Gulf Islands and Strait of Georgia
Birds Eye Cove Marina – has been taken off the market. The fuel dock remains closed. Transient moorage space is available on a 24-hour notice.
Page’s Marina now has a small convenience store with easy to cook items, local cheeses, and gourmet “Woodfired” food items called “Lil Market.” Local items include pizza’s from the Woodfired restaurant on the other side of the island. The pizzas are specially designed to stay crisp when warmed up in the microwave. They even developed special flavors for the store. The store continues to carry a great selection of books and gift items.
Make Cheese with Paula — The cheeses in the Lil Market are made by Paula Maddison. Besides being a cheesemaker from, of course, Wisconsin, Paula teaches classes in making cheese. To learn more, see makecheesewithpaula.ca. When Paula is not making cheese, you may meet her on Page’s docks assisting with slip assignments.
Saltspring Marina in Ganges is currently under construction; dock construction is anticipated to continue through much of the summer; call the marina for the current status.
A new store is currently under construction at Goldstream Boathouse, anticipated to be completed sometime during the 2019 cruising season.
Maple Bay Marina
Maple Bay Marina has completed the installation of their new main dock, “G-dock.” Repairs to “H-dock,” the fuel system, and the pump-out, which all sustained damage in the 2018 winter storms, are currently in progress. The fuel dock and pump-out are anticipated to be available by mid-May 2019. Additional piles are being added to the float-home dock, “J-dock.”
The Canadian Customs dock in Bedwell Harbour has been rebuilt and is now in the shape of a large U. There is now more space to tie-up around this U with substantial steel pilings. The far end of the U, with black tires below the bull rails, is the seaplane dock.
49th Parallel Market at 3055 Oak Street makes deliveries for a small fee to the docks; call 250-246-3551.
Fuel Service at Jones Marine Services is closed due to a fire in early 2018; plans to permit and rebuild are in the works, anticipated to be completed for the 2020 boating season.
Silva Bay Marina
Silva Bay Marina, no pub for 2019. Food Trucks on the premises during the summer months. The latest plans include a substantial re-development of the uplands to include a new restaurant and other resort amenities over the next several years.
Transport Canada has created a new map for Victoria Harbour to better show boat and seaplane traffic patterns; go to www.tc.gc.ca/eng/pacific/
Fuel is no longer available on the dock at Lyall Harbour Public Wharf. Gasoline and diesel are available upland and can be taken by 15-gallon jerry cans to the dock; pay for fuel at the Saturna Cycle rental shop or at the Lighthouse Pub. The Saturna Point Store has closed and is no longer in business; the nearest grocery is located about 2.5 km on Saturna Island. The double decker-bus up the road, which housed the Wild Thyme café, is no longer in business.
The Lighthouse Pub, with fabulous views, serves lunch and dinner. The campground just up the road offers picnic tables and two new “glamping tents” that overlook the harbor in a beautiful treed setting. Boaters may use the shower at the camp ground, check in at Saturna Cycle shop.
Hope Bay Public Wharf
The café “Gather” has replaced Philly’s Diner at Hope Bay. Gather is open for lunch Thursday through Monday, serving home-made organic dishes and baked goods. Live music as scheduled.
Transient moorage is limited to approximately 45 feet located on the outside, southeast end of the dock; other spaces are permanent moorage only. Two public day-use mooring buoys are located near the wharf.
Online ticket sales are available starting June 1st for the Annual Hornby Festival, which runs from August 1st through August 10th. Professional, internationally recognized musicians and song writers as well as the art show draw big crowds at the two venues on Hornby Island – The Community Hall and The Farm. The Farm is within easy walking distance for boaters staying at the Ford Cove Harbour Authority docks. Advance tickets are a must for this popular event. A membership fee of $5 is required to purchase tickets; these funds help support The Hornby Festival, a non-profit organization. In addition to the music performances, children can attend song and story hours. Young aspiring musicians can apply to the Hornby Festival School of Emerging Musicians. For a schedule of events, go to hornbyfestival.com; or to purchase tickets, go to hornbyfestival.tickit.ca
Pier 66, previously called Dungeness Marina, now offers 200 feet of transient moorage (250-748-6789), reservations accepted. Genoa Bay & Cowichan Bay – the Water Shuttle (Greylag Boat Tours/Genoa Shuttle) between Genoa and Cowichan is no longer operating.
Saturday Farmers’ Market now held at Howling Wolf Farm at the corner of Marina Dr. and Pilkey Point Rd.
The Domaine Jasmin Winery on Thetis Island is closed and no longer in operation.
Thetis Island Resort & Marina
Improvements have taken place at the marina, including a new patio area, a refurbished deck for the pub, and newly painted/stained finishes on the outside of the main building. New owner, Wayne Proctor, is planning for future improvements.
Port Browning Marina
The main dock at Port Browning Marina has been replaced along with two finger piers. A new end-tie (hammerhead) with 150 feet of moorage space on each side has recently been added, with 50 amp power. Other slips have 30 amp power; 15 amp is no longer available. A 300-foot concrete wave-attenuator has been added at the entrance to the marina, immediately west of red buoy U52, which marks shoaling and rocks; favor the wave-attenuator side of the channel when entering.
The Bridgeman’s Bistro is now open on Saturdays and Sundays with the same menu offered at the adjacent Port Browning Pub. On other days of the week, the Bridgeman’s venue serves as The Kraken Theatre, showing classic movies as scheduled; see thekrakentheatre.com for the latest showings.
Boat Harbour Marina
Boat Harbour Marina has all new docks, which replaced and expanded an older permanent only moorage marina. Located 7 nautical miles south of Dodd Narrows on Vancouver Island, the marina now offers transient moorage for boats up to 100 feet. Call for reservations 48 hours in advance; a minimum stay of 2 nights during weekends.
It is a disappointment to report that the new docks at the Salt Spring Marina in Ganges are not in. It is shocking to see that there are no pilings either and a few new dock sections floating out in the bay and not attached. We were told that due to last minute complications with permits, the docks were not installed during the winter and spring. It does not appear the marina will be able to be open this season. You can find information on their website.
Moby’s Pub is open, as well as the other businesses around the Marina. The food at Moby’s is as good as ever when we stopped in late May. There is no dinghy dock for Moby’s, though it is a short walk from town. Expect the other marinas to be full for this favorite destination in the Gulf Islands.
Once completed, plans call for a wider and longer main spine dock that will cover Money Makers Rock, potentially eliminating a long standing boating hazard in Ganges Harbour. The renovated marina will include up-to-date 30 and 50 amp electrical service, potable water, and a mobile pumpout station. The boat launch will remain available throughout construction and beyond. Moby’s Pub and all upland retail will remain open during construction.
Expect other marinas in Ganges to be full at this favorite destination in the Gulf Islands. So what are some other options for moorage at Ganges? Ganges Marina accepts reservations, and we recommend calling to book reservations well ahead of your planned arrival date. Anchorage can be taken behind the Chain Islands, however, it’s usually crowded and you’ll need to watch out for rocks. An easier anchorage can be found near and around the entrance to Walter Bay located on the southwest end of the harbour. Dock space is sometimes available at the Ganges Centennial Wharf (Grace Point facility); the Ganges Breakwater Float (below the Coast Guard station); and more likely at Ganges Kanaka Wharf (immediately north of the floating breakwater). These three facilities are managed by the Harbour Authority of Salt Spring Island on a first-come, first-serve basis. Anchorage in Long Harbour, which parallels Ganges Harbour, might be an additional option, but it’s a 5-mile dinghy ride to town; good anchorage is beyond the ferry dock.
Dodd Narrows Securité– When Not to Announce
During the prime cruising season, twice a day around slack water at Dodd Narrows, Channel 16 is filled with Securité announcements from traffic passing through the Narrows. Many of these announcements are transmitted with the boat’s VHF radio on 25-watt “High Power” instead of the proper 1-watt “Low Power” setting.
For many years, the Waggoner Cruising Guide included a note suggesting that boaters might announce their movement in Dodd Narrows with a Securité call (on low power). While we still recommend using VHF 16 and Securité announcements for safety purposes, the 2019 Waggoner Cruising Guide’s revised write-up for Dodd Narrows passage suggests that boaters limit their announcements to vessels that only pose a safety concern for others. Take a moment to read the following copy of the 2019 Waggoner Cruising Guide’s revised Dodd Narrows information.
Dodd Narrows. Currents in Dodd Narrows run to 9 knots as water swirls through the narrow deep passage between cliffs. The narrows are best taken at slack water. For the hour or so before the predicted turn, boats collect at each end waiting for the right time. These boats include commercial craft, even tugboats with log tows or large barges, so the period around slack water can get pretty interesting. Generally, the boats on the upstream side go first, catching the last of the dying fair current. When they are through, boats on the other end go through, picking up the beginnings of the new (for them) fair current. It all works well as long as no one gets impatient. Vessels will be transiting in both directions during and around slack periods. Check for traffic by viewing AIS targets on both sides of the narrows and listen on VHF 16 for Securité calls from traffic that might pose a safety concern for other vessels. Tugboats with log tows and large commercial vessels will typically announce their intentions on VHF 16. In recent years, VHF 16 has been flooded with Securité calls from boats that may not need to announce themselves, so if your boat does not pose a safety concern for others, there is no need to make a Securité call. If you do make a call, be sure to use 1-watt low power. Don’t be in a hurry, and don’t try to pass a slower boat. Dodd Narrows is short. Travel single-file and leave room between your boat and the boat ahead and share the channel with opposing direction traffic.