We have received early reports from many of our correspondents and owners for the resorts and marinas up and down the coast. Things change, owners change and the services change. We’ve gathered some pre-season updates to help you get on your way for summer cruising.
Also, while you are out cruising, let us know what you see and observe. Nothing beats first-hand reports to share with the readers of the Waggoner Cruising Guide eNews.
Waggoner Cruising Guide
The office, restaurant, and lounge are now open in the new building, and guests are enjoying The Galley & Pub, which we hear has excellent pizzas. They also feature a Happy Hour and have live entertainment on Saturday nights.
The marina is up and running with no signs of last season’s fire. The Lakebay Café and fuel dock are open and popular. There was a line at both when one of our correspondents visited on a weekend this spring. On Friday and Saturday nights, there is live music and jam sessions.
If you stop at Arabella’s Landing Marina, walk up to see the new Ship to Shore Marine Supply store, which opened this summer. Ship to Shore carries an extensive line of kayaks and accessories in addition to marine supplies and parts. When we visited, they were finishing an infinity pool facing the water off the deck of the store. They told us that customers may use the pool to water test new kayaks. Very cool!
We were also pleased with The Harbor General Store for groceries, specialty food items, and their deli counter. The store is walkable from the Gig Harbor waterfront, just up Pioneer Way from the marina waterfront area.
Eagle Harbor Marina is now under new ownership. Bob Wise, who also has an ownership and management position at Port Hadlock Marina and Home Port Marina in Pleasant Harbor, says Eagle Harbor Marina will undergo an extensive renovation after this season. Permits are in place, and work should start later this year to create a world-class facility up to environmental standards that is convenient for transient and full-time moorage.
Winslow Wharf Marina has completed their renovation, and it looks great. We think Bainbridge is a fantastic destination with restaurants, a museum, and cute shops. It is also a convenient place to stay on the boat and take the ferry to visit downtown Seattle, Pike Place Market, and the waterfront area.
The San Juan Islands
Progress is being made on the replacement building that housed Downriggers restaurant, which was destroyed in a terrible fire a few years ago. It doesn’t appear like it will be completed in time for this season.
What happened to Friday Harbor Marine that was housed in the same building? They are alive and well and a 14-minute walk up Spring Street to a building just below the airport at 655B Mullis Street.
New this year–craft brewing at Friday Harbor Marine. Yes, you can review your repair bill while sipping on their in-house brew! When we visited, the brew pub area in the back of the repair shop was being completed with the plans to be open this summer. Meanwhile, they still have kayaks, marine parts and do repairs. The shop was pretty full when we visited, but they are very responsive to boats that break down and need repairs in Friday Harbor. You can reach them at 360-378-6202.
Another couple of other noteworthy spots is new Friday Harbor Art Museum, which you can read about here, and San Juan Island Cheese. There will be an upcoming article about dining at San Juan Island Cheese and their summertime events. We suggest checking their website to see if any of their events match your stay dates.
They went through a lot of changes over the winter–but you won’t see them when you visit. Investment continues into the infrastructure for all of the facilities, and we were told that there is a new donut making machine for the famous Roche Harbor donuts. Roche Harbor continues to be a first-class resort. The owners continue to invest every year into the quality of this historic resort.
You have probably seen Dog Mermaid Excursions’ colorful kayaks pulled up on the beach at Otter Bay Marine Resort. What you might not know is they have a kids program. Every other week during the summer, you can enroll your children or grandchildren into a fun program where they learn about the area, the water, and have a good time too. If you are traveling in the Gulf Islands with kids or grandchildren, we suggest checking out the schedule for this program. You can enjoy the pool, and they will have a good time. We will have the full story in the next edition of Waggoner Cruising Guide eNews.
Space for transient moorage is tight at this favorite stop. We are hearing from our readers that when the marina is potentially full, they will not take standby reservations. Also, they do not take reservations the day of an arrival and require reservations at least 24 hours in advance. There is a reservation fee.
This is the newest marina in Nanaimo and has some of the nicest docks in all of B.C. Usually, when the Nanaimo Port Authority marina is full, Waterfront Suites & Marina may have space. Best is to call them by phone at 250-753-7111. They do take advanced reservations and can book the same day.
John Henry’s JH Resort & Marina (Pender Harbour)
Last year, the resort was sold, and the new owners also purchased Fisherman’s Resort for more moorage. They are upgrading everything over time. This season you will see a new look to the store with many specialty food items. A new café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner (may be closed on Tuesdays in the early season). On the new deck, you can enjoy your meal inside or outside with a view of Hospital Bay.
We reported that the resort and marina closed last fall due to septic system issues. It is now back open and ready for your business in the pub and on the dock.
Has new owners who have the excitement and exhilaration of owning a new business. All the same facilities are there, and they plan to upgrade over time. They have already improved the selection of fruit and vegetables and liquor. The store is in good hands, and we look forward to how the multiple businesses there will evolve. Stop in and say high to the new owners, two couples, Greg and Magdala Rutherford and Curt and Terri Cunningham.
New this year is something you won’t see but makes so much sense. A new experimental power generation system is installed underwater with a turbine taking advantage of the tidal flow. It generates one megawatt to power the resort. This should be the future of coastal power. Other than that, no major changes and we don’t see how they can get much better.
The lodge has new owners, and it appears it will be open for moorage. We are told it might not be open next year. This has been a favorite place for many years, and you might want to stop in this season for a last nostalgic visit.
As reported in our Waggoner Cruising Guide eNews last fall, the barge with the store and Red Shoe restaurant sunk. While it is in the process of being re-built, George and Gail Cambridge have set up a large tent on the dock and have their bakery oven going for pizzas, cinnamon buns and other food items. George tells us he has a new wood-fired pizza oven being imported from Italy that may arrive this summer. Moorage and power on the dock are still available. Stopping at Port Harvey is always a good time.
Jean Barber still has the marina up for sale, but it is business as usual for moorage guests–which means fresh prawns at Happy Hour pot luck up in the historic Tool Shed. Bring a dish to share. Jean will be there most of the summer and make sure guests are well taken care of and enjoy their visit in the Lagoon Cove style.
Pierre continues to upgrade the facilities at this popular destination marina. He upgraded the docks at the Cliffside moorage on the other side. The store and washrooms have been renovated. The “Chez Pierre” dining hall now has an extended deck, and there are three meal events each week including the famous Saturday night Pig Roasts, Prime Rib Roast on Mondays and Fish n’ Chips on Wednesdays. The Waggoner Cruising Guide wood-fired hot tub will be in full use next to the beautiful fire pit for evening relaxation. Also, you can gather in the hall every day at 5 p.m. to share Happy Hour with other boating guests. We suggest scheduling your visit with their events by consulting their website.
The marina has new owners and is no longer operating as a marina resort for transient moorage. Many will miss the gathering for free pancake breakfasts served every day in the pavilion.
The B.C. government stepped in and insisted that the docks be removed for this resort that has been closed for quite a few years. Others in the area salvaged what they could and removed the docks and equipment. This is still a pristine area to visit and now anchor. Lots of memories of the red carpeted dock and Ann Taylor’s homemade pies are now just that – memories.
We’ve been told their schedule for dinners has changed since we wrote the description in the 2016 Waggoner Cruising Guide and it’s best to ask for the meal schedule when you arrive. Guests still gather at 5 p.m. at the Happy Hour pavilion. Bring a dish to share and your favorite beverage.
The Fourth of July is still the big event at Sullivan Bay with a parade, costumes, special events and a live band and dancing in the evening. Call for reservations.
The new massage rooms, located up in the trees, are now in use, and we’ve heard are quite spectacular and relaxing. Massage is $170CDN. They also renovated the bar and dining room. Some early season visitors told us it is very elegant in the Nimmo Bay woodsy style. Dinner this year is $160CDN with liquor inclusive. Tax and Gratuities are not. Reservations are required. We were told the August reservation schedule is already pretty full. Call ahead at 800-837-4354
Allyson Major and her kids are back, this season for real. For those who remember when Allyson was running the marina years ago, it was warm and friendly, often with her creating group dinners, happy hours, and entertaining her guests with her guitar and songs. For many, Jennis Bay is one of the most scenic family run marina resorts up in the Broughtons.
At this time, the Kwakiutl District Council have asked that visitors not stop at Bull Harbour or Hope Island. They hope to develop a management plan for the area but as this time visiting boats are not allowed.
They have continued to expand and improve their facilities. For 2016, look for the expanded fuel dock and other infrastructure improvements. Eco-tours are in the planning stages including the resort’s new helicopter. The fishing charters are great, and the pub will be featuring a number of new items on their already extensive menu.
The owner of the property continues to invest to clean up fallen buildings. There is a new ramp from the docks up to the shore. Cory, the caretaker, welcomes those that stop by and monitors VHF66. Many moor on the docks and make a donation to Cory. The docks are officially not open for business and visitors moor at their own risk and many do. We like the progress at Butedale and look forward to what it might become. It’s strategically located and seems to be a natural overnight stop on the way up to Prince Rupert and SE Alaska from Shearwater. Ask Cory about the Spirit Bear sightings.
The big news is that Cow Bay Marina opened in May. It has 51 slips and side-tie moorage. Our Waggoner Flotilla group to Alaska stayed there just as the power was connected to the docks. The docks are beautiful and roomy for boats of all sizes up to 100 feet. There are still some facilities being completed this season for this much-needed marina. For reservations call 250-622-2628.
The Prince Rupert Rowing & Yacht Club remains busy despite the additional moorage capacity a few hundred feet away at Cow Bay Marina. Their “wait list” program is still in effect. They do not promise reservations, but will put you on a waitlist for moorage. Many people do not realize that this has been the system for years. This is how they accommodate boats that cannot leave due to weather considerations typically when headed north to cross Dixon Entrance to SE Alaska. They have been very good about trying to fit everyone in, but when they are full, some have been turned away. This problem should go away now that the Cow Bay Marina is open.