Three kayaks paddling out through the narrow entrance to Gorge Harbour - Photo courtesy Cortes Kayaks

Busy times for Cortes Kayaks

Cortes Kayaks has been especially busy this season. 

In May, they took out groups from ‘Adventures in Leadership’ and ‘Teen szene.’ Then there were three 5-day lodge based trips running from Hollyhock in June. 

“Two of those were kayak and yoga retreats,  which I really enjoy facilitating with my co-guide and co-facilitator Jolaine,” explained Kai Harvey. “Next week we are doing our first multi-day kayak expedition of the season. That’s a kayaking expedition where we’re camping and kayaking.” 

Kayaks ready – Photo courtesy Cortes Kayaks website


This is on top of the company’s regular daily tours, in a season that also brought the return of US and international tourists.

“It is a different demographic of people and a lot of the summer residents who have homes on Cortes are coming back now. It’s nice to be connected to that community for sure,” said Harvey. 

She added, “We do have a 10% discount for locals. If you email info@corteskayaks.com, I’ll send you a locals discount code because we really want to get more locals out on our tours.  So few people who live on Cortes actually get to go out on the water. It’s sad, So I want to encourage as many people as possible to join us.”  

That said, Harvey did enjoy the downtimes during the pandemic. 

Overnighter – Photo courtesy Cortes Kayaks

“I really loved having that opportunity to just go kayaking in my free time, or to just be out on the water, to spend more time with my family and friends. Now with everything ramping up again,  that time to spend with family and friends is definitely dwindling. I feel like it’s a mixed bag, with everything changing back to normal,” she said.

“Also, with things changing back to normal, we have to remember that things aren’t normal. We still have to be very aware of those around us who are immune compromised. It’s easy to think that the pandemic is over because we’re all so tired of it, but I think it’s really important that we all continue to remember to take care of our neighbours and to remember that there’s many different perspectives on all the issues that are presenting themselves nowadays.”

This coming Fall, Kai and her brother Tosh will be teaching a high school kayak program with the Cortes Island Academy. They are in an ongoing discussion about the curriculum. 

Sea stars – Photo courtesy Cortes Kayaks

“The bottom line is that we have so many ideas and it’s going to be hard to narrow it down, to find something that is concise and flows really well throughout the five weeks,” she chirped.

“I think that it’s such an incredible opportunity for youth on the island to be able to attend this program,  through school basically, and get a lot of outdoor experience: a lot of guiding experience, a lot of skills and also just to acquaint themselves with our local ecology in a more intimate way. That often isn’t facilitated in a lot of spaces. I feel so tremendously lucky to be able to offer that to the youth of Cortes  and to youth from elsewhere as well.”

She did not want to talk about specific trips, which are dependent on tides, weather, the group’s experience  level , etc.  

“Maybe ask me in September.”

For anyone who simply wants to go kayaking , there are a variety of day tours, evening tours, and overnight adventures offered through the Cortes Kayaks website. There are also single and double kayak rentals. 

Night image by Ben Grayzel

“You can book those tours on our website corteskayaks.com. If you just push ‘Book Now’ you’ll be able to see live availability.  Then for locals, you’ll be able to put in your little coupon code and get a discount through there,” said Harvey. 

“I love our online booking system because you can actually sign your waivers on there and add your PFD (personal floatation device) sizes and all of that. It’s very awesome, I’ve become a nerd for our booking system.” 

Top image credit: Three kayaks paddling out through the narrow entrance to Gorge Harbour – Photo courtesy Cortes Kayaks

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