Within view of Sidney and only a short boat ride away, Sidney Spit is one of the best marine parks in the Salish Sea. Curl your toes in the warm white sand, wander the island trails, splash on the tidal flats. Let TIDES plan your trip to this remarkable destination experience!
It was such a bright and windy West Coast day, as I walked the trails on the ridge of the Sidney Spit. White caps churned the ocean below and an eagle, perched on the bough of a gnarly arbutus, had his wings spread wide to dry after his fishing expedition. In the distance an osprey screeched and off to the side of the trail I saw the head of a wild turkey, bobbing as he pecked and scratched the needle covered ground.
This was my first trip to the Sidney Spit, situated on the tip of Sidney Island. I had lived on Vancouver Island for decades but somehow, I had missed visiting this spectacular 440-hectare park. It has justifiably earned its reputation of being one of the most beautiful marine parks in the Pacific Northwest. It has all the wonderful qualities of the West Coast: thousands of metres of white-sand beaches; towering bluffs; salt marshes teeming with wildlife; and, sweeping tidal flats boasting spectacular views.
That afternoon I was equipped with a lunch, binoculars, and a camera. I was on my way to the lookout to see what I could see at the Mandarte Island Seabird Colony and then maybe a walk out to the lighthouse. This was normally a 2-hour round trip, but I planned on taking my time—I didn’t want to miss a thing.
For me, this was a day trip, but many come to Sidney Spit for the rustic camping. Beneath the trees the tent sites are well marked. There is a day-use picnic area as well, complete with fire pits and pit toilets and thieves such as racoons, chipmunks and Stellar Jays who would love to steal your picnic lunch. I was happy I brought my own drinking water since I found the available “fresh” water a bit salty. I could have come in my own boat and made use of the reasonable moorage costs, but I was in the mood to play tourist and caught the seasonal passenger ferry from the government pier at the foot of Beacon Avenue, in Sidney. The 5km trip was only 25 minutes and we were treated with sights of Orcas, Dalls porpoises and the shiny bald heads of harbour seals.
This was the first of many amazing trips to the Sidney Spit Marine Park, Haro Strait, Vancouver Island B.C.
Story by Cindy Faryon
Cynthia J Faryon is an internationally published author.
She started her career by writing travel reviews and providing short onsite reviews
for the Sunday Travel Show with Terry Spence on CFAX Radio.