Saturday, May 1, 2010

BC Get-Aways: Saturna's Charms

Just off the coast of British Columbia, flanked by pods of travelling Orcas and smacked with fat purple starfish is Saturna Island. A peaceful hide-away, Saturna is one giant, rolling mountain that affords tremendous views of the Pacific Ocean (where, it’s true, Killer Whales are often sighted), lush forested valleys and four vineyards. The perfect weekend there begins with a three hour ferry ride from Vancouver through the Southern Gulf Islands ($15.70 per adult plus $58.30 per car, or $2 per bike). Sailing through thin fog, you’ll spot otters, sea lions and perhaps a whale or two. Mounds of thick forests emerge from the haze, and the taste of salt air on your lips will stir the initial cravings: salmon, oysters, fresh berries, wine. You’ll find it all on Saturna. Upon arrival, stop at Saturna Cafe for supplies and a gourmet picnic prepared by head chef, and German ex-pat, Hubertus Surm. Drop your bags at the Breezy Bay Bed & Breakfast ($95 a night with private beach), hop in a kayak and head to Thomson Park, where you’ll find fresh oysters just laying around on the beach ready to be thrown on a campfire. Finish your day with a sampling of Pinot Noir from nearby Falonridge Vineyard, so named for the rare Peregrine Falcons that circle above.

Published in National Post, May 1 2010

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