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Canada & United States Border Opens

August 9th, 2021

Welcome back neighbors, friends, family, & boaters! We are excited to announce the border will reopen to U.S. citizens & U.S. residents on August 9th.

Starting August 9th  — fully vaccinated U.S. citizens & permanent residents living in the U.S. will be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine for two weeks.

Canadian officials also announced today that as of Aug. 9,  children under 12 will be exempt from the quarantine requirement after entering Canada if they follow public health measures.

U.S. travelers entering Canada will require a pre-entry negative Covid-19 test result and will need to present proof of one of the vaccines authorized for use in Canada. That means two doses of either the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca products, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least 14 days before arriving.

All U.S. travelers must use the government’s ArriveCAN portal to submit their information. If they meet the government’s criteria, they will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Canada.

We look forward to welcoming you and accommodating your late-summer boating adventures. Please contact our marina office if you have any questions or wish to request marina reservations.

On behalf of all the Crew at Van Isle Marina, welcome back and we look forward to seeing you on the docks.

 

 

Coastal Biking Trails on Vancouver Island

The Best Biking Trails Around Coastal Vancouver Island

Cycling Trails Around Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands – Our Top 5 Picks

On Vancouver Island, outdoor enthusiasts are typically within a few kilometres of the coast at any given time. Views of the Pacific Ocean and Coastal Mountains frame many of our favourite parks and hiking trails. If you’re a biking enthusiast, boating to some of the best coastal biking trails on Vancouver Island is an excellent way to experience a complete land and sea adventure, while getting fit and having fun.

The Gulf Islands often have higher elevations and are an ideal destination for a challenging coastal bike ride. Meanwhile, cities like Victoria feature a smooth, even waterfront route for those in the mood for a more meandering or family-friendly ride.

Below are just a few of our favourite destinations for cyclists around the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island.

1. Biking Galiano IslandBiking Galiano Island, British Columbia

A 42 km return trip from Montague Harbour to Dionisio Park (also known as Coon Bay) and back, the biking on Galiano Island is hilly and requires a bit more stamina. Roads are narrow and there are no shoulders, but there are so many incredible views and parks to see that it’s worth the effort. If you’re up for a challenge, try hiking or mountain biking to the top of Mount Galiano. If you’re looking for a laid-back cycle, you can stop at any one of the parks on the island before retiring to your boat or to the lovely Galiano Inn and Spa for a bit of pampering.

Biking Lasqueti Island, BC

2. Biking Lasqueti Island

Lasqueti residents are avid bikers and the island has one of the most well-organized biking communities around. There are no cars on the Lasqueti Ferry, so the gravel roads are relatively quiet and popular with bikers. Only 68-square km with no hydroelectric power, Lasqueti is an island where you can really escape, riding the 15 km stretch from the ferry terminal to Squitty Bay Provincial Park.

If you prefer, you can moor at the narrow coves of Squitty Bay and ride into town instead. At 30 km total, you’ll be ready for a swim in the warm waters of Squitty Bay by the end of your journey. Later on, you can boat over to nearby Jedediah Island to spend the night near its white sand beaches. Because Jedediah is only accessible by boat, it’s a very serene space to set anchor.

3. Biking the Seaside Touring Route, VictoriaTouring Victoria BC on bike

Victoria is the cycling capital of Canada and is very bike-friendly. At any given time, you’ll see groups of bikers making their way through the downtown streets, around parks and cruising along the many designated bike lanes. One popular route is the Seaside Touring Route. At a total of 39 km, this is an easy trail network with plenty of entry and exit points. Being so bike-friendly means that Victoria has plenty of secure lock up spaces for your bike, to allow for sightseeing as well.

The route begins in James Bay, North America’s oldest residential neighbourhood. With a rich history and plenty of stunning views, it’s a fantastic way to start a long afternoon of cycling. Ride along the Ogden Point Breakwater, continue along to Dallas Road, where you can stop in at Beacon Hill Park to rest in the shade of the gardens with a snack. From there, keep cycling northeast through Oak Bay or Cadboro Bay. To stay on the loop, go north to connect to the Galloping Goose Trail, which will lead back to the centre of town. 

4. Biking Salt Spring Island

The largest of the Gulf Islands, Salt Spring Island is an ideal spot to moor your boat and get out on your bike. With longer loops (35 km and 50 km) on relatively flat terrain, Salt Spring Island trails are excellent for exploring everything the Island has to offer. From wineries to artisan shops, enjoying the Island’s coastal biking trails is an enjoyable day trip. If you’re staying for one day, we recommend choosing just one of the loops, rather than trying to do both and missing out on all the art galleries and picnic spots scattered around. Salt Spring Island is also home to some amazing artisan cheese, so be sure to stop off at Saltspring Island Cheese or Moonstruck Organic Cheese.

Starting at the Long Harbour Ferry Terminal you can follow the Northern Route, which follows the northern tip of the island after some initial short and steep hills through forests of Arbutus and Douglas Fir trees. Or, you can choose the 50 km route which begins at the Ganges Ferry Terminal. Around 7 km from Ganges is a gorgeous white clamshell beach, which is ideal for a water break and a bit of a stretch before you continue along the route. Following Beaver Point Road, you can choose to head back to Ganges or continue on to Fulford Harbour. Note: The roads on Salt Spring Island can be quite busy at peak season, so it’s best to yield to ferry traffic in Ganges and Fulford Harbour.

Biking Yellow Point Road

5. Biking Yellow Point Road

South of Nanaimo, the Cedar and Yellowpoint areas offer a diverse bike ride filled with country and ocean views. Like the Gulf Islands, the area also abounds with local artisans, farms, cafes, pubs, orchards and more. Running 30 km, your route begins at CoCo Café on Cedar Road. Fuel up with a locally made breakfast and specialty coffee at this unique café before you hit the road. Cedar has narrow shoulders and some hilly areas, so always cycle with caution. Along the way, you can stop off at many different parks and beaches. Due to the popularity of biking in the area, the Yellowpoint Ecological Society is proposing a designated trail for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.  


These are just a handful of the many beautiful cycling trails and pathways around Vancouver Island. With a mix of busier, tourist driven towns and quiet, hidden gems. It’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll find a new place to explore on your bike wherever you decide to anchor. Challenge yourself or just enjoy a slow ride surrounded by wildlife. Whatever you choose, your boat can lead you to Vancouver Island’s greatest cycling trails on the coast.

Planning your summer adventures? Consider upgrading your boat to get the most out of every minute of your trips. At Van Isle Marina, we offer a wide variety of new luxury Pursuit boats as well as pre-loved yachts and cruisers. Whether you’re looking for a yacht big enough for the whole family or for a leisurely escape for two, our team at Van Isle Marina looks forward to helping you find the perfect boat. Contact us via phone or web form to get started or come see us in sunny Sidney, BC today.

Boating in Barkley Sound

Boating in Barkley Sound

Cruising, Fishing and Anchorages in The Barkley Sound


For any boater who is also into fishing, kayaking and exploring, Barkley Sound on the West Coast of Vancouver Island is a must-see.

Barkley Sound is an 800 square km area between Bamfield and Ucluelet, including the entrance to the Alberni inlet. Set within the Pacific Rim National Park area, it’s a popular tourist destination thanks to its top-class fishing opportunities, hundreds of islands to explore and friendly, small communities to visit. 

Boaters can cruise the area, exploring islands, inlets and nooks, diving or fishing for salmon and halibut.  

To access the Barkley Sound area, the best options for putting in are Ucluelet, Bamfield Inlet or even Port Alberni. Keep in mind that setting off from Port Alberni is a much longer route, requiring a 60km sail down the Alberni Inlet to reach the Barkley Sound. 

There are numerous options for moorage throughout the Barkley Sound, although many boaters prefer the freedom of anchoring up amongst the islands and exploring from there by dinghy or kayak.

Things To Do In Barkley Sound 

Explore the Broken Group IslandsBroken Group Islands

The Broken Group Islands, situated to the southeast of Ucluelet, is made of numerous small islands, channels and inlets which are just begging to be explored. Very popular with kayakers who participate in multi-day paddles in the area, the waters can definitely get busy in the summer. 

The best way to explore the Broken Group Islands is to anchor up and take a dinghy or kayak around and between the islands where you can investigate coves. You can also pull up onto one of many sandy beaches for a secluded picnic.

The bay at Turtle Island provides sheltered water to anchor up before settling down to watch a spectacular sunset.

Effingham Bay, on Effingham Island, one of the largest islands in the Broken Group, is considered to have the best big boat anchorage in the area. The southeast corner of the bay is well protected, except during periods of strong westerly winds. Effingham is an interesting island to explore, with beaches, remains of a village and a sea cave on the island’s east side.

Lucky Creek, Vancouver Island

Find the waterfall at Lucky Creek

Lucky Creek is a 3km long river with a waterfall at its endpoint. Located east of Refuge Island, Lucky Creek is tidal and can be impassible at low tide, so make sure you check the tide times before heading upriver in your dinghy. When you reach the end of the creek, a short climb over some rocks reveals the waterfall and bathing pools, if you are brave enough to face the cool water.

Watch Marine Wildlife

Port Alberni Wildlife - whale watching

Marine wildlife is abundant in the Barkley Sound. The ocean itself teems with orcas, humpback whales, the imperial eagle porpoises, sea lions, seals and sea otters, many of which you’ll encounter while cruising the waters around the islands.

On the coast, you may see black bears roaming the shoreline depending on the time of year, and don’t forget to look up to sight the majestic bald eagles, which are as attracted by the fish in the area as humans are.

If you are lucky enough to spot a whale while sailing around Vancouver Island, remember to follow the regulations regarding safe marine mammal viewing.

Barkley Sound Lodge, Vancouver Island

Fishing in Barkley Sound

Barkley Sound is a fishing lover’s dream. Year-round, salmon, halibut and lingcod fishing draws anglers from far and wide to come and make their big catch of the day. There are a number of fishing charters and lodges in the area that can guide you to the prime fishing grounds and even prepare your catch afterwards.

Moorage Sites in Barkley Sound

If anchoring up around one of the many islands in Barkley sound isn’t for you, or you are looking for some other services where you moor, consider some of these options:

  • Island West Resort in Ucluelet offers short term moorage options as well as fishing charters and has a pub onsite.
  • Mills Landing Cottages and Charters in Bamfield offersMills Landing, Vancouver Island more than just moorage. For those interested in fishing, Mills Landing can supply everything you need from bait to a cleaning station and their guides can even point you to the best fishing spots. Wildlife viewing tours are also available here if you want to take a break from sailing for a day.
  • Barkley Sound Lodge located in a secluded inlet in the centre of the Sound, offers a chance to anchor in true wilderness, yet still experience a modern and elegant resort. Enjoy a night off the water with one of their packages including lodge accommodation, fishing excursions and meals.
  • Poet Nook Marina which is situated north east of Bamfield, near the Alberni Inlet entrance, is a 140 vessel, state of the art marina, which makes a great base for exploring the sound.


Explore Barkley Sound in a Brand New Boat From Van Isle Marina

Barkley Sound is just one of many incredible places to explore and enjoy nature at its finest. Looking for the perfect boat to make your adventure travel dreams come true? Van Isle Marina is the exclusive dealer in western Canada for world-class Pursuit Boats. Something different in mind? Our sales brokers will work closely with you to understand your specific needs and budget and find you the perfect new or used boat. Take a peek at some of the current sales listings and contact us to set up a viewing appointment today.

If you’re trading up, you can keep it simple by relying on Van Isle Marina’s team to market your boat for sale. National and International buyers are attracted to our unparalleled marina, which offers short and long moorage options in our 500 berths near sunny Sidney, BC.

boating with whales feature

Boating with Whales and Other Marine Mammals

Know the Rules and Regulations for Orcas and other Aquatic Mammals

You’re spending the day out in the sunshine on your yacht, fishing, barbecuing and generally having a great time. Out of the corner of your eye, you spot an orca breaching. That’s one of the many perks of boat ownership — the chance to see these majestic marine mammals up close.

It’s awe-inspiring and you can’t help but want to get closer to the action.

Here on the west coast, a wildlife sighting is a natural part of life, and there’s a real temptation to get as close as possible to breaching whales and curious seal pups, but how close is too close?

Rules for Approaching Wildlife on the Water

For a positive, memorable experience it’s so important to  know the safety regulations for boating near whales and other wildlife. Chances are you’ll have noticed these posters at your local marina or wharf.

Produced by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, this message is meant to educate commercial and recreational boaters on the importance of keeping your distance from any signs of a whale. Unsure about the rules or regulations, or what to do when you see a whale warning flag? In this post, we cover the key points of what to do when you see whales or other marine mammals.

Whales

Species you can expect to see are grey, humpback, minke, fin and orca. Grey whales are by far the most often sighted throughout BC’s waters, while humpbacks are the largest around, at an average of nearly 80,000 lbs.safe boating around whales -whale warning flag

Native and transient whales can be spotted all over the coast from Sooke to Prince Rupert, with sightings from as early as March all the way through late September, depending on the migration season. For complete details on migration seasons and regions, look at our past post on whale watching on Vancouver Island.

How Close Can You Get to a Whale?boating with whales - rules and regulations

  • Boats must stay 400 metres from orcas in all southern BC waters between Campbell River and north of Ucluelet
  • Boats must stay 200 metres from all orcas in other Canadian Pacific waters and from all whales, dolphins or porpoises if they are resting or with a calf.
  • Boats must stay 100 metres from all species of whales, dolphins and porpoises in Canadian Pacific waters.
  • Boats must stay out of Interim Sanctuary Zones – Saturna Island, Swiftsure Bank and Pender Island.

Resident whale species in BC waters need to be given minimum approach distances of at least 400 metres of space. According to Whale Wise, “the Southern Resident orcas are listed as endangered in both Canada and the United States. Only 75 orcas remain as of February 2021.”

What are the Noise Requirements for Whale Watching?

Under Canada’s Marine Mammal Regulations, it’s required for all vessel operators to turn off echo sounders and fish finders and turn engines to neutral idle (when safe) when within 400 metres of a whale. Slow down to less than 7 knots when within 1000 metres of a whale.

Dolphins and Porpoisesboating with marine mammals - dolphins

Dolphins and porpoises are playful animals and love to ride in the bow wave of boats. If you notice these mammals riding your bow wave, stay on course and do not change your path. If you do need to change course, reduce your speed gradually until they lose interest and then adjust your path. When possible, also give these animals a wide berth, turn off your echo sounder and gradually decrease speed.

Seals, Sea Lions and Ottersboating with aquatic mammals - sea lion

Sea lions and seals gather on rocky islets, so it’s important to reduce speed as you pass to minimize wake, wash and noise levels. Many seals are curious and may come up to your boat, but shouldn’t be touched or fed. It’s important to note that if an animal seems agitated or ready to dive into the water, you’re probably too close.

Be aware of kelp beds as well. These beds form huge underwater forests and this is where otters spend much of their time. To prevent otter pups from floating away, pups are often kept bundled up in layers of seaweed while the mother forages for food on the sea floor. Giant kelp beds are also feeding grounds for grey whales. For these reasons, boats should always be carefully maneuvered around these kelp forests.

There are plenty of stories about seals and otters relaxing on wharfs or even exploring the decks of boats. These animals have gotten very used to people but should still be treated as wild animals. If you encounter an extra passenger on your boat, just give it some distance and wait calmly until it decides to dive back into the water.

When Around Wild Marine Mammals, Do Not:

  • Feed or touch them
  • Dive, interact or swim with them
  • Fish within 1,000 metres
  • Encircle them or try to get them to move
  • Change directions quickly or block their path
  • Approach a resting whale, which is floating at or just below the surface.
  • Separate a whale, calf or dolphin from its pod
  • Trap a whale or a pod between your boat and the shore, or between other boats.
  • Approach when there are several boats already around
  • Approach head-on or from behind. They will be unable to continue along their path
  • Mark them or tag them in any way
  • Allow your dog to enter the water or bark at the animal. If your pet is anxious, it’s best to crate him/her in an area where they can no longer see the animal.

Ready to become your own whale-watching guide? Whether you dream of a 25’ centre console model for day-tripping or a cruiser designed for longer getaways, we’ve got the right fit for you. At Van Isle Marina, our expert team can match you up with the perfect Pursuit boat for whatever adventures you envision. Be sure to ask us about the OS 355 Offshore and OS 325 Offshore models. Brand new to our sales dock, these feature-packed luxury cruisers are ready for anything. Come down and visit us in sunny Sidney, BC, or contact us by phone or email to get started on the search for your shiny new boat.

How to Make the Most of Virtual Boat Shows

How to Make the Most of Virtual Boat Shows

Explore All the Options and Products from the Comfort of Your Own Home

 

In 2021, Canadian Boat Shows are going virtual in response to efforts to get Covid-19 under control. Vendors, brokers and presenters have had to get creative in this new online space, but they’re taking the challenge and filling their sails. As more virtual boat shows launch, the online platform could reach larger audiences than ever before. If you’ve always dreamed of attending an international boat show in Europe, now’s your chance.

Obviously, the experience is different from attending a boat show in person, but there’s nothing to say that you can’t still take advantage of an online showcase. In fact, it opens an opportunity to “visit” boat shows all around the world from the comfort of your own home. Whether you are brand new to yachting or already an experienced yachter, the new online format will have a plethora of online boating knowledge, tips and tricks for you to take advantage of.

Today’s boat shows feature live or pre-recorded interviews with brokers and builders, a detailed video walkthrough via Zoom, virtual boat tours or presentations to a registered audience and other exclusive features available to registrants. If you have a few boats in mind that you haven’t been able to see in person yet, give the virtual boat show a try! The one-on-one format could be one of the most relaxed, unscripted ways to “tour” a boat.

Tips for the Best Virtual Boat Show Experience

  • Find a quiet, comfortable space where you can talk and listen without being interruptedvirtual boat shows in 2021
  • Know the platform you’re using and test your audio / video before the show starts
  • Have a list of products and accessories you’re interested in and would like to learn more about
  • If you have a particular model or type of boat(s) in mind, this gives you the ability to do your own research and really get down to the nitty gritty with the builders and brokers. Rather than focusing on brochure basics, you’ll be able to really narrow down which model suits what you want in a boat.
  • Keep a set of questions on hand, for when you have an opportunity to ask fellow boaters or industry professionals. It’s easy to forget in the moment. You can also email the presenters afterwards.
  • During walkthroughs, take advantage of the chat bar to ask questions as the broker leads the “tour”
  • Take note of anything you notice that you’d want to upgrade or add, or anything you have a specific question about, like how the ventilation is in the cabin, how is the access to the engine room, etc.… all those things that you can only experience while on board.
  • Learn how to take screen shots with the device you’ll be using so you can save shots of specific angles and aspects of the layout, etc.… This way you can look back on it later.

The First Virtual Boat Shows

Palm Beach, FL started the trend with their first virtual show ever in May 2020. Next up, was the 2021 Virtual Toronto International Boat Show as Canada’s first-ever virtual boat show. These have prompted other regions and even different manufacturers and builders to follow suit.Toronto boat show

Up next is the 59th annual Vancouver boat show. Vancouver’s virtual boat show is being presented Feb 24-27 with free registration. It offers the chance to explore virtual exhibitor spaces without the hassle of crowds. Schedule a meeting, join a live chat, email your questions, and browse the products. Also, enjoy exclusive live content, live Q&A sessions with industry pros, and attend online workshops and seminars to learn all about the newest advances in the boating world. To register and receive more information, visit Vancouverboatshow.ca

Boatinternational.com is hosting an ongoing virtual boat show, complete with vendor map, spotlight on the latest and greatest yachts, exclusive announcements, and videos detailing the hottest new boats from bow to stern.  Boating enthusiasts can also take part in live discussions, interviews and events hosted by Boat International journalists.

Sail Magazine has also jumped on board, with their digital boat show. With new vendors added daily, the show is growing continuously. Learn about product information, watch boat testing and watch web exclusive videos like Reaching Reality – a Sailing Docuseries. While not as interactive as the Vancouver Boat Show and Boat International’s Virtual Boat Show, there’s a wealth of information here.

A Boating Boom

With most people sticking to their family bubbles, boating has become a prime option for enjoying a holiday away from home. Gone is the option to go to Mexico or any other warm Caribbean destination. Instead, Canadian boaters and outdoor enthusiasts are embracing what’s available in our own back yard. Here on the West Coast, we have an endless array of islands and islets and calm, scenic channels. Our coast is also home to world-class diving and serious salt and freshwater fishing.

It’s not just happening here on Vancouver Island either. According to a recent Global News article, demand for a new boat is up across the country.

Some stats from The Toronto Show:

  •  80% of exhibitors experienced a significant increase in enquiries/sales from new boaters and first-time buyers
  • Half of all exhibitors saw an increase in inquiries/sales from customers under the age of 40
  • 40% of exhibitors estimated an overall sales increase by 15% – 25%
  • Pontoons, bowriders, and personal watercraft like Sea-Doos and WaveRunners were some of the top-selling categories in 2020

If you want to be on the water this summer, don’t hesitate. At Van Isle Marina, we are happy to connect in person for a tour of our top-of-the-line Pursuit Boats. We also have a wide variety of previously loved yachts and cruisers, ideal for everything from a quick cruise to a weeks-long adventure. Come down and visit us at our world-class sales dock or get in touch with our brokers by phone or email. We look forward to helping make your boating dreams a reality!

Naming Your Boat

Naming Your Boat

Boat Names – How Do You Choose?

Boat naming has been around for thousands of years, started when sailors named their vessels after deities and saints in the hopes of good fortune and smooth sailing. Names were chosen very carefully since the wrong name meant the difference between a safe voyage or being lost at sea.

There are so many names to choose from and so many directions you could take. Maybe you have a favourite song, a wicked sense of humour, love puns, or simply want to go traditional and pay a tribute to your beloved. There are a few things to keep in mind, which we’ll go through below, to help make naming your boat fun and painless.

choosing a name for your yacht

According to seafaring legends, it’s bad luck to rename a boat or to give a boat a name that begins with O.  Also, boat naming is steeped in lore and whether you believe it or not, you’re probably better off not tempting fate by naming your boat something tragic like Titanic or Unsinkable. Check out some other common boating superstitions. No matter if you’re superstitious or just a stickler for tradition, you’ll want to create a name that really sticks and that you won’t have to change later.

Before you can move on to picking a name and christening your beauty, there are a few more practical things to keep in mind:

  1. The name should be two/ three words max. No room for a sonnet here.
  2. The name should be short enough to fit on the transom and still be easy to read.
  3. The name should be easy to communicate over the VHF radio. Marine radio etiquette includes saying the name three times, so this is particularly important. Read more about VHF etiquette.
  4. The name can’t be anything that might be used to ask for help on the water (i.e. Man Overboard.)
  5. The name shouldn’t use racist, sexist, or profane language. Keep it classy.
  6. If it’s something you’d be embarrassed to say over the radio (like any of these) you won’t want it to be your primary identity at the wharf or out on the water.

Ready to create your list of potential names? Take your time and consider, most of all, what fits your boat, your values and your lifestyle. After all, when you’re on the water, your boat’s name becomes your name, so you’ll want to choose wisely. Here are some basic guidelines for how to choose the perfect moniker:

  1. How big is the boat/yacht?choosing boat names - naming your boat
  2. What type of boat do you have? Sailing yacht, powerboat, wooden boat, or sleek and modern are all suited to very different types of names. If you want to use a prefix, make sure it matches the type of boat. (For example, SS actually stands for Steam Ship.)
  3. What is your boat’s personality? If you’ve spent a fair amount of time aboard, you’ll probably have noticed that she has her own quirks.
  4. What mood do you want the name to convey? Some options include names that suggest relaxation, fun, adventure, romance, or a good pun to make others chuckle.
  5. Do you have a favourite animal?
  6. What is your profession or hobby?
  7. Are there any songs, movies or other pop culture references that you love?
  8. Do you want a traditional swashbuckling-type name? There are some great ones here.
  9. Do you like the sound of foreign names (for instance, La Belle Vita—The Beautiful Life)
  10. Lastly, what name makes you smile whenever you say it? That will more than likely be the name for your vessel!

Stuck for ideas? Try this fun Boat Name Generator from Linger and Lock. You can select preferences like “I like puns” or “it’s a big boat” to help narrow down the choices even further. Here are some randomly chosen boat names to get your imagination cruising:

  • Otter
  • Pelican
  • Sea Breezechoosing boat names
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Vagabond
  • Bitter End
  • Odyssey
  • Pegasus
  • Adagio (slow tempo)
  • Kids Inheritance
  • Knot on Call
  • Sea Ya
  • Midlife Crisis

Before you settle on a name, make sure that no other Canadian vessel shares this name. Use this searchable database here. You can use a different spelling for your favourite name as well, if you find your choice is already spoken for.

In keeping with tradition, you might want to christen your boat once you’ve chosen a name. This dates to ancient Greek times when Grecians wore wreaths of olive branches on their heads and drank fine wine to honour the gods. In the Middle Ages, two friars would board the boat and bless it before its maiden voyage. Essentially, this type of ceremony is meant to invoke protection of the gods and keep the men safe during long and perilous journeys. You can read more about the historical significance of christening a boat.naming your yacht

Gather up some friends, a bottle of something sparkly (champagne is the top choice) to drink, a branch of greens and a pre-scored bottle of wine to break on the boat. Keep the bottle in a bag to keep broken glass from falling into the water/onto your boat.

You’ll want to have your boat ready to go at the dock for a short maiden voyage after the celebration. Read a short poem, say a few words about the boat, and toast to many happy adventures. The pre-scored bottle will be broken over the bow of the boat. Aim to break the bottle over the metal rails to prevent any damage to the body of the boat.

For all your nautical needs, Van Isle Marina is the place to be. Located in beautiful Sidney, BC, we are Western Canada’s yachting experts and an exclusive authorized dealer of luxury Pursuit boats. Whether you’re looking for pre-owned, brand new, a basic sailing boat or a large motor yacht, our team of professional brokers can find the perfect boat for you. We offer extensive, fully serviced moorage and a world-class sales dock. Come on down or contact us today to get started on your next big adventure.

Spending Xmas on Board Your Boat

Celebrating Christmas On Board Your Yacht

Thinking about doing Christmas a little differently this year? If you can’t get away for your usual warm-weather vacation, consider celebrating out on the water.

Celebrating Christmas on board your boat

Just imagine waking up nestled all snug in your berth, cuddled up to the one you love. The boat gently rocking, the tabletop Christmas tree aglow, and coffee percolating on the stovetop. You’re anchored at your favourite quiet harbour. No one else is around and you feel total peace and tranquility.

Do you feel more relaxed already? Why not try a scaled-down Christmas celebration on your boat? Make sure your boat is winter-ready, then string some lights, grab a 2-foot tree and get ready to create a truly unforgettable holiday!

Décor and Ambience

Décor is quintessential to really feeling that holiday spirit. There’s nothing quite like the twinkling of lights and the scents of spice and cedar in the air to evoke nostalgia and joy. Some ideas:

  • String up a live or faux garland around the cabin. You can make your own fragrant garland with dried orange peels, popcorn and scented pinecones
  • Hang a fresh cedar bough or wreath from the cabin door
  • If you have the table space, consider a tabletop tree. A potted ornamental is a great option for a live tree. Decorate it with cute miniature ornaments and twinkle lightsSpending Christmas Aboard Your Boat
  • Add faux tea light candles to an unbreakable candleholder for instant ambience
  • Hang lights inside and out. Hang a single string or go all out and create an eye-catching display. The newer LED lights don’t get hot, making them a safe option for any space. *One note: LED’s are extremely efficient, but always make sure that your generator can support the additional load created from having lights on. Alternatively, you can use battery operated lights
  • Change up your pillow covers and bedding. Plaids are always stylish for winter, without being too garish, and they really add a warm, cozy feeling. Add a knitted or faux fur throw for an extra layer of comfort
  • Don’t forget the music! Holiday tunes are an essential part of that Christmassy feeling. Impressive audio systems now come standard with many newer boats and include features like built in speakers throughout

Gifting

Space is at a premium on pretty much any boat, unless you are the proud owner of a superyacht or megayacht.

Some gift ideas for kids from one to ninety-two

  • E-book gift card or bookchristmas on board your boat - giving gifts
  • Board or card game for everyone to bond over
  • Magnetic building blocks
  • Animal figurines
  • Flashlights
  • Fishing gear (tackle box, floats, etc…)
  • Watersports gear
  • Pocket knife / multi-tool
  • Walkie talkies
  • Fish finder
  • Fishing rod

Boatmodo also has some other very cool and practical gift ideas for boaters right here.

Food and Drink

The beauty of having an intimate Christmas is that you can serve something as simple as turkey burgers with cranberry sauce. You can also go bigger and barbecue a roast, chicken or ham to really emulate the feeling of a decadent feast. There’s probably nothing better for the avid fisherperson than spending Christmas Day fishing then pairing the catch with festive side dishes.

Other ideas for a modern, downsized holiday feast, courtesy of The Spruce Eats

Pan Roasted Fillet of Duck Breast– Make the sauce in advance and it’s a snap to create a luxurious breast of duck in lieu of turkey or chicken. As long as you have a skillet and an oven, you can easily make this

Pear Salad with Walnuts and Gorgonzola– Skip the prepackaged salad mix and make your own quick and easy pear salad. There’s no cooking required, so it goes from fridge to plate in no time.

Christmas food on your boat - Garlic Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower-Easy to make ahead or roast on your barbecue, roasted cauliflower is nothing like the bland, soggy cauliflower you might remember from your childhood holidays. Instead, it shines with a few simple ingredients.

For a carefree meal, prep ingredients or even just cook your favourite sides ahead of time and just store them in your fridge, freezer, or insulated storage. Reheat using your oven or microwave once the main part of the meal is cooked so the meat has time to rest and everything is hot and delicious.

Cooking in a galley is obviously a lot different from cooking in the average kitchen. There’s not as much surface area, the boat is moving, you’re carefully conserving propane, and more. To make it simpler, here are 13 tips for cooking on your boat, courtesy of the boatgalley.com.

If you’re ready to make this dream a reality, it might be time to treat yourself to a new or upgraded boat this holiday season! The gift that keeps on giving, a new boat is guaranteed to be at the centre of your adventures for years to come. Contact our knowledgeable team of broker elves or stop by our world-class sales dock to take a look at our selection of luxurious Pursuit Boats and new and pre-owned yachts today. At Van Isle Marina, we’ll help you find the perfect boat for your fishing, cruising and holidaying wishes.

How Far Can Yachts Travel

How Far Can Yachts Travel?

Pairing the Length of your Trip with the Right Yacht

Cruising the world is a dream for many, and there’s no better way to do it than in your own yacht. When it comes to the question of how far yachts can travel, there’s no one set answer for this. There are so many different types of yachts, all designed for travel ranging from open ocean exploration to island hopping.

Really, there’s no limit to how far or how long a yacht can travel, if it’s suited to the trip you have in mind. The success of your trip will depend on how well your goals mesh with the category of yacht. It will also depend on whether you’re captaining a sailing or motor yacht, how often you need to stop to refuel or restock supplies and what forms of auxiliary power are used aboard. Whether your goal is to yacht around the world or explore the coastline closer to home, there is a yacht designed for the voyage you envision.

To Determine How Far a Yacht Will Be Able to Travel, Ask:

  • Is it a sailing yacht or motor yacht?
  • What type of yacht?
  • How large is the yacht?
  • How large is the fuel tank?

Sailing Yachtsailing - how far can you sail

A sailing yacht will take you anywhere you want to go. With a capable skipper, a seaworthy, well-maintained yacht and the right sailing conditions, you can see the whole world.  A fully stocked, seaworthy 30-foot sailing yacht will sail about 100 nautical miles in a day, and she can continue up to 90 days without needing to stop. Given the right wind conditions, a sailing yacht in good shape can sail around the clock at a steady pace of about 5 knots per hour. A longer yacht with a larger hull will have a faster average speed and cover more distance than a smaller vessel.

Motorized Yachtyachts - how far can they go

It gets more complicated with motorized yachts since they rely heavily on a fuel source. If your parameters are how far a motorized yacht can go on a single tank of gas, this depends on the size of the boat and the fuel tank.

The general rule is the bigger the vessel, the larger the fuel tank. For instance, a 75-foot motorized vessel that can carry 11,000 litres of fuel can travel about 1500 nautical miles, depending on conditions, whereas a 35-45 foot motorized yacht with a 100-litre tank can travel about 400 nautical miles.

However, a larger fuel tank doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get that much further, since a larger boat would typically weigh more, have a larger crew, have more items contained inside and have more equipment—just to name a few variables.

Follow These Steps to Determine How Far Your Yacht Will be Able to Travel on A Single Tank of Fuel:

  • Clean your yacht, make sure that everything is working correctly. A maintained yacht will have better fuel economy.
  • Refuel your boat and always log engine hours as well as the times when you stop and start. This will narrow down how fast you go through fuel.
  • Measure in litres or gallons per hour rather than relying on your fuel gauge, which doesn’t always account for conditions on the water.

What Type of Auxiliary Power Sources Does the Yacht Have?yachting on the open seas

Other than the fuel tank, yachts can run on wind, sun, and water power, options that can power amenities on board the yacht and push it that much further on its voyage in between fuelings. Options for alternative power sources include:

  • Solar generators – Solar panels charge the boat’s batteries and hold a charge for when backup power is used. Some solar panels on the market today are so thin and flexible that they can be fixed onto or incorporated right into the sails
  • Wind generators – Not just for sailing yachts, wind generators harness the power of the wind to charge the yacht’s batteries
  • Hydro generators – Like upside down wind generators, hydro (water) generators are fixed to the transom and can be used to run systems on board, ranging from lights to water heaters
  • Outboard motors – Useful on smaller vessels, outboard motors can be used as a backup if the on-board engine should ever experience technical problems

Categories of Yachts

There are four main categories of yachts. It’s important to know which category your yacht falls into in order to plan and prepare for your trip.

Category A

Also known as Explorer or Expedition Yachts, Category A yachts are crewed and designed for open ocean. They have a large hull that can handle waves up to 23 feet high. These yachts can also handle extraordinarily strong winds, up to 47 knots.

Category B

These yachts are also worthy of the wider seas but are not capable of crossing oceans and are less capable of strong winds and rough water. They can handle waves up to 13 feet high.

Category C

Used inshore, Category C yachts are ideal for larger bays and lakes. They can handle waves up to about 7 feet high.

Category D

Great for sheltered areas like lakes, protected harbours and rivers, these are vessels meant for day trips. Category D yachts can travel in areas with waves reaching under 4 feet high.

At Van Isle Marina, we have many new and used yachts suited to whatever trip you desire – from a week spent cruising just off the coast of Vancouver Island, to a full tour of the Atlantic Ocean. We are also the exclusive West Coast dealers of Pursuit Boats. Contact our team of experienced brokers today or come and view our world-class sales dock in Sidney, BC to find the boat that’s right for you.

Vancouver Island Anchorages

Vancouver Island Anchorages

How to Sail Around Vancouver Island

The largest island off the West Coast of North America, Vancouver Island is a boater’s dream come true, offering every vista and experience you can possibly imagine. Sail alongside a pod of pacific white-sided dolphins, explore ancient petroglyphs on shore and toast spectacular sunsets as your yacht bobs in the waves.

If you’re up for a longer trip, it will take anywhere from 3-6 weeks to circumnavigate the entire island if you sail with the Northwest winds (counter-clockwise.) Some boaters take months to slowly explore every inch of Vancouver Island and its many coves and inlets.

Using the example of a full circle route of the Island, we’ve chosen anchorages in secluded coves as well as busier marinas and harbours. Whether you cruise around the Gulf Islands or go further afield to more remote locations, this list highlights key anchorages around Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - British Columbia's Bedwell Harbour

Gulf Islands

The group of Gulf Islands has many excellent anchorages. Bedwell Harbour off South Pender Island is a great choice as a sheltered anchorage with plenty of amenities including resorts and a Canadian Customs office.

If you don’t need any amenities and want a quiet spot instead, try Cabbage Island, a small island that usually has plenty of room to anchor.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - East Coast of Vancouver Island

East Coast of Vancouver Island

If you’re heading into Stuart Channel and Dodd Narrows, Genoa Bay is ideal for waiting out the tide and avoiding the heavy traffic around Chemainus’ Telegraph Harbour. If you need to restock any supplies or refuel, however, Telegraph Harbour is a good place to stop.

Further up, Mark Bay on Newcastle Island’s (Saysutshun’s) south side is a quiet place to anchor for a night or two.

Sailing around Vancouver Island - Discovery Passage

Discovery Passage

Discovery Passage connects the Strait of Georgia with Johnstone Strait. A long and narrow stretch, Discovery Passage is where casual boaters tend to turn around, since navigating the congested waters of the passage can be a challenge. It’s worth the challenge though, since the Discovery Passage is the start of true wilderness, leading to Desolation Sound.

Anchor in Campbell River or at Brown Bay or Granite Bay on Quadra Island (part of the Discovery Islands trio) while you plan your route northward. Campbell River and Comox are the last large cities you’ll see as you head towards the Johnstone Strait.

Sailing Around Van Isle - Johnstone Strait

Johnstone Strait

Best travelled earlier in the day to avoid stronger afternoon wind, Johnstone Strait has breathtaking scenery and is home to Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, aprotective zone for orcas.

Johnstone Strait has many protected anchorages on either side, including Chatham Point– a good pit stop for checking weather and wind conditions before starting into the Strait. Favourite anchorages in the Strait include the Walkem Islands, the large Port Harvey and Humpback Bay.

Queen Charlotte Strait - Walker Group Anchorage

Queen Charlotte Strait (East)

The Eastern Queen Charlotte Strait is a fishing mecca. With very productive waters, there are remote resorts, and hundreds of uninhabited and secluded coves to drop anchor. As you enter Retreat Passage, there are several islands and coves for anchorage, su

ch as Heath Bay and Laura Cove.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - Sointula on Malcolm Island - Queen Charlotte Strait

Queen Charlotte Strait (West)

In Telegraph Cove, the Village of Sointula on Malcolm Island has food, gas, and a marine hardware store. Malcolm Island offers wonderful whale watching opportunities and protected anchorages. Back on mainland Vancouver Island, Port McNeill and Port Hardy are the last two small cities in Vancouver Island North and are popular anchorage spots.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - Bull Harbour

West Coast of Vancouver Island

A challenging trip at the best of times, the Inside Passage (leading to Alaska) or Cape Scott are the two routes to take to go around the northernmost tip of the island. If you decide to go around Cape Scott, plan carefully. On Hope Island, Bull Harbour is a good place to stop and get your bearings before continuing onward.

Nahwitti Bar leads to Cape Scott and can only be crossed when the wind and water are calm, and this area shouldn’t be attempted by small crafts. A good way to ensure a safe crossing is to follow behind a fishing boat or to follow Tatnall Reefs, a calmer channel along the shore. That route will add a few nautical miles, but it’s worth it to avoid the fast current and swells. Once you’ve reached the start of Cape Scott, take the time to enjoy the awe-inspiring Cape Scott Provincial Park.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - Cape Scott - West Coast Vancouver Island

Cape Scott

Continuing along Cape Scott there are no anchorages, so you must boat all the way through until you reach Quatsino Sound. You’ll always be in the company of commercial fishing boats, but it’s very important to be aware of the current, dangerous rocks and winds. Once you see the lighthouse, the toughest part of the journey is over.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - Quatsino Sound

Quatsino Sound

Largely uninhabited and wild, Quatsino Sound is a rugged area that deserves to be explored. Hansen Bay is a historic site, sandy San Josef Bay offers three spots for anchorage– Hanna Point Bight, San Josef Inner Bay North and San Josef Inner Bay South.

Winter Harbour is a gorgeous place and a popular anchorage with a fully stocked store. Inner Quatsino Sound is the first large sound on the West Coast and offers plenty of protected harbour as well as access to Hwy 19 back down the Island.

Van Isle Anchorages - Checleset Bay

Brooks Bay, Brooks Peninsula and Checleset Bay

The best anchorage in the Brooks Bay,

Brooks Peninsula and Checleset Bay areas is Clerke Point, in the southern end of the peninsula. Brooks Bay itself is a tough area to cross, with no anchorages in the narrow and deep Klaskino Inlet and Klashkish Narrows.

In comparison, Checleset Bay is much calmer and easier to navigate, and you can go further out to sea or stay closer to Nasparti Inlet and anchorages in Columbia and Baidarka Coves.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - Kyuquot Sound

Kyuquot Sound

Walters Cove Resort is an ideal place to anchor at the public wharf and stock up on supplies. There are many places for anchorage within the Sound and it’s best to access these via Kyuquot Channel, rather than Crowther Channel. Kyuquot Bay on Union Island is a popular anchorage, as well as Surprise Island.

Van Isle Anchorages - Nootka Sound

Nootka Sound

Tahsis Narrows leads to Tahsis Inlet and many calm and quiet anchorages with amazing scenery. Many of these are meant for small boats, like Santa Gertrudis Cove and Jewett Cove on Strange Island. The village of Tahsis has anchorage and some amenities. Deeper waters can be found in Tlupana Inlet, better suited for larger craft. Critter Cove and Galiano Bay are just two of many protected anchorages in the area.

Clayoquot SoundVancouver Island Anchorages - Clayoquot Sound

To reach Clayoquot Sound, you must go through Estevan Point first. It can be a challenge with rougher waters, but that quickly settles once you reach Hesquiat Harbour. The water can get very busy along Flores, Vargas and Meares Island, but there are still many little anchorages in Sydney Inlet like Riley Cove and Young Bay.

Tranquilito Cove in Tranquil Inlet lives up to its name with a more remote location and warm, protected waters. The village of Tofino has anchorage, including their public wharf.

Vancouver Island Anchorages - Barkley Sound

Barkley Sound

A very popular tourist destination, Barkley Sound is the busiest Sound on Vancouver Island’s West Coast. Many boaters prefer to anchor and explore the many islands and islets from a dinghy. Ucluelet Inlet and Bamfield Inlet are more open and easier to access than Alberni Inlet, which is best for small crafts that can navigate the steep and narrow topography.

Cape BealeVancouver Island Anchorages - Cape Beale

Leading back to the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Cape Beale will take you to the northern entrance of the Juan de Fuca Strait.  Prevailing winds that pick up in the afternoons make it best to cross this passage in the morning. The best anchorage sites are Sooke Harbour and Sooke Basin in the Sooke Inlet. Further south, downtown Victoria offers plenty of moorage and all the amenities you could want or need. The last stretch along Haro Strait leads to the Saanich Peninsula, where our full service marina awaits you.

 

The Gateway to Vancouver Island, Sidney is home to Van Isle Marina, where we offer covered and uncovered moorage available annually, monthly or nightly. Do you have questions about trip planning and logistics? Need to fuel up? Our dock store located on the fuel dock is fully stocked with cruising guides, charts, tide books and many other supplies needed for a successful trip. Come visit us at 2320 Harbour Rd in Sidney, BC.