Sculpted sandstone on Tent Island

The Gulf Islands have amazing sandstone formations on many of the islands and while some of them can be visited by land others can only be appreciated by boat. These beautiful sandstone formations on Tent Island are an example. Tent Island is located west of Southey Point on Salt Spring Island for anyone interested in visiting. These formations are best viewed in the late afternoon sun.

Sea kayaking under sculpted sandstone cliffs, Tent Island, Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada
Sea kayaking under sculpted sandstone cliffs, Tent Island, Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada
Weather sculpted sandstone, Tent Island, Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada
Weather sculpted sandstone, Tent Island, Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada

Boating at Wallace Island

A few photos from the other day at Princess Bay, Wallace Island. A few more weeks of summer left but the area is certainly beginning to feel like fall is on the way.

Sunset at the anchorage in Princess Bay, Wallace Island
Sunset at the anchorage in Princess Bay, Wallace Island

The reef off Wallace Island with Salt Spring Island in the background
The reef off Wallace Island with Salt Spring Island in the background
Fallen arbutus leaves on Wallace Island
Fallen arbutus leaves on Wallace Island

New Gulf Islands Forum

We receive numerous emails from readers of the Gulf Islands Guide and the Pender Island Guide and while we attempt to answer most of them we find many of the same topics are asked over and over. With this in mind we have started a new Gulf Islands Forum.

Please ask questions on the forum where many readers will be able to access the information and more importantly, islanders with possibly better knowledge than us will be able to provide answers and make suggestions. Remember, this is your forum as well so let’s try and make it a valuable Gulf Islands resource.

Gulf Islands Forum
Gulf Islands Forum

Wallace Island photographs

Wallace Island is one of my favourite destinations for boating as well as doing photography. The island has plenty of history with some of the old buildings near Conover Cove still standing and the odd old truck or tractor near the old fields. Princess Bay is a wonderful anchorage with views looking northwest for stunning sunsets. Conover Cove has a dock and ample room for a number of boats to stern tie.

We have added a portfolio of Wallace Island photos to the gallery at Wallace Island Photographs Wallace Island Photographs.

Moonrise over calm waters and boats in Princess Bay, Wallace Island, Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada
Moonrise over calm waters and boats in Princess Bay, Wallace Island, Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada

Boating to Portland Island – Gulf Islands National Park

Photos of Portland Island

Portland Island, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada, Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia
Portland Island, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada, Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia

British Columbia’s Portland Island is a much-loved location in the Southern Gulf Islands for both boaters as well as kayakers. The island is a wonderful destination for a day trip or multi-day boating and camping adventures with a pair of protected moorages and three campgrounds available. Portland Island is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada.

First Nations people utilized Portland Island going back 3,000 years as is verified from the middens that can be found on the island. These middens are classified as archaeological sites and are protected legally. As such these middens must not be disturbed. Subsequently the island ended up being inhabited by Kanaka (Hawaiian) immigrants and was utilized primarily for farming purposes. An eccentric owner in the 1920’s was Frank “One Arm” Sutton, a retired British army officer. Frank Sutton acquired the island with funds he had won gambling on horse races within China. The plan was to raise & train thoroughbred race horses on the island. All evidence of the old horse racing track and a golf course have now vanished.

In 1958 the island was presented as a gift from the Province of British Columbia to Princess Margaret to commemorate her visit to the province. It was apparently expected that the princess would accept the island and immediately return it but apparently she had other ideas for the next 9 years! Princess Margaret finally returned the island to the province of British Columbia in 1967 to be used as a park and it became known as Princess Margaret Marine Park. The Canadian Government bought the island from the Province of British Columbia and it became known once again as Portland Island and became a portion of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada.

Portland Island is located around 4.5 kilometers from Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island making it a well known day destination for kayakers and boaters. Even though it is not a very lengthy crossing, it may occasionally get quite rough during poor weather conditions so plan your trip accordingly.

3 campsites are available on the island; Shell Beach Campsite is situated on a gorgeous shell beach directly across from Brackman Island (Brackman Island is an ecological reserve and visiting isn’t permitted). The beautiful shell beach is partially sheltered by Brackman Island and does not get hit directly by ferry wake. Arbutus Point Campsite is located on a small peninsula on the northeast end of the island and provides excellent views of the surrounding islands. The beach for the campground is situated on the north side of the peninsula. Princess Bay campsite is situated above the bay and has a wonderful view of the scenic bay, the most used overnight stop for pleasure boaters. Pit toilets can be found at each of the campsites on Portland Island.

In addition to Princess Bay, boaters have an option of staying on the northern end of the island at Royal Cove.

BC’s first artificial reef, the sunken freighter G.B. Church, is situated off the northeast shore of Portland Island. The scuttled ship now serves as a haven for marine organisms and is an attraction for divers from around the world.

Shell Beach at Portland Island, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada
Shell Beach at Portland Island, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada
The moorage at Princess Bay, Portland Island, British Columbia
The moorage at Princess Bay, Portland Island, British Columbia
Grasses at Portland Island, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada
Grasses at Portland Island, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada
Jellyfish at Portland Island, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada
Jellyfish at Portland Island, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada

Casinos near the Gulf Islands

CasinoWhere to find amusement

The Gulf Islands, though known for its beauty, seem to have a weak spot when it comes to entertainment—there are no casinos on any of the islands. This might be a problem for locals and visitors who like a night or two dedicated to nocturnal amusements through slots and table games. The demand for casino games was heard by the government, and it took action; Transportation Minister Todd Stone recently announced that slot machines will be added to the main routes of BC Ferries. In a report by CBC News it was confirmed that the pilot project will go on routes traversing Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay. Aside from providing passengers the thrill of slot games, the BC government also has the purpose of assessing the viability of gaming. Through this method, there’ll be feedback on whether gaming may be a permanent revenue-generating program.

Casinos all over the world are upping the ante when it comes to their major offerings, and if one were to be built on the shores of the Gulf it would probably strive to be on par with its American and European counterparts. In Las Vegas, the MGM Grand features concerts, sports events, and regular Cirque du Soleil performances for its clientele. Other casinos venture into online partnerships to widen their reach to include online players—the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, for instance, collaborated with casino.betfair.com ever since New Jersey was granted online casino gaming within its respective state.

For now, inhabitants and visitors of the Gulf Islands have to settle for online poker and roulette, but for those how feel the need to go to live casinos, here are the closest land-based casinos:

  • Edgewater Casino

This boutique casino is located in downtown Vancouver, near BC Place and Rogers Arena. The best thing about this establishment is that it’s open 24 hours a day. The casino offers over five hundred slots, table games (roulette, baccarat, blackjack), and “Vancouver’s hottest poker room”.

  • Great Canadian Casino

This casino in Nanaimo not only offers popular casino games, it also has a rewards system in place through its Encore Rewards Card system. The establishment also provides transportation to its patrons through group bus tours. The Black Diamond Bar & Grille is the resident restaurant which offers the best prime ribs in town.

  • River Rock Casino Resort

Richmond boasts of this casino due to its high limit tables, intense poker tournaments, and “party pit”. From time to time renowned live bands perform at the resort to sizable crowds. Conveniently, it also has a hotel with in-suite and spa amenities for guests who’d like to stay the night.

Monique, the wooden hitchhiker

Gulf Islands Guide Photo of the Day

Monique, the wooden hitchhiker, greets boaters arriving at Page’s Resort & Marina in Silva Bay, Gabriola Island

Monique, the wooden hitchhiker, greets boaters arriving at Page's Resort & Marina in Silva Bay, Gabriola Island.

Aerial photograph of Silva Bay anchorage and marinas, Gabriola Island, British Columbia

Gulf Islands Guide Photo of the Day

Silva Bay on Gabriola Island is one of the favourite destinations for many boaters. This aerial photograph of Silva Bay anchorage and marinas shows the wonderful location and small islands in the area, Gabriola Island, British Columbia

Aerial photograph of Silva Bay anchorage and marinas, Gabriola Island, British ColumbiaSilva Bay, Gabriola Island

A double rainbow over Saturna Island photographed from a little south of Hope Bay, North Pender Island, British Columbia

Gulf Islands Guide Photo of the Day

A double rainbow over Saturna Island photographed from a little south of Hope Bay, North Pender Island

A double rainbow over Saturna Island photographed from a little south of Hope Bay, North Pender Island, British ColumbiaA double rainbow over Saturna Island, Gulf Islands

Pender Islands Magic Lake Lantern Festival, Pender Island, BC

Gulf Islands Guide Photo of the Day

Pender Islands Magic Lake Lantern Festival is held every New Years day at the Pender Islands Community Hall.

Pender Islands Magic Lake Lantern Festival, Pender Island, BC, Canada