THE ICONICALLY CANADIAN SUNSHINE COAST
Starting in 1972, the west coast of Canada streamed into homes across the nation in
the form of the images of the iconic television series the Beachcombers, where Nick Adonidas (Bruno Gerussi), a Greek-canadian log salvager cruised the waterways of the Sunshine Coast in search of errant logs. While your opportunity to earn a spot in the series passed with the series end in 1990, you can live the dream cruising into Nick’s hometown of Gibson and entering his favourite diner, Molly’s Reach.
Location, location, location. You’ll repeat this mantra as your eyes follow the spires of trees upward along the vertiginous spine of mountain peaks. Deep fjords disappear around rocky crags seductively beckoning their exploration. Raging rapids and surging tidal waters guard secluded beaches and isolated waterfalls.
Here, the Coast Mountains are guardians of the region and bar your entry by
land. Sail your boat, board a ferry, water taxi or seaplane to be enthralled with this exceptional region.
Your quest aptly begins at Gibsons, the first community north of Vancouver and the Gibsons Marina can provide all the boating services and amenities needed to prepare for your adventure. Although you may decide to journey farther north and make port at Secret Cove Marina at Chart 3512, roughly halfway between Sechelt and Pender Harbour, on the way to Desolation Sound and Princess Louisa Inlet. It has a fuel dock, a restaurant, and stores where you can get the essentials as well as clothing and liquor.
Your essentials should include whatever gear you need to fulfill your passion as the region is an outdoor enthusiasts’ Shangri-la. Orcas dip into and out of view as Harbour Seals and Steller Sea Lions warily fish the waters only relaxing to sun themselves on rocky shelves or breakwaters. Bald eagles and a plethora of marine birds soar and dart through the sky weaving their intricate dance of life against the background of a deep blue sky. That’s the long version of bring a camera and binoculars to get the most of this 180 km (110 mi) stretch of marine life.
The fishing is spectacular, and the kayaking as peaceful or as heart-pounding as you can handle. Continuing north along the coast you’ll discover Pender Harbour. A small population of 3,000 makes up the residents of several small villages here including Madeira Park, Irvine’s Landing, Garden Bay and Kleindale. A landscape and people as unique as this must have a distinctive event or two, and they do. Attack of Danger Bay is the longest-running downhill longboard race in Canada. This vibrant community buzzes with boating, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, golf, music festivals, art galleries, swimming, car shows, camping, parades, and festivals.
Although dive vacation videos often show scantily clad bodies in tropical waters, BC’S Westcoast provides true diving diversity. Dive sites in the Egmont area include the HMCS Chaudiere, a WWII sub tracker sitting on its side in deep water, and the Tuwanek Marine Park will have you believing you are diving in an aquarium.
Leaving Egmont, the mountains open jaw-like, tantalizingly eastward, the Strait of Georgia unlocking the secret world of Jervis Inlet, the deepest fjord in British Columbia with a max depth of 732 m (2400 ft), which stretches 77 km (48 mi) to its head at the Skwakwa River. Before you reach the headwaters is the access point to the Holy Grail of Jervis Inlet – Princess Louisa Inlet and the Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park. Only attempt to enter at or near slack water as the Malibu Rapids form in the narrows to the inlet. Or better yet, take some time off from being captain of your own vessel and experience the area with Sunshine Coast Tours. www.sunshinecoasttours.ca
Although only a mere 8 km (5 mi) long, the sheer cliffs rise an astounding two kilometres up from the sea, teeming with dozens of waterfalls in early spring as the mountain melt water makes its icy plunge to the inlet below. The infamous Chatterbox Falls, at the head of the Inlet, also gathers water from the glaciers and mountain meadows, crashing and cascading over the cliff throughout the year. Thick emerald coloured moss covers the trees and rocks.
The Beach Gardens Resort and Marina is your next stop at Grief Point (Latitude 49°48’00” Longitude 124°31’00”), in Powell River. Its sheltered 45-slip marina is the perfect overnight where you can enjoy a deluxe room, leisurely relaxing on your deck soaking in the panoramic view of Malaspina Strait, the entrance to Desolation Sound.
Stop in at their Savoury Bight Seaside Restaurant and Pub, swim in the indoor pool or work out in the gym before taking the free shuttle to the Powell River Town
Centre during July and August for some shopping and entertainment.
Or stop in at the Westview Harbour Government Dock with guest moorage, washrooms, showers, laundry, Internet access, launch ramp, garbage disposal, gas, diesel, propane and ice. Reach them at VHF Channel: 68, 66A.
The 10th Annual Lund Shellfish Festival will be held the last weekend in May along the shores of Lund Harbour, BC. This is a ‘can’t miss’ event for anyone who loves fresh-cooked seafood, live music, cooking demonstrations, shopping craft booths, and sampling special menu items from the local restaurants. And best of all, admission is always free!
Desolation Sound is BC’S largest Marine Park at 8.449 ha and more importantly over 60 km of winding shoreline including several islands. Kayak rentals are available in Powell River or you can paddle with a guided tour.
The three major anchorages are Prideaux Haven, Tenedo’s Bay and Grace Harbour. The area has long been a favourite of boaters. In summer the waters are perfect for swimming and scuba diving, and many of the rustic campgrounds and backcountry trails provide hiking opportunities leading up to small, secluded lakes.
Immerse yourself in local culture at some of the Sunshine Coast’s year round events, from marathons to arts festivals, parades to bike races. Go to sunshinecoastcanada.com and click on events for more events and exact dates.