Getting away from it all
The 6/49 TV ads from BC Lotto are a frequent reminder of how great it is to be all by yourself with some good friends in beautiful places. The British Columbia provincial motto, the most beautiful place on earth, suggests that whatever you might wish will be found here somewhere in the province.. Indeed that is true. There are many contenders. However if you wish to get away then Saturna Island, the second largest and least populated of the Gulf Islands, would be a strong choice.
It has been home to First Nations peoples for thousands of years. Saturna was explored by Spanish sailors and named in 1791 after their naval schooner, the Santa Saturnina, which was one of the ships in the Spanish expedition that discovered the Strait of Georgia.
Although the population rises in the summer there are only 350 long term inhabitants. There is only one campground on the island and accommodations are limited, so if you wish to spend a vacation on the island, lodging reservations are recommended.
Saturna Island for great nature
In addition to the beautiful views in all directions, Saturna Island is blessed with a wide variety of natural life. Nearly half of the newly created Gulf Islands National Park incorporates undeveloped wilderness land on Saturna Island. Here is a partial list of what you may find:
- The 497-metre (1,630 foot) summit of Mount Warburton Pike offers a 360 degree view of the surrounding Gulf and San Juan Islands, which you will share with wild goats, soaring eagles, falcons and vultures.
- magnificently gnarled Garry oaks and the red-barked arbutus trees
- a protected Peregrine Falcon nesting site
- a myriad of seabirds, orcas, porpoises, seals and sea lions thriving in the surrounding ocean
Saturna Island for great wine
The Saturna Island Vineyards are situated on a bench of land nestled between the waters of the Pacific, and a magnificent soaring sandstone and granite cliff face on the south side of the island. This creates a micro climate which is unique to the region, and is similar to the northern Mediterranean. There are 60 acres of vineyards that are ideal for the cultivation of classic European grape varietals. These include Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, and Merlot under vine. The summers are warm, and the winters are mild; which gives the ideal conditions for a long growing season.
Saturna Island for great living
That northern Mediterranean micro-climate, which is so good for wine-making, is also excellent for living. If you have the yen to put roots down, then fine properties do come on the market from time to time. There is a great waterfront residence just across the road from the Winery, Long Field Cottage at 16 Trueworthy Road.
Here are some photographs to whet your appetite:
… and it is all just 15 minutes away
The Tourism British Columbia website has perhaps the best short description of Saturna Island:
Saturna Island is a short floatplane haul from Vancouver and Victoria – the two most urban, densely populated cities in BC. Yet this is by far the most remote, crowd-free refuge in the southern Gulf Islands. A tiny population combined with cozy accommodations, the bare minimum of retail activity and the island’s well-protected natural beauty make Saturna a prime R&R locale. Saturna draws visitors who appreciate peace, pleasant outdoor activities, and abundant quality time with books, binoculars, journals, art supplies and creative imaginations.
They also include the following map of the Island: Another useful source of information is the Saturna Island Tourism Association (SITA) website.