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Closer to the Ocean: Gulf Islands

5 Things to bring you #CloserToTheOcean (and best time to see whales off the BC coast!)


5 Things to bring you #CloserToTheOcean, and the best time to see whales off the BC coast! If you're looking for an ocean adventure, the Gulf Islands are the perfect destination. With their stunning coastal scenery and abundant wildlife, these islands offer plenty of opportunities to connect with nature. Whether you're into kayaking, hiking, or just relaxing on the beach, there's something for everyone. And if you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of some majestic whales swimming by. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to explore the beautiful Gulf Islands.


1. To Explore:


Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is a Canadian national park located on fifteen islands, numerous islets and reefs in the southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia. The park covers an area of 36 square kilometres and is made up of a series of islands that offer a unique mix of ecosystems, including coastal temperate rainforests, meadows, rocky headlands, and sandy beaches.


The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bald eagles, otters, sea lions, and orcas, and it is a popular destination for boating, kayaking, camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Visitors can explore the park's coastal waters and beaches by foot, bike, paddle board or boat, and there are several campsites and picnic areas available for use.


Some of the park's most popular attractions include the hiking trails on Pender Island, the sandstone formations and tide pools on Sidney Island, and the protected bays and coves of Saturna Island. The park also offers interpretive programs and guided tours, as well as opportunities for fishing, crabbing, and clamming.


Thinking of taking on the challenge of a unique adventure? Join Pam on a Paddleboard guided tour of the Gulf Islands.



2. To Watch:

Are you headed to the majestic Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and looking for ways to make the most of your experience? Then it's time to get out on the water and explore! Hike to a look out point or paddle your way to open water as the Gulf Islands are known for regular whale sightings. If you are planning on whale watching in the summer months, you can get you some of the best viewing spots which are scattered around the Southern Gulf Island shores.


East Point, Saturna Island, is renowned as one of the very best sites for spotting orcas along Canada's west coast - visitors can easily get a glimpse of these majestic creatures from land. Saturna Island has a campground called ​​Narvaez Bay Campsite where you can sleep and try to catch the sunrise with the passing whales. Looking for more camping spots around the Guld Islands? Check out the blog about the Best Places to Camp in the Gulf Islands. The best time to whale watch is between May and October. Pacific Gray Whales can also be spotted around these waters during their annual migration north along Vancouver Island in March and April. If you're feeling adventurous, jump on board a boat or head to the Gulf Islands with your binoculars to really take in the scene.


It doesn't matter whether you're an experienced observer or a wildlife enthusiast - it’s exciting to spot whales off the coast of the Gulf Islands! So don't hesitate any longer – come join us for thrilling adventures that will be lasting memories!




3. To Hike:

On Our Best Hiking in Gulf Islands blog, we cover 11 popular hiking spots. Capture breathtaking views of the surround islands and waterways by summiting mountains or breath in calm and tranquility by walk along the beaches in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. From Galiano, Portland, Wallace, Salt Spring, Saturna, Pender and Mayne Islands visitors can enjoy all the senses by hiking on these unique islands! To Find Out More about Hiking in the Gulf Islands, click here.


4. To Paddle:


Discover the natural beauty of British Columbia's Gulf Islands, from well-known Salt Spring Island to hidden gems like Saturna and Wallace. With Blue Jellyfish SUP Adventures, you can start exploring these islands just 15 minutes from Victoria International Airport. For those looking to venture further, BC Ferries offers a Walk-on, Paddle-off program with departures from Swartz Bay ferry terminal. To reach launch points on Mayne Island or Canoe Cove, Gulf Island Ferries can provide transportation. Rent a car or bring a soft rack to transport your watercraft conveniently between the islands. Check out our mapped Gulf Islands Paddle routes to discover the most popular spots for paddleboarding.




5. To Understand:

The Gulf Islands of British Columbia are some of the most unique and diverse ecosystems in Canada. From Gulf Islands marine life like whales, types of jellyfish to small crustaceans and mollusks, the area is home to a wide range of wildlife. Marine mollusks are an important part of this ecosystem, as they provide shelter for other sea creatures and play an essential role in food webs by acting as both predators and prey.


Common marine mollusks found in these islands include moon snails, slipper snails, limpet shells, oysters, mussels, scallops, abalone shells and more. These mollusks come in a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from tiny blue-eyed limpets to large Pacific oysters that can reach up to 9 inches!




So if you're interested in learning more about the incredible wildlife of these stunning Gulf Islands then keep your eyes peeled for one of Blue Jelllyfish Adventure Paddles to the Gulf Islands.


The Gulf Islands offer a fantastic opportunity to get closer to the ocean and witness the magnificent creatures that call it home. By bringing along the essential items mentioned above and visiting during the prime whale watching season, visitors can maximize their chances of having an unforgettable experience. Whether you are an avid nature enthusiast or simply looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the Gulf Islands are definitely worth exploring. So, pack your bags, head to the coast, and prepare to be amazed by the wonders of the ocean.




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