Spring 2014

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12 W e s t W o r l d >> S P R I N G 2 0 1 4 (top to bottom) Josh McCulloch/Alamy/All Canada Photos, Boomer Jerritt/Getty Images, Saturna Lodge, Bill Thomas/Discovery Sea Tours the getaWay Whether you arrive by boat and drop anchor in secluded Narvaez Bay or by car from Lyall Harbour, Monarch Head, the site of an abandoned home- stead, captures the essence of the national park. The twisted, muscular trunks of arbutus trees weave among mast-straight Douglas firs in a vision of the West Coast that evokes the art of the late E.J. Hughes. From the end of Narvaez Bay Road, a 1.5-km trail ascends 100 vertical metres to a windy bluff overlook- ing Fiddler's Cove, Taylor Point and Java Rocks. Watch eagles soar on the thermals and scan for resident orcas plying Boundary Pass, while taking in the view of snowy Mount Baker dominating the Mainland horizon. the inside track Gulf Island grapes: Warm summers and mild winters helped the owners of Saturna Island Family Estate Winery turn this 78-acre property into one of the largest vineyards on B.C.'s West Coast, with Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the vines. The tast- ing room and bistro, with priceless ocean views, are open daily, though be sure to plan a safe way home should you partake of the wines ( saturnavineyards.com). Live the history: Saturna Lodge, renovated from a 1920s former mill manager's home, is set on a ter- raced garden overlooking Boot Cove. With seven private guest- rooms, this classy B&B is a peaceful base for exploring the island by foot, sea kayak, bike or car ( saturna.ca). Hit the high season: Discovery Sea Tours gets you on the water for a Gulf Island whale-watching tour or sightseeing adventure in off- shore areas that have also been protected by the national park ( discoveryseatours.ca). Espresso up: Wild Thyme Coffee House, tucked into a funky green double- decker bus steps away from the ferry dock in Lyall Harbour, offers locally roasted organic coffee and a lunch- time menu featuring local ingredients ( wildthymecoffeehouse.com). — Andrew Findlay Though Saturna Island is less than a two-hour sail from the burbs of Victoria and the amber glow of Metro Vancouver, it feels like a world away. At 31 square kilometres and with a perma- nent population that never tops 400, Saturna is a mountainous, heavily forested island that seems to have escaped the hectic tourism rush of other Gulf Islands. Locals like it that way, and so do visitors. In 1884, Warburton Pike, a wealthy Brit with an adventur- ous spirit, arrived on Saturna, bought 784 acres for $5,000 and started an orchard and sheep farm. He also built a home on Saturna Beach, where the mid- dens are deep with the detritus of thousands of years of Coast Salish habitation. His memory lives on in 397-metre-high Mount Warburton Pike, the apex of an island with much to offer the weekend explorer. Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, one of Canada's newest national parks, was created in 2003 and encompasses portions of more than a dozen islands and islets, protecting forests, meadows and rugged headlands that showcase the area's astounding ecological, scenic and cultural richness. Today, more than half of Saturna Island is now protected by the national park. Saturna Island Weekender s a t u r n a I s L a n d p12-13_Weekender.indd 12 14-01-29 10:02 AM

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