Lund Harbour is a must-stop destination on the way to Desolation Sound

Editor’s Note: Before we begin, we continue to hear some reports of American cruisers illegally crossing the closed border between the U.S. and Canada to cruise Canadian waters. We hope everyone can enjoy this article in spite of the fact that, presently, Lund should only be on FUTURE itineraries for American cruisers. 

It’s 0600 and I’m sipping coffee in the cockpit with a wee bit of sunlight peeking over my shoulder. I’ve woken up in one the most delightful marinas on the Sunshine Coast. I’m in for a treat, watching the morning come to life from my front row seat. I can’t help myself, it’s a place I want to return to, over and over.

A landing craft called GiderdunII is loaded up and leaving the harbor for Savary Island, a short distance to the southwest. There’s a kingfisher diving into the water from the spreader on the mast of our neighbor’s sailboat, catching his next meal. A few early risers are climbing out of their cockpits and into their dinghies to go to the dingy dock or to go fishing, for their next meals.

Last night was a spectacular mix of visual and audio. The bagpiper of Lund graced us for an evening concert from the shore.  Draped in her long kilt with the setting sun reflecting off the greenery behind her, she was simply splendid. Then the eagles started fishing off the dock next to us, all with the evening sun changing the light every single second. The shimmering silver diamonds reaching across the water were mesmerizing. I had to pinch myself. I wished the evening could last forever.

For those who have never been, Lund is a must on the Sunshine Coast. It is the jumping off-point for Desolation Sound with fuel, provisions, and a pump-out. It is a destination we can’t wait to get to every time we head north. And there’s even a destination bakery called Nancy’s. We have raced to get there before closing time to grab the best sourdough bread on the West Coast.

If wanting to take a break from cooking onboard, The Historic Lund Hotel, standing proud and stoic, has an enticing menu in their restaurant and pub. I have to say, the fish and chips, an old standby is like a new experience, with gluten free battered cod, and a spicy guacamole dip for the chips, all fresh and so tasty. A brand new store is open behind the hotel and fully stocked with groceries, and the largest wine selection since Nanaimo. The displays of local Native Art and Clothing are perfect souvenirs of the unique and beautiful area, belonging to the TLA’AMIN LANDS. TLA’MIN means “our people,” now known as Lund.

I am feeling so grateful and so lucky to be in this place. There is a calm sense of normalcy about being somewhere so familiar, especially this year when COVID-19 has made traveling more challenging. All of the facilities are practicing safe guidelines with social distancing and sanitizing, which is reassuring.

There are more than a few characters that hang out here and we’ve gotten to know some of them. There’s Charlie, whose long white beard and smiling eyes are welcoming. Everyone knows him and greets him when he arrives. He lives nearby and travels in his skiff from across the water. He’s often in his usual corner at Nancy’s Bakery, or at the Hotel, chatting with the waitresses over a bowl of soup.

My favorite story about Charlie is one day as we’re lounging in the cockpit, boat gawking, it became apparent that the shuttle bus on land was having trouble starting. This bus runs from Lund into Powell River to transport boaters and shoppers. A number of people climbed on and off the bus, looked under the hood and wiggled a few wires and hoses, but still it did not start. Along came Charlie, he climbed on board, obviously chatting with the driver, then out he went, laid down on the ground under the bus, legs visible while the rest of him disappeared. After a short time, he hauled himself back up and asked the driver to try to start the engine, and away it went.

Here’s another story about the personalities of Lund … I went to the Harbour Office to pay moorage and saw an “Ode to Joe” on the bulletin board. It read, “A sailor cannot learn to sail on calm seas.” When OMOO first arrived at Lund almost 10 years ago, Joe caught our lines and said “OMOO, I have that book!” The Skipper was astonished, no one he’d met had ever heard of OMOO.  Joe told us all about Herman Melville’s second book called OMOO, which is about a wandering whale. The first book is “Moby Dick” whom many people are familiar with.

“I think I still have the book at home, I’ll look for it for you,” Joe said excitedly. He also mentioned how much he liked our heavy dock lines, “not like the dental floss some boaters use.” We got to know Joe that stopover, he spoke 6 or 7 languages and was a jack of all trades. On subsequent visits he was not around, but the locals told us he’d gone fishing, or was driving the water taxi.

I soon learned from the current wharfinger that Joe passed away last year from cancer. It brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. Joe was small in stature, but as large as life, friendly as the day is long, and full of energy. We will always hold a place in our hearts for Joe.

The truly beautiful life we experience on the water is precious, and tender. While we have this day, we may not have tomorrow, and that is the message from Lund on this stunning morning.