News, views, opinions and reviews from Van Isle Marina, one of the largest full service marinas in British Columbia.

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:

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?

Five Features: NEW Van Isle Marina Website

In celebration of the release of our fresh new website, we have put together a list of features that perhaps you didn’t know you could do on the Van Isle Marina website:

  1. Wondering how to get to Van Isle Marina? From the location tab, you are able to simply enter your starting address, hit ‘Get Directions’, and it will automatically figure out the best route.
  2. Curious about other businesses in the area? Under the Marina Services tab, there is a Local Business Directory, with everything from Taxis to Golf Courses.
  3. Check out your boat with our marina webcams. Under the Media tab, choose Web Cams. All the images are updated each minute and show various angles of the marina.
  4. Find out the local weather. Scroll to the bottom of any page to see a real time forecast for Sidney, BC.
  5. Interested in which boats the Van Isle Marina Yacht Sales team has listed? Click the Yacht Sales tab and browse our Pre-Owned, Riviera, Back Cove, Belize and Boathouse listings.

We hope you enjoy using our new site! Facebook, tweet or comment below with any features you think we should add!

Top Ten Tips for Boating and Marina Etiquette

Boating, as a recreational sport, has been around for over 300 years. During this time many customs and traditions have been developed; traditions that, over generations, have become the unwritten rules of the road. Just like being on land, we need to be good neighbours; help others when they need it, tidy up after ourselves and be respectful of the people and environment around us.

  1. Watch Your Wake: You’re responsible for making sure that your wake isn’t causing harm to your fellow boaters. Not only can big wakes in small, crowded places be dangerous, it’s a definite way to anger your neighbours. Be sure to respect the wake rules to keep marine life and everyone else on the water safe and sound.
  2. Lend a hand: While there is almost always a Van Isle Marina employee nearby to help, you should be prepared to help your fellow boaters. This unwritten boating law will say a lot about what kind of boater you are and will be really helpful to those in need of an extra hand.
  3. Respect your neighbours: If you have blasting music and lots of loud friends on board, be courteous to others on the water and leave plenty of space.
  4. Always stop to help, if you see someone in trouble.
  5. Keep it tidy: No matter if you’re at the marina or anchorage, be sure to clean up your space and pick up all of your trash, dock lines, and equipment. Your neighbours and local animals will appreciate a clean, hazard-free space.
  6. Move along: Whether you’re on a fuel dock or boating ramp, be efficient. Delegate tasks and be prepared so that you can get out of the way of others and out on the water. Our Fuel Dock staff are there to help you get on and off the dock in safe, timely manner.
  7. Turn off your Radar: Ensure if it’s not being used that you turn all your radar equipment off. Radar waves can be harmful to anyone who is exposed to them.
  8. Select your anchorage carefully: giving yourselves and your new neighbours ample room. Remember winds change, anchors line tangle and hulls and dinghy’s can easily bang into each other.
  9. If you use the head, use your head: ensure that it goes into your holding tank, not overboard.
  10. Be thoughtful at night; don’t run your generator around the clock, paddle rather than motor to shore and back and be conscious of your activity and noise levels.

Whether underway, anchoring, mooring, docking at a marina or cruising with friends, as in most aspects of life, respect and courtesy go a long way! Being part of the boating community means knowing and following good etiquette. When you know the common expectations that have developed over centuries of boating, it will help make your experience a positive one for everyone on board.

Riviera 445 SUV Arriving April 1 to Van Isle Marina

Coming April 1 to the Yacht Sales Dock at Van Isle Marina in Sidney, BC…

“Discover the Adventurous Spirit” of the Riviera 445 SUV with IPS

Twin Volvo IPS 600

Two Stateroom, Two Head Layout

Cockpit Joystick Control

Teak Cockpit Floor

High Gloss Cherry Interior

Two 15″ Garmin Navigation Displays

Single Level Entertaining