Savary Island: a slice of Canadian paradise

A slice of local paradise located about a 15 minute water taxi away from Lund, Savary Island is a trip worth making – it ended up being one of my favourite days of our trip. We had some big ticket options on our agenda, basically it came down to choosing one of Desolation Sound, Thormanby Island, Princess Louisa Inlet or Savary Island. We ended up picking Savary Island for its relative ease, its beach appeal and the fact that it was considerably cheaper than any of the other options.

Savary Island sits at 7.5km long and only about a kilometre wide. It has about 300 permanent residents, although this apparently increased during Covid last year. There is no power and roads are barely maintained: you’re not actually allowed to take a vehicle on the island unless you are a property owner. Most people seem to get around on scooters or golf carts, which gave us real South East Asian tourist vibes! It mostly consists of sandy beaches and bushland, great for hiking in. Apparently it has the warmest water north of Mexico… I think I remain unconvinced on this point though.

Our day started by driving up the coast from Saltery Bay Provincial Park to Lund, BC. Lund is a teeny tiny village, not much more than a marina, and probably not that notable but for it being the very end of Highway 101 (which apparently travels all the way through to Chile) and also the fact it is a launch point to nearby islands and Desolation Sound. We parked our car on the side of the highway with all the other cars and walked into the village.

We booked tickets for the 15 minute water taxi to the island ($12 each way, so $48 total) and with the twelve minutes we had spare before the taxi left on the hour, we ducked over to Nancy’s Bakery where we had heard rave reviews about the cinnamon buns. The line up was long, so we were anxiously watching the clock hoping we would have time to grab a bun before our boat left. There were three flavours (original, apple and blackberry) – I couldn’t resist the apple, and Andy also grabbed a Nanaimo bar before we raced back to jump on the boat. Success! 

Shortly after, we were pulling up to the island. We headed off the dock and joined the small congregation of people meandering along the road and up the hill. We shortly found ourselves outside the bike shop, where unfortunately we were too late to hire (decent) bikes for the day. We were offered two junk buckets, but without a discount we decided we would give it a miss. I had grave concerns I would end up walking my bike most places anyway. Instead we opted to walk our way past the General Store, which sold everything from liquor to fresh produce to baked goods and coffee. We got a coffee to add to our treats from Nancy’s and then made our way to the beach.

We had been advised to follow Patricia Crescent to the beach access, which enabled us to hit the sand early (ideal because we didn’t have bikes to boost around on). We walked along the beach to Duck Bay and back again, enjoying the sand, the lapping water and the seagulls overhead. For the first time in a really long time, I was on a beach which I could imagine finding in NZ. 

We set up on the beach in front of one of the many houses with views. Steep staircases wound down the side of the hill from the houses to where we were sitting, essentially giving everyone staying at those houses their own private access. We soaked up the sunshine, eventually making our way down to the water to dabble in a swim. Andy was much more successful than I: I found the water much more crisp than even the lake we had swum in the day before. Apparently the ocean is usually warmer (mmhmm) but the wind over the previous few days had stirred up the water, bringing in cooler temperatures.

We had pre-booked our ferry back so we left the beach in ample time to wander the lanes on our journey to the dock. There is a dispensary, a farmers market and a few cafes on the island, however these are all very seasonal and not open as we walked past. Lucky we left the beach when we did though, as we stumbled across three deer who ended up being pretty interested in us and delayed us somewhat. We made it back to the ferry just in time to get seats on the roof – having the wind whipping in our hair as we raced back across the strait was the perfect way to round out the day.

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