Saturna Island Touring

Bicycle Touring 

859 words

Title: Saturna Island Touring; by Terry Connellan

A Human Powered Weekend, Saturna Island Style. 

Most people prefer the Canadian Gulf Islands to the 
American San Juans, and to those perceptive souls 
Saturna is the island that gets them all dreamy eyed. 

In preparation for this trip; The Gulf Islands Explorer; 
by Bruce Obee, and Mary Ann Snowden's wonderful, 
Island Paddling 2ed, will broaden your knowledge 
and heighten your expectations. 
           
Less settled than the urbanized Saltspring, and 
harder to get to than most, Saturna has been 
avoided by Human Powered Tourers (backpack, 
bicycle, and kayak) in the past because of its 
absence of accommodation and campsites. 

This is no longer true and I've selected a combination 
of Bed & Breakfast, Lodge, and two restricted 
campsites, together with some wonderful sightseeing 
to give you a perfect Saturna weekend. 
           
Fridays favoured ferry from Swartz Bay (Victoria)is the 
4:15 PM, or the slow 6:10 PM, and from Tsawwassen 
Vancouver)the 7:10 PM. 

Monday mornings 7:00 AM ferry arrives back at Swartz 
Bay at 9:10 AM, or Tsawwassen at 9:25 AM. Note; 
times change June 25, with the summer schedule. 
           
I like to come off the 4:15 ferry on friday just in time 
for the supper special at the Lighthouse Pub. The 
last one I had was lasagna with caesar salad and 
garlic bread, on the deck watching the ferry fade away 
to the west. If you are kayaking, or biking you can 
leave your "transporters" in sight on the dock while 
you dine, then launch and go. 
           
Saturna Islanders are properly paranoid about fire 
so if you're camping overnight it's zero-impact 
camping. No fires, pack out everything you pack 
in, and take everything with you in the morning even 
if you are returning that evening. 

Winter Cove Marine Park has tables, drinking water, 
toilets, fire pits and garbage cans. Use the first three, 
but not the last two. Put your tent in an unobtrusive 
corner, overnight only, and you won't be bothered. 
           
The generosity of the Tsawout Band allows us to camp 
at Fiddlers Cove. It is not necessary to get advance 
permission, but you must practice zero-impact camping. 

Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints, 
make yours a pristine presence. 

Fiddlers Cove is easy to get to by kayak, hikers and 
cyclists must use a trail the leads to the right off the end 
of Fiddlers Rd., south of Cliffside Rd., from East Point 
Road. It is possible to hike the steep trail down to the 
beach, but the more spectacular views are from any 
one of a dozen campsites at cliff top. 
           
If you like to be spoiled, Poppy Hill Farm B&B with its 
homey atmosphere at $50 plus includes a delicious, 
full breakfast complete with Janets special muffins, 
and home made jams. 

A fascinating alternative, at $40-$55.00, is Breezy Bay 
B&B located on the historic Payne farm. The ambiance 
here is so laid back it makes everywhere else you've 
ever stayed seem frantic by comparison, and the 
breakfast selection is "60's and cyclist sized". 
           
At the top of the scale is Boot Cove Lodge. This is the 
third re-incarnation of the lodge that I've experienced and 
it just gets better. The luxuriously appointed rooms are $90-
$140, including a special breakfast, and the silent hours 
begin at 11PM. The spacious dining room is flanked on 
two sides by a wide deck with tables for outdoor dining. 
           
For your hiking, biking, and kayaking adventures, any of 
your hosts will pack a picnic lunch for a small cost. A good 
saturday tour is along East Point Road for 13 kms to the 
lighthouse and down to the beach facing Tumbo Island. On the 
way is the kilometer long "missing link" a 15% grade that is 
easier coming back, trust me. 

Back down at sea level the trees along the road remind 
us of Vancouver Islands "Cathedral Grove", and deer 
sightings are plentiful. Above, eagles and every other 
native bird abound and on nearby Cliffside Rd. is a wildlife 
sanctuary. 

East Point Lighthouse beach is perfect for snorkeling, 
whale watching, reading, dreaming, for this is Saturna 
and monday seems so far away. If you are staying 
at Fiddlers Cove make sure you pack in sufficient fresh 
water, and allow  enough time to set up camp 
before sundown. 
           
Sundays bike or hike is perhaps best done late in the day 
to take in, and photograph, the spectacular sunset from the 
top of Mount Warburton Pike. By way of Narvaez Bay, 
Harris, and Staples roads, it is a 4km climb at an average 
of 12% to reach the 490m peak, but it's well worth it. If you 
don't have a BLT light system or its equal on your bike 
leave enough time to come down safely in the twilight. 
           
The Haggis Farm Bakery on Narvaez Bay Rd.,is a 
worthwhile short side trip on the way in or out. They mill 
their own flour, and prepare all sorts of delicious 
goodies with strange sounding names. 

The operators of the places I have suggested will 
unselfishly refer you to other equally fine accommodations 
on the island if they are booked up. I have recommended 
these because I am familiar with them, and because 
they are convenient to the ferry. 
         
Enjoy your Saturna time.


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