Steph’s Day Out – Sidney Spit

by Stephanie Staples | photos by Janis Jean Photography – 

What’s to escape from when you live on the Peninsula? Nothing really: we live in a postcard already, but if you want an island getaway within your island life getaway, look no further than Sidney Spit.

A draw amongst tourist, boaters and residents alike, a day at the Spit is about as close to Hawaii as you can get without getting on a plane. For the more adventurous, pack up your tent, sleeping bag and cook stove and spend the night at one of their reservable sites.

Seeing a perfect weather day in the forecast, I booked two tickets on the Sidney Spit Ferry for myself and my daughter, Kara, who was visiting from Winnipeg. For a modest price, a little passenger ferry will pick you and yours up from the Sidney downtown waterfront. Be sure to check exact location for pickup, as we found out it had changed, giving us a bit of a stressful run to the proper departure spot! Note to self – read the small print!

Nonetheless, we were greeted by Natalia, first mate and the extra eyes and ears and hands to Captain Mike. She loaded us up, briefed us on our day’s adventures and we set sail – minus the sail, of course.

It was a delightful 30-ish minute ride and it allowed a cool vista, seeing Sidney getting smaller and smaller in the distance as we progressed.

Upon arrival we were informed that a cougar had been spotted in the area … which I found funny because usually it’s the cheetahs who are spotted! (lol.) Anyway, we were told we should just use common sense if we see the cougar – and since neither of us have much common sense regarding cougars, we decide that Janis the photographer’s picnic will make an adequate sacrifice for said wildlife*.

The hiking on the Spit is lovely, pleasant and I would say easy given that it is mainly a flat piece of land. We walked for an hour or so and returned back to the main beach to enjoy our picnic – doesn’t everything just taste better outside?

Be warned that there is no place to get water, food or other such pleasures, so plan accordingly. There is, most importantly, a couple of pit toilets tucked away, and we extend much gratitude to Parks Canada for maintaining these for us; toilet paper included!

After our tummies were satiated, it was off for a little beach time and the flavour of the day was frisbee – a little in the water and a little out. I hadn’t played in a while and it was all sorts of fun!

The times that the ferry runs can change and the day we went there were fewer sailings because of low tide, so our day was a bit shorter than I would have liked. Next time I’ll take the first ferry out and the last one home. Important note: don’t miss the last ferry because if you do, it’s all on you to figure out the Plan B!

In the late afternoon, with the breeze blowing in our hair, we watched Sidney get bigger before our eyes. Captain Mike, previously a captain on BC Ferries, told me he had “a dream job” now and one of the things he loved most about his job was that the people on board were always happy.

And why wouldn’t we be; we just spent a beautiful day on the Spit!

As Kara said, it was a beautiful little island on which to unplug and unwind with a quiet forest walk or beach lounging.
*No cougar was fed in the research of this article, phew.

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