Rebecca Spit Quadra Island Photo: C. Stathers
By Carol Stathers
Each summer I feel the pull of the ocean; guess you could say it is my happy place. Don’t get me wrong, the lakes of the Okanagan where I live are pretty spectacular but there is something I love about the ocean. Over the past couple of years we have been choosing one or two new islands to explore with either day or weekend trips. This year it was time to explore Quadra Island.
We started off our day with a quick stop at Discovery Pier in Campbell River. This is one of the nicest piers I have seen and no, not just because of the ice cream! The pier is located in downtown Campbell River; they are well set up for not just those out for a walk but for fishing with rod holders and even washing stations for cleaning fish.
After our quick stop at the pier, we headed to the ferry. The crossing from downtown Campbell River to Quathiaski Cove on the west side of the island takes about 10 minutes. For those heading to Cortes and the other outer islands, they head across the island to Heriot Bay to catch the next ferry. For us, since it was Saturday morning, our first stop was the farmers market.
After picking up a selection of incredible-smelling soaps and some date squares from the market, we headed towards the southern tip of the island. We stopped at the Cape Mudge lighthouse and Tsa-kwa-luten Lodge. We were really hoping to find the petroglyphs either in front of the lodge or at the end of Petroglyph Road but no luck this trip. The RV Park is worth a return visit, with beautiful treed spots along the ocean.
Quadra Island is part of a small group of islands between Campbell River and the mainland called the Discovery Islands. Quadra is the largest of the islands, with about 2,700 year-round residents. Like many of these smaller islands, that number can double on busy summer weekends. Quadra is about 35 km from north to south with the narrowest section less than 2 km wide. If you are travelling without a car, you can use the local car stops. Car stops, which we have seen on trips to Pender and Mayne Islands, are community-friendly transportation systems. Signage around the island encourages those looking for a ride to wait at a car stop. If you are willing to give a pedestrian a lift, you stop and pick them up.
Since we were starting to feel hungry, we headed back towards the east side of the island to the Heriot Bay Inn. Here you can stay at the Inn or the campsite overlooking the marina. Originally built in 1895, local author, Jeanette Taylor (Quadra Island History – A Turbulent Past), wrote of past owner Helen Bull, watching “over the hotel from her rocking chair by the hearth in the lobby”. The Inn has a dining room and a pub which we guessed must have live music as it has a stage at one end. The food was excellent!
Next stop, Rebecca Spit which is a must see where we easily could have spent the full day! The 2 kilometre spit has walking trails on both sides plus a large picnic area. On the west side is Drew Harbour; the spit is laden with driftwood. Not only popular for walking and picnicking or playing in the large grassy field, it is a popular area for water sports such as swimming on the sandy beaches, boating and fishing.
With its diverse culture and rural lifestyle Quadra Island is appealing for those looking for a unique place to visit. Next time we plan to find the natural petroglyphs, explore some of the trails by picking up the trail map produced by the Quadra Island Trails Committee and make a visit to the well renowned Nuuyumbalees Cultural Centre.
For other accommodations on Quadra Island and in the surrounding area go to travel-british-columbia.com
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Published: September 5, 2019
Carol loves being in the outdoors whether it is hiking, camping, kayaking or enjoying time at the lake. With a health background in nursing, she has written for many health-related journals and is also writing a historical non-fiction book about the Peach Valley area of Summerland where she lives. Along with writing, she and her family love camping. She grew up camping on Vancouver Island and has explored many parts of BC with her husband, three kids and their golden retriever. She and her newly-retired husband just upgraded to a newer trailer and are looking forward to more camping adventures throughout British Columbia.