Canada – Our Mini Break on Pender Island

As we had a few days in between our first and second petsit assignments on Vancouver Island, we decided to explore another of the Southern Gulf Islands, Pender Island.

Pender Island is located in the Gulf of Georgia, British Columbia (B.C) and is approximately 34 km² in area and home to about 2,500 permanent residents. From our housesit in Sooke we headed back to Swartz Bay to catch the ferry over to Pender. We discovered that Pender Island is technically made up of two islands, aptly named, North Pender and South Pender and connected by a small bridge. Our Airbnb was on North Pender and an easy 15 minute drive from the ferry terminal at Otter Bay. This cottage was much more than we would usually spend on accommodation but it was a nice little treat and everything we hoped for (read our review here).swartz-bay-to-otter-bay_bc_canada.pngSo what did we do on Pender Island?? Our hosts had provided some locations to visit around the island for different viewpoints, so first off we headed to the closest to us, Thieves Bay Marina. There are numerous sea life watching opportunities around Pender Island and the information boards at the marina showed different species of whales, dolphins and seals that can be seen at different times of the year. We saw a seal and some dolphins but some locals that were out walking their dogs told us that if there were whales around the boats would be out on whale watching trips and there were no boats to be seen while we where down there.Thieves Bay Marina_Pender Island_BC_Canada.jpgOnly 650m from our cottage was the Pender Island Disc Park and disc (aka frisbee) golf was something we had never done before so we purchased a couple of discs and headed to the park. It was a fun course with numerous hills, rocks and trees to navigate and it definitely warmed us up. The boys were very enthusiastic for the first nine “holes” but by the second half of the second nine they were starting to get a little over it. We took a bit of a break and then finished the second nine, overall an enjoyable day and good workout.

disc golf_pender island_bc_canada
Who has the best technique??

Another day we went a little further afield to one of the tips of South Pender at Gowlland Point and found some geocaches along the way. As we walked around the cliffs we got some stunning views out towards some islands of the USA.gowland point_pender island_bc_canadaWe also explored Mortimer Spit and Medicine Beach, had a nice picnic lunch and found more geocaches. We actually spoke to the person that had originally placed one, a teacher who was on the beach with some students who had been building rafts and trying to complete a race. We also returned to the disc golf park to finish off the last nine “holes” of Pender’s 27 hole course.

mortimer spit and medicine beach_pender island_bc_canada
Mortimer Spit (above) and our type of medicine at Medicine Beach (below)

Our evenings were spent barbecuing on the large deck and enjoying eating outside in a pleasant temperature and without the nuisance of buzzing mosquitoes. We had a nice view out towards the west and saw a few ferries pass through during our stay. We also got some beautiful sunsets and on our first night Logan decided to jump in the car and head back to Thieves Bay to get some clearer, unobstructed shots.sunsets on pender island_bc_canadaThe day we were planing to leave Pender Island was also the evening we were scheduled to arrive at our second pet sit. To ensure we weren’t late we tried to secure ferry tickets the day before but we were informed that the return ferry is free and on a “first come, first served” basis. Therefore our total cost to get on and off the island with the car was $69.80 CAD/$77.43 NZD. The best ferry time for us to leave Pender Island was the midday sailing with the following one not until 3pm. With a three-hour drive ahead of us after the ferry trip the 3pm sailing could make us a little late to our sit. So without knowing what the popularity of the sailing would be, and to ensure we got on the earlier sailing, we arrived at the terminal around 11am and had no problems getting onto the midday ferry. We got another beautiful day for a cruise through the islands and back to Vancouver Island.

We had fantastic weather and a fun few days on Pender, next up we were off to meet our second lot of pets to take care of.

Average Daily Spend for 5 nights – $270.28 NZD ($17.22 under budget per day)

– Paula




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