Learn more about our news and special events, both here at the marina or out and about on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

Riviera Sports Motor Yacht: Long Range and Luxurious

Here is what Riviera has to say about their new 68 & 72 Sports Motor Yachts

Australia’s favorite and most awarded luxury motor yacht builder Riviera is extremely proud of the high level of enthusiasm ahead of the World Premiere of the new, luxurious and long-range Sports Motor Yacht collection in 2017.

This refreshingly distinct style of yachting luxury has been developed in-house by the very talented Riviera design team after extensive consultation with members of the global family of Riviera owners who are seeking to cruise further afield and for extended periods. This process provides a unique insight and understanding of their aspirations for their dream yacht.

What we’ve heard is that our experienced luxury motor yacht owners are wanting to take their boating further afield with true long-range cruising, whilst still being able to fish effectively and enjoy myriad water sports pursuits, including diving, snorkeling and kayaking.

The Sports Motor Yacht collection – comprising two individual models: the 68 and 72 designs – will help luxury motor yacht owners fulfill these dreams, offering the exhilaration of supreme sports performance as well as ingenious interior flexibility with an array of luxury lifestyle features to enhance precious time aboard.

Whilst the specification varies considerably between the 68 and 72 models, the significant design difference is the additional space in the cockpit and mezzanine of the 72 Sports Motor Yacht.

The enthusiasm as we showcase her design confirms that this inspiring new design reflects the extensive ‘wish lists’ of many serious yacht owners.

For more details, click here to visit the Riviera website.

Celebrating Fall at Van Isle Marina

The staff at Van Isle Marina would like to thank all of our guests and visitors for an incredible summer. We will look back on the last few months fondly as we recall all the wonderful new, and returning guests and all the great memories. We are already counting down the days until the summer boating season  begins again.

Here at the Marina the telltale signs of Fall have arrived in full force; crisp mornings, trees fading into red, and quieter weekends.
While some of our wonderful guests have already headed home for the season, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy your boat and the beautiful fall weather! Pack a few extra sweaters and perhaps a raincoat and you will be ready to go.

Throughout the Gulf Islands and lower Vancouver Island, there are many fall events to look forward to, so we have complied a list of our favourite events.

Harvest Grape Stomp at Saltspring Vineyards
In the heart of Saltspring Island is located Saltspring Vineyards; a vibrant establishment with a wonderful annual tradition… grape stomping! The public is invited to join in on an afternoon of grape-related competitions, live music, food, and of course wine! Admission is free.
The farm is located at 151 Lee Road, Saltspring Island, BC

Vancouver Island Corn Maze at Pendray Farms
Located in North Saanich, just minutes away from the Marina, is one of Canada’s largest corn mazes! This maze contains over 10 km of trails, on 14 acres of corn. This maze is family friendly, and is available during the day or night! It is highly recommended that you wear a pair of waterproof boots and your foul-weather gear! Click here to visit their website.

Galiano Saturday Market
Running through until October 7th, Galiano Island is running their Saturday Market on Lion’s Field form 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. These markets showcase local arts and crafts, food, drink, and produce.


Pumpkin Picking on Salt Spring Island
Nothing says “fall” quite liking wandering down the rows of pumpkins, trying to find the perfect one for carving! Bon Acre Farms on Saltspring Island provides the perfect fall experience for you and your crew.

We wish you a happy, healthy and fulfilling Fall!

Moorage Available at Van Isle Marina

Van Isle Marina in Sidney, BC has moorage available! Call us at 250.656.1138, send an email to info@vanislemarina.com or stop by in person from 8 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Saturday.

Among Van Isle Marina’s many services, the helpful fuel dock crew provides full service including assistance with dock lines.  We have ample complimentary parking with the option to reserve a specific parking space on an annual basis.  Additionally, the marina has complimentary wireless internet, bicycles, water, garbage & recycling.

The marina is located minutes from the Victoria International Airport, BC Ferries – Swartz Bay Terminal, and the Anacortes Ferry. For your convenience, Van Isle Marina is a Canada Customs port of entry.

We are passionate about providing excellence and value in every aspect of your marina experience. Our services are designed to enhance the relaxation and fun of your boating lifestyle and to leave you free to enjoy cruising the coast. Click here to view our videos of the Van Isle Marina experience.

Contact us today to secure moorage!

Seal Pup Born at Van Isle Marina

Each summer, Van Isle Marina is proud to welcome hundreds of nightly moorage guests to our docks, with this summer being no exception!

On Friday, July 28, both Marina staff and guests were pleasantly surprised to find a couple of visitors at the marina, who certainly did not call ahead to reserve a berth…a new-born harbour seal, and its mother on D dock!

The pup spent multiple hours on the dock building up courage to jump in the water, while it’s mother patiently swam circles whilst keeping a watchful eye on the ever-growing group of spectators.

Due to fears of dehydration or malnutrition, Marina staff made a call to the Marine Mammal Rescue Center in Vancouver to get some advice and assistance. The Rescue Center advised that the pup needed to be placed in the water immediately, by all humane means necessary. This included: loud clapping, yelling, and slowly approaching of the seal, with no prevail. Eventually with the help of a nearby hose (and our complimentary water!) the pup was gently coaxed into the water and received much needed nutrition, shelter from the beating sun, and swimming lessons from mom by our Yacht Sales Dock.

Van Isle Marina appreciates the assistance of guests who maintained a respectful distance, and would like to thank the Marine Mammal Rescue Center for their advice during this time.

For additional information about the Marine Mammal Rescue Center, or if there is a marine mammal in distress, the Rescue Center can be reached through their website: https://www.vanaqua.org/act/direct-action/marine-mammal-rescue/contact

Riviera Experience & Rendezvous at Roche Harbor

In honour of the ever important, throwback Thursday, we have put together a few photos from the 2017 Riviera Experience & Rendezvous held in Roche Harbor on San Juan Island from June 9-11. There was delicious food, games, laughing, dancing, fantastic drinks and even the weather turned out beautiful.

Friday night began at picturesque Shipwreck Beach with a potluck dinner complete with King crab legs and beverages. Dinner was followed by live music at sunset around the fire pit and smores to top off an already perfect evening.

The smell of fresh, warm doughnuts, coffee and mimosas set the tone on Saturday morning. The afternoon was filled with games, boat hopping and exploring the shops of beautiful Roche Harbor. Saturday evening was the costume contest, the theme was Superheroes and Villains and the costumes did not disappoint. We saw Cruella de Vil and her puppies, Mr. & Mrs. Incredible and too many awesome Batmans to count.

All in all it was a fabulous three days at Roche Harbor with a turnout of 40 Rivieras of all shapes and sizes!

A Handful of the Riviera Yachts on Display

The Historic Hotel de Haro

Our Big and Beautiful Riviera Flag

Looking Back at the Docks from Shipwreck Beach

Great Drinks and Great Company

Live Music at Sunset

Good Times Around the Fire Pit

Some Amazing Dishes from the Catered Dinner

Canine Costume Contest Competitors

Mr. Incredible Hyping Up the Crowd

The Unbelievable Magician

A Flabbergasted Crowd

Mrs. Incredible, Cruella and her Main Puppy

A Stunning Sunset to End an Unforgettable Weekend

Courtesy Bikes Available at Van Isle Marina

Van Isle Marina now offers Courtesy Bikes for our moorage and storage guests. There are four bikes available to sign out at the front desk for quick runs into Sidney, exploring the Saanich Peninsula or even day trips. Here is a list of some fun places around the area to check out by bike! Click on the locations for directions.

The Fickle Fig: Year-round farmers’ market, bakery, and bistro, featuring seasonable, sustainable, local and organic farm produce and products from the peninsula.

Coles Bay: Coles Bay offers a gentle swimming beach, and forest trails suitable for the whole family. Follow either the Beach Trail or the Nature Trail on a 10 minute stroll from the main parking lot to the beach. Have lunch at accessible picnic tables in the grassy picnic area near the parking lot, or at the beach.

Roost – Farm Bakery & Vineyard Bistro: Situated in the heart of North Saanich’s pastoral landscape, the focus is on local food and wine, and sustainability. The Roost roosts on 10 acres of farmland where they grow many items used to produce the food they proudly serve. The wheat grown and milled on-site is used to bake breads fresh daily. The blueberries, sheep, and a unique vineyard, all add to the authentic experience.

Sea Cider: Centrally located off Central Saanich Road, Sea Cider is inviting all two-wheeled adventurers to stop in for refreshment. Open daily for tours and tastings from 11 am to 4 pm. They currently have a Cyclist Special where you can order a Short Flight for $9 and receive an additional complimentary sample. All visitors will also receive wholesale pricing on all cider bottles without any required minimum order or tasting.

Galloping Goose Regional Trail: This picturesque multi-use trail, formerly a railway line, moves through urban, rural and wilderness scenery on its 55 kilometre journey from Victoria to Sooke. You can cycle, stroll, run, or even ride a horse through the rural sections. Whether you’re commuting to work, meandering on a weekend afternoon or pacing yourself from Sidney to Sooke, the trail is yours to enjoy.

Victoria Distillers: Located on the water in beautiful downtown Sidney, visitors are guided through the entire distillation process and around two gleaming copper pot stills.  From selecting the botanicals, to the blending and bottling, to the hand-numbering of each small batch, every step is a labour of love.  Come for an intimate look in one of BC’s finest artisan distilleries.  Following a tour, visitors are invited to taste a selection of our premium spirits neat. They hold daily tours on the hour from 12-4pm. Tours cost $7 for adults and are free for children under 19. They last approximately 45 minutes. Drop-ins are welcome or secure your spot by booking by phone at 250.544.8217.

Horth Hill Regional Park: Enjoy a vigorous climb through varied forest communities on one of several trails in this 36-hectare hilltop park. Rich in native plants and mushrooms, every season boasts a charming display for nature lovers. For spectacular ocean views and open sky, follow the summit trail and take in panoramic views of the Saanich Peninsula, Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands.

The Flight Path at Victoria Airport: Located around the perimeter of the pastoral Victoria International Airport, enjoy a bike, hike or stroll and enjoy the natural beauty of the Saanich Peninsula. The Flight Path is punctuated with intriguing pit stops, complete with interesting feature signs. It’s an educating experience about the various historical significance of the airport and its surrounding land!

Jespersen Building Demolition

It’s the end of an era. On Wednesday, May 31st the demolition of the old Jespersen Boat Builders building at the top of A Dock began. Taking the first bittersweet swing with the excavator was Bent Jespersen’s granddaughter and Eric Jespersen’s daughter, Emma Jespersen, Van Isle Marina’s Moorage Coordinator. Since then Draycor Construction has been working tirelessly to remove the tin, pilings and wood, and fill the hole with large boulders. What’s next for the area at the top of A Dock? Over the next few weeks we will be landscaping and creating a green space for all marina guests to enjoy. This demolition is only one of the exciting improvements to come at Van Isle Marina. We are revitalizing the South Island Marine building, as well as gearing up to build some new boathouses and slips from 25 to 35 feet. Stay tuned for further exciting updates!

Things to Do: May Long Weekend 2017

Technically, Summer officially arrives on June 21, but the Victoria Day long weekend is often pegged as the unofficial ‘start of summer’. While some people will head out on the boat, others will be in town hanging out on the patio or enjoying local events. If you are out and about for the May Long Weekend, below is a list of what’s going on around Sidney and Victoria.

Speaking of the start of summer, the Van Isle Marina Fuel Dock will be transitioning to our summer hours on Friday, May 19. This means they will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for all your fueling, marine store and pump out needs!

Thursday, May 18: Although the long weekend doesn’t start until the end of the day on Friday, May 19 we figured that opening day of the Sidney Street Market was worth mentioning. Every Thursday night from May until August, Sidney’s main street, Beacon Avenue, is closed to traffic and transformed into one of the most spectacular, festive street markets in British Columbia. With over 150 vendors offering everything from locally grown produce, handmade jewelry by local artisans, one of a kind clothing, toys, flowers, handmade soaps, home-made bread, jams, fudge and so much more; there is something for everyone in family!

Sidney Street Market

Friday, May 19: Bring the family for a fun-filled weekend at the Luxton Spring Fair. Enjoy antique farm equipment, a heritage museum, VI Blacksmith, vendor booths, and West Coast Amusements Carnival Midway Rides! The fair starts up on Friday from 3 pm – 11 pm at the Luxton Fairgrounds.

Saturday, May 20: The Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival  happens every year at Topaz Park from May 20 to May 22. Events occur for a full week prior to the Games & Celtic Festival to enable a 10 day celebration of Scottish and Celtic arts, music and sport kicking off with the Tartan Parade through downtown Victoria the Saturday prior to the Games weekend and including the Kilted Golf Tournament, Tilted Kilt Pub crawl and Torchlight Clan ceremony.Victoria Highland Games Logo

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 36, Sidney is celebrating the arrival if it’s new Fast Response Rescue Craft the Jack Simpson 111 in conjunction with National Boating Safety week.  They are hosting an open house with the new vessel on display and open for tours and information from 10 am – 6 pm. Public is welcome and encouraged to come to Port of Sidney and see the vessel and meet the local volunteers that are highly trained and respond to marine emergencies 365 days a year and 24 hours a day from their base here in Sidney with a 15 minute response time. Drinks and light snacks available. Have your picture taken on board. Join the Marine Search and Rescue Team, interested and qualified individuals can speak directly to their Recruiting Director on site. Sunday, May 21: Victoria’s Opening Day Sailpast with approximately 50 boats, decorated in traditional marine dress or other theme expected to participate in the 43rd Annual Victoria Inner Harbour Boat Parade on Sunday May 21.

The boats will parade past Laurel Point at 1 pm and along the waterfront to the host boat moored at the causeway docks, directly in from of the Empress Hotel. There the participants will take a “salute” and will be judged by Guests onboard the Host Boat. The boats then continue past Ship Point.

Monday, May 22: Free and open to the public, the Victoria Day Block Party (on Humboldt Street, between Government and Douglas) kicks off at 1 pm and will feature several food vendors, musical performances, and family-friendly activities.
All activities and admission to the museum will be by donation, with proceeds going to support the Maritime Museum of BC’s outreach programs for schools and community groups. 

Easy and Delicious Make-Ahead Boating Meals

Most of us have an arsenal of easy and delicious meals to make in our kitchens at home. But what about on the boat? Here are a few make-ahead meals to bring out on the boat for a quick dinner with limited supplies! Cooking while at sea is part of the adventure. Prepare for your voyage as if you were camping in the woods: space is limited, as are fuel and refrigeration, so planning ahead is critical. In a galley kitchen, you will be lucky to get two burners on the stove, let alone an oven or a microwave. A tiny sink will give you barely enough room to wash a cup–large pots and pans will act as washbasins by themselves–so plan your menus accordingly. Here are a few recipes that, whether you are on a fishing boat or a yacht, will ensure that your crew gets a tasty, nourishing meal without a lot of prep or cleanup time.

Chipotle Style Chicken Burrito Bowls

  • Make the chicken and rice ahead of time – it tastes better cold!
  • Purchase pre-shredded cheese and canned or jarred salsa for topping.
  • Feel free to add or subtract any ingredients you want – this bowl is good no matter what is in it.

Crunchy Thai Quinoa 

  • Make the quinoa (or chow mein noodles if you prefer) ahead to time so they are cooled and ready.
  • I use soy Peanut Butter but this recipe would be just as delicious with the real thing.
  • Purchase bagged broccoli slaw with carrot to save some time.
  • Add chicken for some added protein
  • Serve cold or at room temperature

BLT Balsamic, Chicken, Avocado & Feta Salad

  • Fry bacon, cook chicken and make salad dressing ahead of time.
  • Grad a baguette or your favorite bread for sopping up the delicious dressing.

Chicken Marbella

  • This meal freezes incredibly well, make it ahead of time and throw it in the oven when you’re ready.
  • Serve with rice, pasta or by itself.
  • Prunes and capers might seem like an odd combination, when cooked together with chicken they create a delectable sweet and sour, savory flavor.

Best Ever Quinoa Chili

  • You simply cannot go wrong with chili, add ground turkey or take out the quinoa, whatever you prefer!
  • This recipe is much better made in advance so the flavours can really mix.
  • Add avocado, sour cream or cheese on top.
  • Serve with bread or on it’s own.

Food (and beverages!) are arguably the most important part of packing for a boat trip, whether you will be gone for a day or a month. Whether you head out on a day trip or are out for a week, there are a number of easy recipes that can be prepped at home and simply assembled when you are ready for them at sea. What are some of your favorite recipes to bring out on the boat?