Saturna Island

Justine was having a girls weekend in the Okanagan for one of her friends' birthdays, so I was on my own for the weekend. I didn't really have any plans, so I decided fairly spur of the moment to head over to one of the gulf islands. I picked one that I had never been to - Saturna- which is also the most remote of the bunch. As it turned out, making a day trip of it was a bit tougher than I expected.

 Heading out on the ferry from Swartz Bay

Heading out on the ferry from Swartz Bay

To get to Saturna, I had to take the main ferry from the mainland to Swartz Bay, near Victoria. Then wait for a bit, and take a smaller ferry from Swartz Bay to Saturna, stopping first at two other Gulf Islands. A bit of a hassle.

 The smaller ferry to Saturna

The smaller ferry to Saturna

Once there, it became clear how small the island is. You can drive the length of it in about half na hour. My first stop was to the far eastern end of the island at the appropriately names East Point. A big part of the island is part of Gulf Islands National Park, and East Point is also the best land-based location for whale watching, as both orcas and humpbacks go right past the tip of the island, almost daily.

 Small outbuilding in the park.

Small outbuilding in the park.

There's a whale research center in the park, and this great old building that sits on the point. There was a woman doing a talk for kids while I was there wandering about, but sadly no whales. I did a bit of hiking around the park on the point - it was really beautiful.

 View back up to the research center.

View back up to the research center.

AFter wandering about East Point, I headed back towards the center of the island where most people seem to live. There's one store on the island, and very few services. It's a very remote place.

 The very interesting and well equipped General Store.

The very interesting and well equipped General Store.

 Creative use of an old bus. Coffee shop not too far from the ferry.

Creative use of an old bus. Coffee shop not too far from the ferry.

 View from the deck of the pub on the island.

View from the deck of the pub on the island.

I drove around for a bit, exploring other parts of the island. Many of the roads were pretty rugged - almost more logging roads than proper maintained roads. I also ended up finding Saturna Island Winery, which seems to have gone out of business. The vineyard looks to be in good shape, but starting to go a bit wild. A shame really. 

 View out from the dock.

View out from the dock.

Eventually, I headed back to the ferry dock and parked my truck in the line for the ferry later that afternoon. Figured there was no harm in being safe about it. I headed into the pub and had a drink, and a late lunch. There are float planes back to Vancouver, as well as quite the kayaking outfitter at the public dock. I'm guessing that kayaking around the island would be pretty amazing.  

 Public dock.

Public dock.

Eventually it was time to get back on the ferry and make the trek back home. It was a fun day, and the weather was amazing. The light was we headed back through Active Pass on the big ferry was amazing, casting everythig in a golden glow.

 

 On the smaller ferry heading out from Saturna Island after a fun day. Pub to the right.

On the smaller ferry heading out from Saturna Island after a fun day. Pub to the right.