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Pender Island for the May Long Weekend
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Way too many card games, lots of great food

At some point, I'm sure Mark mentioned "I'm bored - what are we doing for the long weekend", and the May Day Long weekend trips were born.  So far, we have visited Tofino (2000), Salt Spring(2001), the Sunshine coast (2002), and this year we added Pender Island.   We've been here before on a camping trip, but this time we decided to rent a cabin.  This year, we managed to get nine people out, which matched the cabin well.

Big Windows

Nine Of Us Playing CardsSitting Around Having BreakfastKitchen Area

We took the 6:30 ferry from Vancouver, and with the weekend traffic it was a bit of a challenge to get there on time.  After the long ride over, it was more than dark when we arrived and navigating to the house was a bit of challenge, but we made it ok.  We settled in, played cards and figured out who was sleeping where.

Selling Bread ThingsSean Trying Kimchi
The next morning we went out to see the Saturday Market on the island. Salt Spring is famous for it's Market, but Pender has been running a market with local artisans for many years as well.

The Wool Shed

The last time we visited Pender, the market was held in the driftwood center (the commercial center of the island), but the market has been moved to the community center, about 5 minuets north of driftwood.  Now, most of the vendors are selling locally produced art, but there is still lots of prepared food and some garden items.

Selling Glass WorksCarved Wood Rocking HorsesYeah Okay

Our next challenge is to get a fish for dinner.  Pender island doesn't have a sea food store (there isn't one on any of the islands so far as I know), but you might be able to get fish at the grocery store.  Passing through driftwood, we noticed a sign saying a fish boat was moored at Hope Bay.

Sean On WharfSome Salmon Some Scallops
Hope Bay is a government dock (you can barely see the red hand rails), and three ships were docked, two selling fish.  We found an appropriate sized salmon, and the boat was also selling scallops.  Sean couldn't resist, so we purchased a bag of scallops as well.

Hope Bay Government Dock

We got back to the house, fish in the back, and Mark made a great lunch.  David and I went for a walk below the house in Shingle Bay.  The bay is large and shallow and with the tide out it's all mud.  The northern edge of the bay borders on the new Pacific Marine Heritage Legacy Park, and strolling along the beach we found lots of interesting plants.

  David Overlooking Shingle BayArbutus Branch Over BeachCommon Red Paintbrush
Broad-Leaved StonecropDeer Jawbone On Beach

Sean Cutting Quiche
Back at the house, I had a good afternoon nap, and woke up in time to see Sean cooking dinner. Sean's dinner plans were vast - two quiches (mushroom), salmon, and scallops.  The salmon was particularly interesting - Sean wanted to burry the fish in coarse salt, and then bake the fish in the oven.  The steam coming from the salmon would cause the salt to form a solid crust and keep the additional heat in.   When the fish came out of the oven, we had a solid crust.  The salt crust had stuck the the skin in places, but tapping the crust with a fork made it disintegrate.

I didn't actually eat the salmon or scallops, but everyone seemed happy when dinner was done.

Scallops Steaming In PotFish Buried In SaltCrusted Salt On Salmon

Lots of cards, lots of reading and a number of good games of ping pong and we were done for the night.


By Sunday morning, I was done resting and up for a little hiking. After Jer's great crepe breakfast, David, Sean and I walked down the road to a trail David and I spotted the night before.

David On Log
The trail turned out to be entrance to Pacific Marine Heritage Legacy Park, the new national park in the Gulf Islands. We hiked up the steep trail (with no map) and found a small marsh and large lake. I later found out that lake is called Roe Lake.

Log In Roe LakeRoe Lake

The trails were of varying sizes - the trail up looks to be the remains of a logging road, and while steep, was in good condition.  Further in, the trails narrowed to a frequently used walking trail.  Signs or a map would have been good (by the time we determined we had looped, our stack was about 6 forks deep), but later looking at map, we really couldn't have gotten that lost.

Scotch BroomTrail Through ForestRed Columbine
My favorite part of the hike was just at the end of loop.  The forest was very quiet, but moist for Island standards.  This park really is a treasure.

Robin Egg Shell On Moss
We came back for Lunch - Thao treated us to stuffed pears, greens and angel hair pasta with a light oil dressing - very good.  The rest of our party was interested in hiking by this point so we took on another challenge - Mount Norman.
Mount Norman Park Sign

Mount Norman Regional Park may become part of the new Gulf Islands National Park Reserve - the same park system (but physically disjoint) as the park that has Roe lake in it.  Mount Norman is the highest point on the Pender Islands, but the wide road (we could have driven to the top if there wasn't a gate) made the hike easy.

Us At View

The view is spectacular.  This view is a bit distorted (it's about 180 degrees), but it gives you a sense of what you can see.  The large bay in front is called Bedwell Harbour - it actually separates North and South Penders.  The land behind it is part of North Pender Island.  The largest island close by (center of the frame) is Moresby Island - separated from here by the Swanson Channel.   The next island to the right is Portland Island - we once camped there. The higher land right of Portland is Vancouver Island.

View From Mount Norman

Coming down from that, it was soon dinner time.  After dinner was cleaned up, I wanted to find some place to get a good view of sunset.  David and I spotted a place the night before, but it turned out the sun set just out of view, so we had to move on. 
Breakwater At Thieves Bay
We got to Thieves bay just as the sun was dropping below the horizon, so it was a bit rushed, but beautiful to watch.  What a great way to end a day.

Sunset Over Thieves Bay


All great things must come to and end, and so did our stay.  We cleaned up, packed up (Did all this gear really come with us?), and tried to figure out what to do with the afternoon.

Packing Up To Go

The first order of business was lunch.  It was Stephen's turn and he packed a picnic lunch.  Figuring a good bit of Park for a lunch only required thinking back to last night - Thieves bay has picnic tables, beach access and a nice bit lawn for playing Frisbee.

Lunch In Thieves BayJesse Threw DiscJin In A Field Of DaisiesJesse And Jin Playing

Our ferry left at 7:30 so we got to watch the sun go down as we pulled out of the islands.  A good weekend had by all.

David Taking Photos As We Leave

Us At View
Person: David, Jesse, Jin, John, Mark, Sean, Stephen
David Taking Photos As We Leave
Person: David
Tags: camera gear, ferry, gulf island, sunset
Packing Up To Go
Tags: packing gear
David Overlooking Shingle Bay
Tags: beach, gulf island
Log In Roe Lake
Tags: lake, reflection
David On Log
Person: David
Tags: gulf island, lake, reflection
Fish Buried In Salt
Tags: cooking, fish, salt
Hope Bay Government Dock
Tags: boat, government dock, gulf island
Carved Wood Rocking Horses
Tags: gulf island, horse, market
Mount Norman Park Sign
Tags: gulf island, sign
Broad-Leaved Stonecrop
Species: Sedum spathulifolium (Broadleaf Stonecrop)
Location: Go To...
Tags: flower
View From Mount Norman
Location: Go To...
Tags: coast, gulf island, twin
Red Columbine
Species: Aquilegia formosa (Red Columbine, Western Columbine)
Tags: flower, gulf island
Sean On Wharf
Tags: boat, government dock, gulf island
Kitchen Area
Person: David
Tags: gulf island, place to stay
Jin In A Field Of Daisies
Person: Jin
Tags: field, flowers
Crusted Salt On Salmon
Tags: cooking, fish, salt, seafood
Selling Bread Things
Tags: bread, gulf island, market
Arbutus Branch Over Beach
Species: Arbutus menziesii (Arbutus)
Tags: beach, tree
Sean Cutting Quiche
Person: Sean
Tags: cooking
Some Salmon Some Scallops
Tags: fish, gulf island, seafood, shopping
The Wool Shed
Tags: gulf island, market, textiles
Jesse And Jin Playing
Person: Jin, Jesse
Tags: field, game
Breakwater At Thieves Bay
Tags: beach, silhouette, sunset
Scallops Steaming In Pot
Tags: cooking
Common Red Paintbrush
Species: Castilleja miniata (Giant Red Indian Paintbrush)
Tags: plant
Sunset Over Thieves Bay
Tags: gulf island, marina, silhouette, sunset
Big Windows
Location: Go To...
Tags: gulf island, place to stay
Sitting Around Having Breakfast
Sean Trying Kimchi
Person: Sean
Tags: gulf island, market
Selling Glass Works
Tags: gulf island, market
Nine Of Us Playing Cards
Tags: game, gulf island
Roe Lake
Location: Go To...
Tags: lake
Robin Egg Shell On Moss
Tags: moss
Lunch In Thieves Bay
Yeah Okay
Tags: gulf island, market
Deer Jawbone On Beach
Tags: beach, bone
Jesse Threw Disc
Person: Jesse
Tags: field, game, gulf island
Trail Through Forest
Tags: forest, trail
Scotch Broom
Species: Cytisus scoparius (Scotch broom)
Tags: flower, invasive
Tags: gulf island(20), market(6), beach(4), cooking(4), Do Not Tag(4), flower(3)
People: David(4), Sean(3), Jesse(3), Jin(3), John(1), Mark(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Pender Island for the May Long Weekend
From: John Harvey Photo > Pender Island for the May Long Weekend
From: John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > Pender Island for the May Long Weekend

Pender Island is beautiful, happen to catch any baseball games going on in the only field on the island?
Elliot Logan
Tuesday, February 26th, 2008 at 12:48:38

Love your exquisite photography! Maybe you would submit one or two to PenderBlog (with credits of course). Glad you enjoyed your visit to the island. Come back and try kayaking - Jocko.
Monday, March 10th, 2008 at 23:54:48

I live on Shingle Bay., rigt across from the park you enjoyed. I think your pictures are very good. Glad you enjoyed your visit, next time you should try out the disc Golf course. It's free! kayaking is great fun ,too.
Saturday, March 22nd, 2008 at 17:20:39

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