Gulf Islands Sailing Explore Canada's West Coast by Sailboat
Gulf Islands sailing offers a rare opportunity for coastal wildlife viewing. Cruising in this area is considered suitable for both novice and seasoned sailors.
Check into customs at Poets Cove on Pender Island. From there, head northwest for about 11 miles to Ganges Harbour on Salt Spring Island.
Large centers nearby (i.e., Vancouver, Seattle, Victoria) offer sailing charters. Some specialize in bareboat charters, while others offer a range, including crewed yachts and power boat charters.
Charter Yacht Brokers Association (www.cyba.net) is a good place to look for a charter service that is regulated from the outside.
Marinas & Moorage
Marinas get full to capacity quickly on some days during the peak season. Fortunately, there are an abundance of sheltered bays, inlets and channels around Salt Spring in which to set anchor if necessary. Just be careful to ensure you're far enough out that you won't be affected by the tide at its lowest. It goes out a long way in some places.
» Fulford Harbour Marina *CLOSED*
Damaged by winter storms, the marina is currently (and indefinitely) closed.
» Ganges Marina
Walking distance to all amenities, plus restaurants and shops in the heart of Ganges.
This marina offers easy access to berthage, on-site fueling facilities, wireless Internet, laundry, refuse disposal, etc
» Salt Spring Marina
Also in the Ganges Harbour, on the east side, right off the shore from Moby's pub and restaurant and across the road from the Harbour House Hotel and restaurant.
Offers wireless Internet, short and long term moorage, garbage and recycling, diving gear and lessons, whale watching tours, kayak and bike rentals, etc. Laundry and hair salon nearby, and more. Full details on their website...
Cautions & Considerations
Just a few things to be mindful of when sailing around Salt Spring and the Southern Gulf Islands...
- BC Ferries are very active in the waters around Salt Spring Island, so stay alert for approaching vessels.
- Ensure your engine is operational. Mid-summer days can be calm, leaving you with an inadequate breeze to reach your destination.
- Sudden weather changes are a possibility at any time of year around the Gulf Islands.
- Visit the nearby Marine Parks (Princess Margaret Marine Park at Portland Island and Wallace Island Provincial Marine Park at the north/east end of Salt Spring)
- Montague Harbour on Galiano Island is a great place to be at sunset time!
For more on Gulf Islands sailing, visit www.saltspringsailing.ca