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Getting Around the Gulf Islands
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Getting Around the Gulf Islands
  Gulf Islands Travel Tip

by Lorry Patton
mayne_bluff_deer.jpg
Walking
If you are in reasonably good shape, using your legs is a great way to explore the Southern Gulf Islands. For one thing, the chances of encountering herds of deer without the racket of a car engine to scare them away are much more likely. There are plenty of country roads to explore and most islanders don't mind hikers cutting through their properties, however, one clever landowner didn't want strangers wandering about his property, so he posted this sign: "TAKE A HIKE ... BUT NOT HERE." So, do be mindful of private driveways that specify to keep out.
Biking
The Southern Gulf Islands are made for bikers and it's not unusual to see dozens of families get off the ferries with bikes in tow. There is very little traffic and lots of paved country roads -- although they could be hilly. There is a small fee for sailing on BC Ferries with your bike.
Private Craft
In the summer months, white sails flutter on the waters around the Southern Gulf Islands like giant swans basking in the sun. Truly, these rocky islands are a boater's haven, both for fishing, exploring the shores or for just relaxing in a tranquil cove. Most islands have docks and harbors where private sailors can drop anchor or tie up to the pier and walk about the islands on foot.
For safety rules and regulations when cruising British Columbia and Canadian waters visit these two websites: http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/obs-bsn/facts/foreign_e.htm and http://www.tourismvictoria.com/Content/EN/205.asp
And if you've always been curious how pleasure boating began click here http://lorrypatton.com/travel/gtips/2436.html
BC Ferries
For those of us who only dream of owning a boat, we depend on BC Ferries to get around the Southern Gulf Islands.
It is possible to explore the islands with BC Ferries by staying on the ship as it makes its regular stops and then returns to its starting port. For example, leaving Swartz Bay at 9:20, the ferry stops at Pender, Mayne, Galiano and Pender before returning to Swartz Bay. This tour takes about 4 hours. You do have the option to disembark and pick up a later ferry to get back, but before starting off on this adventure, please check BC Ferries website (www.bcferries.com) to see if there is another sailing so you don't get stranded. Most islands are serviced at least once a day and usually twice a day.

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