West Coast Island Hopping: Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island – 280 miles long and up to 50 miles wide – is the largest island on the west coast of North America.  It is unique in many ways, from its mediterannean climate and abundant flora and fauna, to its rich natural resources and unique geography. 

cruise the Gulf Islands in our luxury Zodiac Medline 3

The group of islands off the southern coast of Vancouver Island are known as the Gulf Islands (after the Gulf of Georgia, which separates them from Vancouver and the Lower Mainland).  These islands, ranging from tiny islets that are marine or eco-reserves for certain sea bird populations, to the larger islands: Saturna, Mayne, Galiano, North and South Pender, Valdez, Thetis and Kuper Islands, and of course the largest and probably best known island of all: Saltspring Island.  All of these Islands, as well as the American San Juan Islands, are within easy reach of Victoria by chartering the unsinkable  Zodiac Medline III that Dieter operates from his dock at Birds of a Feather B&B, or can easily trailer to anywhere on Vancouver Island.

Day excursions can also be arranged to Vancouver, up the Fraser River, and/or Howe Sound all the way up to Squamish if you wish. Overnight excursion packages with on-shore accommodations can also be arranged and are only limited by your imagination. If there is any part of Vancouver Island - including any inland lakes - or the west coast of British Columbia that you wish to explore by water, our Zodiac Medline III can whisk you to the destination of your choice at a steady 50 mph / 80 kmph in complete safety and luxury.

There are also a number of Islands on the other side of the International border that are as close or closer to Victoria, namely the San Juan Islands, including San Juan Island itself, home to the quaint village of Friday Harbour, and Orcas, Cypress and Lopez Islands.  San Juan island is also the site of the historic "Pig War" of 1859, a disagreement over the final route of the border between the fledgling Unites States and the then British Colony of Vancouver Island.  Luckily, the only casualty in this fracas was the pig itself, and the dispute was finally settled diplomatically without the use of guns. 

Water Taxi services also availalbe, short or long haul.

Gulf Islands map

Whales, tall ship wreck and oceanside vineyards

the Crowther Family Boating Journal: Our Alaska cruise pulled in to Vancouver just after 7:30 am and by 11:30 we met up with Dieter. Our flight back home to Australia left the next day. With Dieter’s planning advice it all went like clockwork. We flew in to Ganges from the Vancouver harbour on a float plane with Salt Spring Island Air where Dieter met us. After enjoying an excellent lunch on Salt Spring we headed south through the Gulf Islands and stopped at the Saturna Island Vineyards to sample their wines and bought a few bottles. This oceanside vineyard reminded us of those back home in southern Australia near Melbourne. We also saw a tall ship wrecked on a reef near there. We passed through the San Juans where we spent an hour or so watching a super pod of Orcas. A large male breached completely out of the water just a few hundred yards from the boat. This is an experience we will never forget and recommend to anyone who loves the ocean and wildlife. Dieter dropped us off in Victoria right next to the West Coast Air float plane docks at 5:30 pm. By 7:00 pm we were back in our hotel in Vancouver! What a perfect day. This was the icing on our perfect week to the west coast. Thank you "Birds of a Feather". Next time we’ll be back to stay at your B&B in Victoria.