Pender Island

A long weekend in Vancouver is definitely a good excuse for yet another trip away to the islands. With our friends, Lucy and Guy, we were Pender bound for three days of sunshine, craft beer and our newfound hobby: disc golf.

Pender Island is actually made up of two smaller islands, North Pender and South Pender, separated only by a small bridge. Even though together the islands are only small, the roads are winding and it takes longer than it should to get basically anywhere! 

There are lots of great walks on Pender Island, including climbing the short but steep Mt. Norman. At 244m high, losing your breath is absolutely worth it for the panoramic views of the San Juan Islands. Other good hikes include the ridge near Greenburn Lake, the hike to Roe Lake and also the Oak Bluffs trail. 

My favourite of the walks we did was to Brooks Point, an area that was meant to be good for whale watching and it was easy to see why. The views of the ocean stretched about 270° and the land was tussocky and golden; somewhat similar to what you might see in New Zealand. Unfortunately we didn’t see any whales, although there were plenty of seals and dolphins.  

In between our walks, we refueled at a number of yummy cafes. The Vanilla Leaf Bakery did simple but delicious food and coffee, Penderosa Pizza had a huge menu and nailed their execution, the Slow-Coast Cafe was incredibly slow but that was because there was only one person working and the food was still incredibly tasty and the food truck at Woods on Pender looked delightful but was closing when we arrived. We also never made it to Jo’s Place because it was closed (but it looked great) and ditto with the Sea Star winery. 

We were fortunate to be able to visit the Twin Island cidery, where we got to indulge in a variety of different ciders in the most delightful outdoor setting. The owner of the cidery was passionate and engaging, enchanting us all with his tales of cider and the cidery; it was an activity we all enjoyed very much. 

Another must do activity on Pender Island is visiting the market. There were lots of gorgeous crafts, home-made candles, art work and fresh produce. The market had adapted to be Covid-19 friendly impressively well, and we didn’t feel like we were unwelcome as we cautiously made our way around the stalls. 

In between self conducted craft beer tastings, deer spotting and board games at the house we discovered a new activity that all of us quickly became very fond of: disc golf.  Disc golf involves throwing frisbee like discs towards a chained net. It is essentially the same as par 3 golf, but with discs instead of clubs and a chained net instead of a hole. The course at Pender is particularly fun: the hilly, rocky terrain meant that the game was as much an adventure as it was a challenge, and the density of the trees kept the game relatively even. Since Pender, we’ve invested in discs and have played at a number of different courses around the city.

Our weekend on Pender was a marvellous one and definitely one of my favourite islands so far. Everything about it was great, except for maybe the windy roads! 

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