Gulf Islands sailing and boating — great scenery, destinations

For those who can’t resist the call of the sea, there is no place better to explore their passions than the waters of the Gulf Islands. Gulf Islands sailing and boating are popular because the islands are recognized as one of the finest cruising areas in the world. The area presents nautical challenges, interesting geographic features and all the necessary amenities.

Roger Kibble, the skipper of a 33-foot Danish racing boat who has sailed local waters for over 35 years, says year-round accessibility is one of the many attractions delighting sailors and other boaters from across the globe.

“The weather conditions are always interesting, various and challenging with the wind coming from all directions, but the conditions are benign and the waves are fairly flat,” Kibble notes.

Nautical challenges that make the boating experience exciting include rocks, currents, fogs, traffic and puzzling navigation. But the rewards go beyond a mere sharpening of skills, as Kibble points out.

“This is an area of the most spectacular scenery — and there’s lots of room for boats,” Kibble says.

“There are endless islands, trips and locations to go to. You could spend your whole life here sailing almost constantly and never be unsatisfied.”

The waters around the Gulf Islands are often using as training grounds for sailors, and are home to select regattas and racing events hosted by the Salt Spring Island Sailing Club. A highlight of the Gulf Islands sailing season is the annual Round Salt Spring Race, held on the May long weekend, which regularly attracts participants from all over the Pacific coast.

A number of individuals and marine-service companies offer guided boat trips for those wanting to try their luck at fishing, and fishing licences can be acquired through the fisheries department’s website at www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

Sailing charters and marine wildlife tours are also available on several of the Gulf Islands.

 — Elizabeth Nolan

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