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

Baby Orca breached!

The open air market on Salt Spring Island was a unique and fun experience. The arts and crafts stores in Ganges were a delight to discover. We enjoyed the fresh air, the natural scenery and the Dahl’s porpoises along the way. The ride back to Victoria was even more scenic as we boated through the channel and under the old wooden bridge between the Pender Islands. Going home the long way through the San Juans and around the bottom of San Juan Island was an excellent choice. We saw Orcas and a recently born baby orca breach out of the water! The boat is very comfortable and Dieter knows the waters like a seasoned mariner. We really appreciated having the zodiac all to ourselves and not being on any schedule. This was the best trip to Victoria ever! See you again next year for another adventure.