John Harvey Photo

Gulf Islands Photo Cruise



Through a family friend, I was told about a photography cruise being put on by a local charter company - Due West Charters.  While I love the water and the Gulf Islands, I wasn't sure about the trip.  My fears were quickly put to rest.  We arrived early (wanted to catch the tide out of the Fraser) to the ship which was docked on Annacis Island.  The ship used to be a side trawler is mostly steel (ouch on the shins).

Curve of Time in DockJan Looking OutThe rear deck of the ship

The trip started with a cruise down the Fraser River.  You really don't have a sense of how busy the river is until you see it at eye level.  One ship I really took notice of was a car transport.  This ship travels back and forth between Asia and North America shuttling cars.  The ship didn't look so good, but the consumer good coming out were pristine.
 
 

Car TransportThat first step is a little rough

But the Fraser also borders on wildlife areas so it wasn't surprising to see Bald Eagles flying around.  Of course the ship can't get the close to land (it's a river delta so there is a lot of shallow water), but it's nice to know Bald Eagles are around.

Bald EaglesEagle Soaring

As for wild life, the real treat was when reached the mouth of the Fraser and the break water called the Sand Heads.  On the rocks was a loud Sea Lion colony.

Sea Lions on the RocksSea Lion Collection

Sea LionsTide Pool

600 Lb Tattoo

The rocks end with the Sandheads Lighthouse.   I'm told this light house has been around since 1884 which is pretty old for Vancouver standards.

Sandheads Lighthouse

After leaving the Fraser, we headed out across the straight to the Gulf Islands.  We entered the Gulf Islands at the Belle Chain Islets, a long row of islands of the coast of Samuel Island - between Mayne and Saturna.  These islands are just above sea level and I can imagine the waters around would have lots of great places for fish to hide.  The chain started with seals lying on the rocks and ended with another colony of Sea Lions.

Seals on Belle IslandsSea Lions on RocksSea Lions Diving In

After the Belle Chain Islets, the boat sailed up to Reef Harbour, between Tumbo and Island and Cabbage Island.  Because the boat is pretty big (>66 feet), and so heavy, it has to lay anchor in a large harbor. Cabbage Island is a marine park so the island is in pretty pristine state.

Cabbage Island

We took the Zodiak in and took a walk around the shore line.  The island is composed of the soft sandstone you see so often in the Gulf Islands.  Peter pointed our a shell midden, apparently a place where natives in the past would leave their shells.  As we walked around the island we looked in on various tide pools.

Shell'sOn ShoreTide Pool

Where the shore met the island there are grassy fields with flowers.
White Fawn Lilys OpenDiane Taking PicturesChocolate Lily - Fritillaria lanceolata

Having circumnavigating the island we returned to the boat.

Curve of Time in Bay

After a short time on the boat, we got back in the Zodiak and headed for Tumbo Island.  Tumbo is the larger island of the two and we only walked around a small part of the north end.  Tumbo is taller so there is more of forest on the island.
Zodiak RideWeathered RockGulf Island ForestPeter Shooting

Mossy FlowersRed-Flowering Currant - Ribes sanguineum

We returned to ship for a great dinner and watched the sun set.  That evening we reminisced about knowing which stars formed which constellations.

Sunset by Cabbage Island

The next morning we traveled to Saturna Island.  Saturna Island is the last of the BC Ferries serviced Gulf Island I had yet to visit, so standing on shore was somewhat a victory for me.  We parked the boat in Narvaez bay on the eastern side of the island and took the zodiak into shore.  We landed at the site of an old (and now abandoned homestead) with large fields and great access to small bay.  The shore was composed of pebbles, many of them colorful so we stopped and collected for a while.

Field on SaturnaPat and JanSaturna

After Saturna, we crossed the channel to see the Lighthouse on Stuart Island in the American San Juan island chain.  The trip lasted a few hours so there was time to make lunch and sit around on deck.

Crossing by San Juan IslandsSan Juan Lighthouse

From here we traveled back to Pender Island looking for Dals Porpoises.  These porpoises are some of the fastest marine mammals out there (probably have to be to avoid being Orca lunch) and they like to ride the bow waves of fast moving ships.  Unfortunately, we didn't see any (for more than a few seconds).  After crossing back into Canada, we arrived in Bedwell Harbour on South Pender Island.  After a short hike around on the island, we went back to the ship for dinner.

Mike on Pender Island

That evening we watched the sunset.

Sailboat before SunsetBedwell HarbourBedwell Harbour Past Sunset

Boat at Night

The next morning we awoke in Montegue Harbor!  Jan had woken up well before us and drove the boat into the beautiful harbour on Galiano Island.  (The trip probably lasted a few hours - of course I was sleeping).  After breakfast we boarded Kayaks and the Zodiak and went into shore.

Curve of Time in Montegue HarborMarnie and Diane Loading into a KayakMarnie and Diane Kayaking

There is a marine park (and campground) at Montegue Harbour, and the walk around the peninsula is beautiful.  We landed on a great shell beach and kept the Ocean over our shoulder for the whole walk.

Shell BeachArbutus over Shell Beach

As we walked around the Island, Peter was nice enough to point out local wildlife highlights, scenic vistas and other reasons to take our time.  Where the peninsula is most narrow there is a saltwater marsh that fills and empties with the tidal cycles.  We skipped across the outflow to complete our hike.

Peter in the ForestFungusSaltwater Marsh

And then all to soon, it was time to go home!  We got back on the ship (It was finally my turn to make lunch - Pizza) and headed back for Vancouver.  The long trip (it took about 5 hours) is like going through a compression chamber - first the isolation of crossing the straight, followed by the increasing inclusion of man made city artifacts.  Eventually we make our way to dock and we make promises to see everyone again.




Chocolate Lily - Fritillaria lanceolata
Species: Fritillaria affinis (checker lily)
Tags: flower
That first step is a little rough
Field on Saturna
Tags: field, gulf island
Gulf Island Forest
Tags: forest, gulf island
Bedwell Harbour
Tags: sunset
Eagle Soaring
Species: Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Bald Eagle)
Tags: bird
Sea Lions on the Rocks
Species: Eumetopias jubatus (northern sea lion, steller sea lion)
Location: Go To...
Tags: BC fauna, marine mammal
Sea Lions Diving In
Tags: BC fauna, marine mammal
Marnie and Diane Kayaking
Tags: gulf island, kayaking
Diane Taking Pictures
Cabbage Island
Tags: sign
San Juan Lighthouse
Location: Go To...
Tags: lighthouse
Mossy Flowers
Tags: flower
Arbutus over Shell Beach
Species: Arbutus menziesii (Arbutus)
Tags: beach, shell, tree
Seals on Belle Islands
Species: Phoca vitulina (Harbor Seal)
Tags: BC fauna, marine mammal
Peter Shooting
Curve of Time in Dock
Tags: boat
Sunset by Cabbage Island
Tags: sunset
Shell Beach
Tags: beach, shell
Sea Lion Collection
Species: Eumetopias jubatus (northern sea lion, steller sea lion)
Tags: BC fauna, marine mammal
Boat at Night
Tags: boat
Saltwater Marsh
Location: Go To...
Tags: beach
The rear deck of the ship
Tags: boat, flag
Jan Looking Out
On Shore
Tags: beach, gulf island
White Fawn Lilys Open
Species: Erythronium oregonum (White Fawnlily)
Tags: flower
Marnie and Diane Loading into a Kayak
Tags: kayaking, wave
Sea Lions
Species: Eumetopias jubatus (northern sea lion, steller sea lion)
Tags: BC fauna, marine mammal
Shell's
Tags: shell
600 Lb Tattoo
Tags: BC fauna
Curve of Time in Montegue Harbor
Tags: boat
Crossing by San Juan Islands
Tags: boat, kayaking
Fungus
Species: Fomitopsis pinicola (Red-belted Polypore)
Tags: mushroom
Mike on Pender Island
Car Transport
Tags: boat, freighter
Weathered Rock
Location: Go To...
Tags: rock
Peter in the Forest
Tide Pool
Tags: sea star, tide pool
Sea Lions on Rocks
Species: Eumetopias jubatus (northern sea lion, steller sea lion)
Tags: BC fauna, marine mammal
Pat and Jan
Tags: kayaking
Zodiak Ride
Sailboat before Sunset
Tags: boat, sailboat
Bedwell Harbour Past Sunset
Tags: boat
Saturna
Location: Go To...
Tags: beach, gulf island
Red-Flowering Currant - Ribes sanguineum
Species: Ribes sanguineum (Redflower Currant)
Tags: flower
Tide Pool
Tags: sea star, tide pool
Sandheads Lighthouse
Location: Go To...
Tags: lighthouse
Bald Eagles
Species: Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Bald Eagle)
Tags: BC fauna, bird
Curve of Time in Bay
Location: Go To...
Tags: coast, gulf island
Tags: boat(8), BC fauna(8), marine mammal(6), gulf island(6), beach(5), flower(4)
From: John Harvey Photo > John Harvey Photo - Gulf Islands Photo Cruise
From: John Harvey Photo > John Harvey Photo - Gulf Islands Photo Cruise
From: John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > John Harvey Photo - Gulf Islands Photo Cruise

Cool!! I want to go to vancouver now. Bumped into your site when checking if google would find my silly Swedish page for 'kayak trips john'. Cheers! John
john
Sunday, May 6th, 2007 at 03:07:52

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