Discover the Pender Islands by sea

Birds of a Feather’s Zodiac Medline III based in Victoria is available for private charter transport (water taxi) to and from North and South Pender Island and anywhere - including Vancouver - along the west coast of British Columbia. We are also available for marine eco-tour charters, or simply boating the west coast.

North and South Pender Islands are the closest Gulf Islands to Victoria, and hence quite a few of the residents of these islands  commute to Victoria by the BC Ferries intricate inter-island ferry service. Once joined by a peninsula, the Pender Islands (population: 2,400) were separated by a canal for more than 50 years before they were reconnected by a one-lane bridge in 1957. Residents and visitors to these rural islands are scattered along country roads, in houses, farms, resorts and small clutches of cottages. Inland regions are hilly and densely forested and the coastline is dotted with the kind of small, secluded beaches that attract a lot of wildlife. Otters, seals and herons are very common sights.

The vast majority of the population lives on North Pender, which is also where most businesses and services are located. Many artists and artisans call the islands home and their work is widely available through galleries, studios, craft fairs and other community events.

Local arts and crafts are availalbe at the many shops, studios, and private galleries scattered around the Islands. Many artists display their wares in central galleries, one of which is located at Port Washington. Local produce, arts and crafts can be bought at North Pender’s popular Farmer’s Market, held on Saturdays at the Community Agricultural Hall.

One of the best beaches on the Pender Islands is at Mortimer Spit, close to the canal between the two islands. An isolated spit of lots of sand juts out into Navy Channel. A more popular spot is just north at Hamilton Beach at Port Browning with a pub, marina, cafe, and picnic tables beside the beach. On the far shore, visible from Hamilton, is a sandy strip of beach at Razor Point.

At the very end of South Pender Island, you’ll find a small beach park at Gowlland Point Park, certainly the prettiest of all the beaches on the two Penders. A pebble beach slopes down to an indented shoreline. From the beach, you look due south into the San Juan Islands, west across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Hurricane Ridge on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, and east to Saturna Island’s Monarch Head, with Mount Baker rising above the mainland.

 South Pender Island

North Pender Island, BC

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.