Savary Island, British Columbia

Photo documentary of the Sunshine Coast and Savary Island in British Columbia, Canada.

Savary Island

A quick wisk across the water to the dock at Savary Island and I'm off on my next adventure.  Savary, the tropical paradise of British Columbia.  We approached tan sandy beaches framing a forest of trees.  Hundreds of boats have dropped anchor along the island's shores.  I got off the boat and climb a steep wooden ramp up to a tall dock.  I can already see that this is a leash less environment and free Taz from his tether.  It is easier.  The dogs can meet and greet...  less stress for he and I.  When I hit the dirt road at the end of the dock I find there are no signs pointing to anything.  Just an old traditional Telus telephone booth.  There are no signs.  Its a destination for tourists that must drive the locals crazy.  Do you know where...?
 
This is the kind of place that has generations of family returning each year to the family cabin or house.  There are two smallish resorts, probably a plethora of vacation cabin rentals, and lots of cabins passed down through families.  I ask a local which way the bike shop is.  She tells me it is just up the road next to Riggers which, by the way, has good food.  I put Taz back on the leash as we head up the road following a family.  Taz is crazy with excitement and literally helps pull me and my backpack up the hill.  At least he is helping out.  The dirt road winds up a small hill to an intersection.  
 
The first signs of civilization is the bike shop.  Well, which is a line of bikes hooked together with a long chain, a cedar shop, and a small sign out in front.  My directions yesterday were.  “Well, we won't be there.  We are in town getting supplies and bike parts.  When you get there just get the key from underneath the garbage can, unlock the cable, and pick out a bike.  Leave $20 under the door” said the owner.  I asked do you want me to put my name down or anything.  “No, just leave the cash”.  So I choose the best bike out of the lot of motley bikes, put the $20 under the cedar shop door, and head out.  No helmet, no lock, no bike tools.  Just a Trek 820 mt. bike.  Amazingly enough it is in good working condition and shifts smoothly.  
 
I set off down the road with my backpack on my back and a free range dog.  I head for Duck Bay where there is supposed to be the Eco campsite.  I keep riding and riding.  I pass a beach access trail.  Finally I ask a local.  He says it is back towards town off of Brian's Way.  There isn't a campsite out at Duck Bay like the website suggested.  So I turn around and lug my pack back to what qualifies as town until I find Brian's Way.  Then I head down a long dirt track.  I completely miss it because there isn't a sign.  Another local says follow me and drops me right at the dirt road to the campsite and continues on with his family.
 
I turn right and see the campsites nestled in the forest.  I enter the campsite and find a large campsite with a picnic table, a platform, fire pit, and large rock.  Perfect!  There is a shower, bathroom, and eating area all within 25 feet of my camp and there is only one other family there.  I ask the other camper where Pascal's house is (the owner).  She says, I 'm not sure but he'll be around so don't worry just set up your camp.  
 
So I do and then set off to check out the island.  It is cooler today and the dirt roads are under a canopy of trees so I don't have to worry about Taz and the heat.  We ride to where I saw the beach access earlier.  I park the bike and leave it there unlocked.  I would never think of doing that anywhere.  I hope it is still there when I get back.
Taz and I hike down Duck Bay.  It is low tide and the bay is strewn with boulders popping out of the water.  There are sections of sandy beach.  I throw rocks and sticks out in to the water for Taz to chase.  He is in dog heaven.  We walk about 1 km down the beach past an old rusted out bulldozer that now supports it's own tide pools in the divots of the machinery.  The metal is flaking and iron colored.  We continue on for a little while until the beach gives way to sandstone cliffs.  Then turn around and head back.
 
From there we rode to Indian Point.  Every now and then a car would come by.  There were more walkers and cyclists than cars.  I guess up until the 90s there was only one car on the island.  Now people can get there cars brought to the island.  The roads are more like dirt tracks that just happen to pass by houses along the route.  There are 1700 + lots on this island making it one of the most densely subdivided islands in the area.  Luckily most of them are nestled in the forest so there is still forest cover on the island.  
 
Along the east side we ride with houses on one side and beautiful vistas of the peninsula where Lund is located and beyond that the Canadian mountains.  A few twists and turns and I find myself near Squirrel Lane.  At the end of the road is Indian point.  A beautiful sandy beach lined with cabins and a whole flotilla of boats moored in the bay.  It is time for a break.  I wade out in to the water but just can't quite convince myself that I want a coating of salt water for the rest of the day.  Instead I throw stick and rocks for Taz.  I stop, decide to read.  he still wants to chase sticks and rocks.  I shake my head knowing that we will have to ride at least 4 km back to the campsite.  I ignore him.  He looks for other victims.  Then he settles on tossing the stick around and digging in the sand and barking like he is attacking it.  Then he stares at me...waiting until I figure out that I'm supposed be entertaining the dog.
 
A little more of that and having him drink the saltwater and I decide it is time to leave.  Before I loose my patience and he gets diarrhea from drinking salt water.  We head off to find the Sugar Shack.  I want a cold drink and Taz needs more fresh water.  We wind our way down a dirt road.  We finally find the Sugar Shack but a young hippy girl comes up with her bike and says she closes at 4pm.  Like I should know that it closes at 4pm.  I ask her if she has any water as Taz slurps up the water from a dog dish.  I tell her it is o.k. he just needs a drink of water from the dog bowl.  she rolls her eyes and heads off with her hippy boy friend and I think she must be a local and I, am of course, a tourist.
 
Along our way back Taz slows down.  He is throws up some water.  A few more miles down the road and the inevitable diarrhea hits.  I realize that he really is like having a kid.  I have to make sure he doesn’t overdo it or repeat the same mistakes again like drinking salt water.  I show little sympathy but I do slow down.  Live and learn dog head.
 
Its 5:30 pm now.  We make our way to Rigger’s.  Why cook when you have a pub right down the street from camp.  Freeze dried dinner in a bag or pub faire.  I park the bike and Taz and I head up to the outdoor deck.  he gets his own water bowl.  I order food and beverage.  I’m sinking into thoughts about the day.
When I started this journey six days ago.  I had a plan.  The plan was to hike the entire Sunshine Coast Trail but plans change.  If I’ve learned anything about travel is be flexible and make decisions based on what is going on rather than what you’d like to have going on.  I like having that experience to know when to go and know when to back off.  Its from doing a lot of adventure, listening to my gut, and making some soft mistakes along the way.  I’m not afraid of bears I’m afraid of poor decisions.
 
People are starting to come in for dinner.  Family with kids, a couple working on the computer together.  An occasional car drives by.  Lots of walkers and cyclists pass by since this is the main road through what qualifies as a town on this island.  There is the bike shop, this pub, and next door is the local, and only market.  That and a big wooden sign where people can get info about the island and post notes on a message board.
I finish up my dinner and head back to camp.  My plan is to hike out for the sunset.  As I write this the rain starts to fall.  I wait thinking it will be just a few drops here and there.  It picks up and soon I’m putting on my rain fly and retreating into my tent.  Well, I’d rather be here then the backcountry when it rains.
 
Next Day

Up early.  We head out to ride the island’s trails and see the early morning sun on the east side beach.  The trails are soft sand and dirt packed down a bit by the rain the night before.  I can’t get lost.  It is an island so I just head off in the general direction.  I find myself at the top of a bluff with a narrow track down to the beach.  Once again I just ditch the bike and we hike down to the water.  The light is soft and blue.  The beach is framed in sandstone cliffs and rocks poke out of the sandy beach.  We walk for awhile and run into an older lady who remembers Taz from yesterday.  He is such a beautiful dog she says.  I bet she is old family on the island and has walked these beaches, trails, and roads many time.  
 
We meander around.  I take photos and throw more sticks for the dog and then we head back up to the next destination.  At the top we head back out on the trails.  I brought water for Taz to drink but someone has thoughtfully put out jugs of water with a dog water bowl at various intersections.  I let him lap up the water at stops.  Later I think, what if someone put out poisoned water.  I’m worried and then I realize that probably isn’t the case and days later he is fine.  
 
We come to couple of simple signs.  Painted on driftwood with red paint.  They give me a vague idea of where i’m going.  Then we come to an overgrown air field that is no longer in use.  from there we pop out onto the road we were on yesterday.  We make a quick stop at the beach we were at yesterday and then head down toward the south side of the island past the dock where I came in on the water taxi.  At the end of the road is a point where there is supposed to be an otter den.  We don’t find the otters but we do find some black sand, seashells, some cliff walls, and a sculpted piece of driftwood.  
 
From there we head back to Townley Lane.  Big sign posted on a giant old tree.  Up and over the island’s only real hill brings us to South Beach.  Houses perched on the cliff edges line the beach.  Between them is a small opening and a trail that slides down a sandy hill.  Below is a beautiful tan sandy beach with driftwood camps and a long quiet beach. The only other person I encounter is a woman and her dog who are just out enjoying the morning.  Taz plays with the dog and then we head down to look at the camps built of driftwood.  Lots of creativity went into creating them.  Some have driftwood sculpture incorporated into them.  Other’s have various things like a hammock and an umbrella, a fire pit,  a tent or two.
 
Well, it looks like we’ve seen pretty much the entire island.  So we head back and I pack up camp.  I ride again with my big pack on my back to the bicycle shop.  I take the bike, unlock the lock and place it back in the Que. of bikes and re-lock the lock and put the key back under the garbage can.  The $20 I put under the door is gone.  Simple island commerce.  
 
From there we walk to the water taxi.  On our way Taz sees his first deer with a two fawns.  He is curious and I know if he tries to approach her he will probably be kicked in the head or worse.  I tell him to leave it and he does.  I hold onto his collar and then I have to actively shuu the deer away.  Finally she leaves with fawns in tow.  Island deer.  Not much reason to be afraid.  We continue and the taxi arrives just as we get to the dock.  Timing.  We hop back on and our time on the island is finished.
 
Water taxi wake.
Approaching the dock at Savary Island.
An old fashioned telephone booth.
Pascal's camp
A few road signs on the island.
Local art.
Duck Bay beach
The old bulldozer.
Now a flaking relic
Tide pool in it's depressions.
Now perched on a rocky beach, stranded on an island.
Trail down the sandstone bluffs to the beach.
A lazy canoe day.
Seaweed and dog.
Adventure dog ready to chase another stick into the surf.
Seaside trail cairn.
View along a dirt road heading to Indian Point.
Typical road on the island.
Indian Point beach.  Tropical.
Vancouver's rugged mountains in the distance.
Entrance to the beach.
Rigger's the local pub...and only pub on the island.
Taz enjoying a cold beverage on the deck.
The next morning we were off to explore other beaches.
Sea sculpture.
Sand dollar.
Striations of sand on the beach.
Complimentary dog watering station on trail.
Prmitive signs.
Trail through the forest.
Another sneak peak.
Bench at the old abandoned air field.
Duck beach in the morning.
Teh Savary Island General Store and Icy Cream Shop.
The main drag through town.
Road sign.
South Point.
Driftwood sculpture.
Black sand.
My great island bike with dog.
Wooden tennis court.
South beach driftwood shelter.
South beach looking north.
Umbrella.
Hammock and tent in driftwood compound.
Driftwood sculpture.
Beach houses lining the bluff.
The bike shop.
Taz encounters his first deer.
Momma deer and one of her fawns.
Wall at the water taxi.
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