The Gulf Islands are the northern extension of the San Juan Islands
and are great place to paddle. There are multiple routes you can put
together to access the whole chain of islands.
Wind can be a problem in this area and it is not unusual to get
afternoon winds in excess 15 kts when this occurs wind waves can
become 1-2' ft in areas. We had great weather, sunshine
daily and only one afternoon with significant wind.
We took BC ferry to Mayne Island permitting us
to paddle the northeast side of Mayne and Saturna Islands. We
even paddled through Boat Passage... some of us twice, second time
the current was starting to build up speed. Our first night
camp was on Cabbage Island, the west side of the island has quiet a
few campsites and there is a nice sandy beach.
Day 3 we paddled to Beaumont
Provincial Park on South Pender Island. Our route took us
through Tumbo Channel, be sure to plan your paddle here as this
Channel has significant currents during max flow. We
stayed 2 nights at Beaumont Provincial Park. I did a day
paddle here paddling up the channel between North and South Pender
Islands to Browning Harbor. The channel does have significant
current during tidal changes, so plan your timing for passing
through. Poet's Cove Resort at the south end of Bedwell Harbor has
groceries, pool, and a restaurant.
We paddled west out of Pender and headed for Portland Island.
The paddle route does include a 2+ mile crossing to Moresby Island.
Portland Island is part of the BC Marine Trail and is a very pretty
island. We did have a thunderstorm on
Portland Island during the night but that did not cause us any
From Portland Island we paddled to Prevost, we
had a down day planned there and used it to go into Ganges to enjoy
the Saturday Market, showers, and restaurants. We had a windy paddle out of Ganges,
probably a 15 kt breeze blowing down the harbor pushing some 2 ft
waves, this PM wind is pretty common. We had some light rain that evening and the following
morning. The skies cleared later and we had sun as we paddled north to Princess Cove on Wallace Island,
this was our northern most destination. Watch out for
Raccoons! I had a raccoon sitting on my boat before I could
almost exit it!! We spend 2 nights at Wallace doing a day paddle on
our "down" day.
From Wallace we headed to Montague Maritime Park on Galliano
Island the next day. Nice park bit of a hike/climb to the camp
sites. Try to catch the bus to the Humming Bird Pub for a
great dinner and a fun bus ride.. no charge for the
ride..catch it at the main gate around 5.. it runs till late in the
Our last day, we had a cloudy paddle down to Village Bay
crossing Active Pass, watch out for ferries, this is the main entry
for boat traffic into and out of the Gulf Islands. We saw Orca while rounding Saturna and
again while waiting for the ferry back to Tsawassen. Great