Coast & Mountains, Islands, A Nature Paradise
Situated in the Canadian Province of British Columbia, on the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America, the city of Vancouver is your gateway to a sailing adventure. This vibrant and cosmopolitan city is the hub of a major cruising industry to the Inside Passage waterway extending from Seattle to Alaska. You can easily reach Vancouver by frequent airline service from all major USA, Canadian , European , and Pacific rim cities, or by driving on excellent highways from the western USA and Canada
Our Home Port of Gibsons Landing
Welcome to Gibsons Landing, a charming seaside village overlooking a sheltered harbour in west Howe Sound amidst some of BC's most spectacular scenery. The soaring Coast Range mountains create a magnificent backdrop to the Landing and nearby islands. We're only one and a half hours from downtown Vancouver via a scenic 40 minute ride on BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast. Turn left out of the ferry terminal and its just a few minutes drive into Gibsons Landing. Turn left past Molly's Reach to follow Gower Point Road past the Post Office and around the bay, turning left into Gibsons Marina.
Gibsons Landing offers a colourful, meandering streetscape of shops, galleries, bookstores, markets, and eateries. Molly's Reach restaurant is known internationally through the television series "The Beachcombers" which was filmed in our village for 19 years.
Between the peaks of the Lions to the east and massive Mount Elphinstone to the west lies the broad fjord of Howe Sound, a magnificent natural and sparsely populated waterway which extends to the north to a vista of even higher glacier clad mountains. To the south, Howe Sound opens out through numerous islands to distant horizons across the Strait of Georgia. Nestled between the two shorelines which reach out like welcoming arms, are several large forested islands with mountainous interiors forming deep bays and channels. Typical sights include huge flocks of Harlequin Ducks, amazing Cormorant nests, and clear, clear air and water. A sailing adventure in this rugged terrain will leave you with unforgettable memories of nature, the great outdoors, and glorious days around the Sound
The Strait of Georgia
The Strait of Georgia is an inland sea that extends southeast to northwest between the mainland of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. At Gibsons it narrows to a shorter crossing which sometimes gives us an exhilarating sail, reaching across in brisk winds. To the south and west lie the low silhouettes of the Gulf Islands in front of the mountains of Vancouver Island, while to the north and east rise the high icy peaks of the Coast Range with a foreground of dense forests sweeping down to a sparkling sea. We set our course for one of a number of narrow tidal passes lead from the strait into the Gulf Islands.
The Gulf Islands
Between the snow capped mountains of the mainland and the steep slopes of Vancouver Island lies a gentler landscape. Bordered by dark green firs interspersed with golden arbutus, rounded hilltops roll down to a sheltered sea. Arriving for the first time, or the hundredth, one can't help but be struck with the sublime beauty of these islands.
Nestled in the lee of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands enjoy an ideal climate with warm dry summers and mild wet winters. Each season brings refreshing changes, from the bright and busy summer to the tranquility of early spring and late fall when seabirds and seals may be your only company.
These islands are an ideal cruising ground for sailors with protected anchorages, marine parks, marinas, and meandering channels waiting to be explored.
The protected waters are perfect for watching, contemplating, and photographing beautiful scenes, unusual eroded shorelines, unique flora and prolific wildlife.
Telegraph Harbour Marina
After sailing across the strait, through the ecological reserve of Gabriola Pass, past the incredible sandstone erosions of the Valdes Galleries, and on through the islands, we arrive at our destination for the night at Telegraph Harbour at Thetis Island. In a most beautiful park like setting with grassy slopes in a grove of fir and arbutus trees we are warmly welcomed to an excellent marina and its amenities. As either a stop on the way, as a base for exploration, or to just spend time, this is one of our favourite places. Walk the quiet island roads, see an eagles nest up close, soak up the ambience, and you'll understand why.
Wallace Island Marine Park
Sailing a little further southeast brings us to Wallace Island, a long narrow island preserved as a public park. There is a small dock and anchorage in Conover Cove, and another anchorage in Princess Cove. A network of easy walking trails takes you to all parts of the island.
Black -tailed deer, river otter, and mink are frequently seen here and you can easily spot harbour seals. Sea lions are common in spring but move off to the Alaska breeding grounds in May. There are many bald eagles and turkey vultures. As with most of the coast, bird watching here is most productive in spring and fall.
The flora is typical of the Gulf Islands - with dry summers the plants are adapted to germinate and grow in winter, flower in early spring and become dormant in the summer. If you wish to see the island at its botanical best, plan a trip in March, April, or May.
Wallace Island is also known through the writings of David Conover, once a Los Angeles photographer and discoverer of Marilyn Monroe, who built a resort here in the late 1940's. He wrote two books entitled "Once Upon an Island", and "One Man's Island".
Conover writes: "The sun climbed higher, spinning ribbons of light on maidenhair fern, thickets of salal, and Oregon grape fighting for toeholds along the shadowy bank. Dogwood blossomed in dark glens and pink lady-slippers carpeted the feet of baby firs. From pockets of earth sprang the orange flame of Indian paintbrush, wild peas and lupine. The rarest perfume could not match the fragrance in the air."
The Sunshine Coast
From Gibsons Landing to the northwest along the Sunshine Coast lies a virtually unlimited cruising area and a multitude of fascinating destinations.
Distances are longer and sailing is more dependent on weather variations. Also there are fewer marina amenities and more wilderness anchorages. For more information on cruising the Sunshine Coast, please see John's feature