A Three Hour Tour
We are really enjoying our summer up here in Campbell River, BC while RVing Vancouver Island. The weather has been outstanding with plentiful sunshine and warm balmy conditions. One of the main reasons we decided to spend July and August here at Thunderbird RV Park is the proximity to the ocean and several marinas. My wife Anne has a small 17.5 foot runabout boat (Arima Sea Chaser) named “Snoopy”. She loves to get out on the water every chance she gets and explore the local scenery and wildlife. Me? I can take it or leave it. I love my land yacht the Cougar Fifth Wheel. But every once in a while I get the urge to join her and take a cruise on “Snoopy”.
After hearing her many stories of beautiful scenery and encounters with wildlife like a school of Pacific White-Sided dolphins I decided to hit the waves with her on a recent warm sunny evening. We grabbed our beagle Angie, who is a pretty good little boat dog and headed to the nearby marina where “Snoopy” is moored. The marina is called the Discovery Harbour Marina and is always a hive of activity. There are many charter fishing boats for folks who want to try and land a big salmon or wildlife tours to see whales and even grizzly bears! The marina is also home to a pretty large commercial fishing fleet, all kind of working boats and numerous private pleasure craft. All along the marina’s waterfront there is a wide walkway and several restaurants to take in the action and atmosphere of the place. The moorage rates are very reasonable, especially compared to what Anne was paying down the island in Sidney last summer.
Evening Cruise Along Discovery Passage
We got our life jackets on, even the beagle and headed out for an evening cruise. One of the perks of being so far north in the summer is the extended daylight where sunset is past 9pm. Once you putter out of the marina your smack dab in the middle of the Discovery Passage, a sort of ocean highway for boats navigating the inside passage of Vancouver Island. You’ll see marine vessels of all shapes and sizes. From tiny row boats and kayaks hugging the shore line to gigantic cruise ships headed for Alaska. You really have to keep your head on a swivel in the passage.
The great thing about boating in these waters is they are chalk full of islands which make for hundreds of neat little bays, inlets, channels and coves to duck into and explore. A highlight is the Desolation Sound Marine Park about an hour and ½ boat trip away. It’s a gorgeous area with calm sheltered waters and amazing views of the BC coastal mountains. Anne was over there a few nights ago and had a visit from a pod of Orca (killer whales) who came right up in front of her and dived right under “Snoopy” and came up the other side. That’ll put your heart in your throat. Another very scenic spot is Cortez Island. This one can actually be accessed by a ferry and if your RV is not too big there is a great provincial park I recommend called Smelt Bay Provincial Park. We camped here in our campervan a few years back and it was fabulous.
Cortes is an island paradise, with beautiful lakes, lagoons, forests, and white sandy beaches. Known for its abundant wildlife, delicious shellfish, and self-sufficient people, Cortes offers visitors a wide variety of things to see and do. The island is situated at the northern end of the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia), on Canada’s west coast, between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland. – http://www.discoveryislands.ca/cortes_island/
Unfortunately it was pretty rough and choppy in the open sections of Discovery Passage so we couldn’t go too far a field in our explorations that night, so we stuck fairly close to Quadra Island and the Campbell River waterfront. We headed over to the very close by Quadra Island and explored along it’s coastline before picking out a spot for dinner. Anne had previously scouted out a great spot and guided us into a calm bay. She cut the engine and we floated peacefully in what is called Gowlland Harbour. While we snacked on fish tacos and sipped on cold beers we laughed at the antics of some fun loving seals splashing and playing in the evening sunlight.
Quadra Island is also reachable by ferry and has several RV parks and camping areas and well worth at least a day trip. One of the prettiest spots on the island is called Rebecca Spit a long narrow spit with a peaceful bay on one side and a panoramic view of the Discovery Islands and coastal mountains on the other. The beach at Rebecca Spit Provincial Park is packed with worn rounded rocks and boulders and tons and tons of driftwood. A paradise for photographers, dog walkers, kayaks and beachcombers.
After a nice dinner and peaceful float she fired up “Snoopy’s” 90 horse power engine again and we headed back to Campbell River to cruise its waterfront as the sun began to set. A focal point of the waterfront district is the Discovery Pier, a long wooden pier jutting out in to the passage. It’s a popular spot for fishing and most evenings sees dozens of people trying there luck at landing the big one. The also have a nice little take out joint serving seafood, sandwiches, wraps and yummy ice cream cones. We spent the last of the evening light puttering around the pier and harbour area watching all the boaters coming into port before heading home ourselves. A great evening all around.
Video with Sights and Sounds of our Evening Cruise
Campbell River Summer 2014 Gallery
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