The Gulf Islands
are situated in the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver, on the
lower mainland of British Columbia and Victoria, at the southern
tip of Vancouver Island. The main islands that make up the Gulf
Islands are Salt Spring, Gabriola, Galiano, Mayne, Saturna and the
Penders. There are dozens of smaller islands and islets that are
included in this group, which collectively are often referred to
as the the Southern Gulf Islands.
make their way to the islands on one of the regions ferries (float
plane service from the Vancouver, Vancouver Island and Washington
State is also available), which for many is an adventure unto itself
- particularly for the kids. Stepping off the ferry you start to
notice that things move more slowly here. People take time for life's
little pleasures and a more relaxed atmosphere greets you where
ever you go. Visitors are forced to slow down when they explore
the area and adapt themselves to what is often referred to as "Island
Time". Be careful, once you've adjusted you're internal clock,
you may never want to set it back again.
provide a wonderful natural environment which invites you to indulge
in the outdoors. The area is renowned for its exceptional cruising.
Sailors are in heaven here, with endless bays, channels and sounds
that just beg to be explored. The islands' diverse shorelines present
you with rain forest, cliffs and rocky headlands separated by a
wide variety of beaches, covered with sand, tiny pebbles or even
beautiful white shell fragments (shell middens are protected and
are not to be disturbed). Anchorages can be found in many of the
sheltered bays and moorage is available on all of the major islands.
A large number
of sea kayakers share the surrounding waters. You'll find them gliding
by the sandstone sculpted shores of Galiano Island or heading for
the sandy beaches of Sidney Spit. After a day's explorations, they
may spend the night at one of the area's innumerable oceanside B&B's
or at one of the many parks which dot the islands.
has recently set aside a patchwork of land comprised of beaches,
forests, meadows and mountains, which together make up the Gulf
Islands National Park Reserve. This newly designated area protects
one of Canada's more delicate balancing acts between nature and
man. The park provides campsites, trails, beaches, moorage and anchorages.
You'll also find a number of beautiful Provincial Parks with both
front country (directly accessible by car) and walk-in campsites,
perhaps the most notable of which is Salt Spring's Ruckle Provincial
Park. In addition there are regional parks on many of the islands
which rival their better know brethren when it comes to natural
make their way along the island's rugged coastlines and to many
of the area's peaks. Most of the trails are within the parks and
information can be had by contacting the park administrators. Most
of the trails outside the parks but can be found with maps which
may be purchased at the island's information centres or retailers.
Several books are available which include detailed trail descriptions
of the area.
of Gabriola Island
Map of Galiano Island
Map of Mayne Island
Map of Pender Islands
Map of Salt Spring Island
of Saturna Island
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