views of the Comox Glacier

    Once we were set up we dove in for our first swim of the day and swam in a protected bay just off the main lake for a few minutes. Then soaking wet we paddled west along the shore encountering many beaches with small groups of people at many of them. The terrain changed dramatically after a km or so and dry grassy bluffs spotted with arbutus trees came into view. These bluffs were perfect launch point for people doing some cliff jumping into the lake and we were struck by how clear the water was.  Throughout this section we had a good view of the Comox Glacier in the distance. We found a very small beach amongst the bluffs where we had lunch and a swim  (coordinates 10 U 0346651E 5500216N). We paddled for another 30 minutes to another beach where the cliffs were ending and had a final dip in the water before heading back to our launch point. There was still much of the Comox Lake ahead of us but given the very warm temperatures and lack of a
breeze we decided that return and save the remainder of the lake for a cooler day. Overall we paddled about 8 km in total and had a final swim at our exit point. Comox Lake has amazingly clear water and a spectacular setting and shouldn`t be overlooked as s kayak destination. And pack your bathing suit for if you have a warm day.
Heather with the dry grassy bluffs behind

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