Pender Harbour

Whale of a Time at Pender Harbour

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Craig and I are living on the Sunshine Coast in Roberts Creek for two months this summer and man we feel lucky! Beaches, lakes, and lush parks, there is a reason they call it Beautiful B.C. Not even a fortnight in and my parents have followed us over so we hired a car and headed north to see what natural delights the Sunshine Coast has to offer starting with Pender Harbour.

Pender Harbour

Sunshine Coast Road Trip

Team Orrock and our driver, Craig, hired a car from Prime Rental in Sechelt (the big town, you’ll find McDs and Starbucks here) and hit the highway 101 to the north. The Sunshine Coast is so easy to navigate which was helpful for Craig driving on the wrong side of the road. We drove for less than an hour until we reached Madeira Park where our boat tour of Pender Harbour commenced.

Pender Harbour

The SloCat Boat tour by Slocat Harbour Tours was actually a recommendation by Martin, the manager of Up The Creek (Roberts Creek). He advised us that all of the small areas around Pender Harbour were reachable by wheels (there was no paved road access until the 60s!) but via the waves is an easier and more enjoyable experience.

Pender Harbour

Slocat Harbour Tours

We met our captain, Mark, at 3pm and set sail with another group of five. The boat was comfortable with padded seats and was equipped with a hand drawn map (Mark putting his Geography degree to use) and binoculars, which we used to spot bald eagles and blue heron but unfortunately not killer whales like the week before.

Pender Harbour

Pender Harbour

The beauty of the tour was not only what we could see – the mountains, the animals, fancy boats and plush houses but Mark’s knowledge and charm!
Pender Harbour Mark’s tour is not just a geography tour of the harbour but also a historical, cultural and political tour. He told us stories about shipwrecks, pressure for the input of First Nations, the Sechelt Indian Band and the bust and boom of the housing market.

Pender Harbour

Mark is originally from Vancouver but fell in love with Pender Harbour – the small drinking town with a fishing problem, after he accidentally stumbled across the area (mainly Ruby Lake) on an impromptu cycle trip. His previous resume not only includes a Geography degree but also tours around Whistler and a radio announcer so the transition to captain of the Slocat Tour was logical. It’s easy to see why he made the transition from life in The Big Smoke to the waves of Pender Harbour.


Address: 12967 Madeira Park Road
Contact: 1-604-741-3796
Email: [email protected]
Cost: $25 (Canadian) / £12.38 per person (Kids under 3 – free / Kids under 12 $15 / over 12 $35)

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Pender Harbour

Where was the best boat tour you’ve taken?

 

Thanks to Mark at Slocat Harbour Tours for our ride, honest review as always.

Gemma and Craig are full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

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  1. You are indeed fortunate to be spending time in Pender Harbour! I’ve explored much of Beautiful BC, but not yet the Sunshine Coast. Enjoy!

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  2. Great post – Mark looks like a lovely chap! It really does make a difference when a tour guide adds a little something extra. A bit more background and detail makes all the difference. Shame you didn’t spot the killer whales on this trip but great photos none the less :).

    Gabby

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  3. Sad that you didn’t see any whales! 🙁 That is such a treat. I think you’ll have to do another tour while you’re staying there! 😉

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      I recently watched the Youtube clip of the whale who was set free by some Joe Publics and then did a magical display for them. Made me smile!

  4. I’ve never heard of the Sunshine Coast in BC, but now I want to check it out.

    I love your adventure. Want a 3rd 30 year old to tag along?

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  5. This looks like tons of fun even without spotting the whales!! LOVE BC and hope to get back soon – there’s just so much to see and so much natural beauty and since I want to go whale watching, we’ll be looking for this tour when we do! One of my favourite boat tours was down the Seine River in Paris – It was a great way to see the city and, like your boat ride, our guide was great as well!

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  6. Can’t go wrong with a local guide on a boat trip. It certainly gives you a great view of the backdrop that is beautiful B.C. and I cannot lie, I am a sucker for little Canadian fishing towns

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  7. Cool stuff again guys!

    Love to see a bit more of Canada through your eyes now that we’ve left! 🙂

    Hmmm, best boat tour we’ve taken?

    Not best value by any means, but 5 days boating around the Galapagos was an incredible experience (closely followed by a slow boat down the Mekong… or the even slower boat from Iquitos in the Amazon, back to civilisation)!

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      I read your Galapagos post. I am so jealous! It looked well worth the money. I’ve never done a slow boat. Does it feel claustrophobic at all?

  8. For some reason we always seem to end up on boat tours when we travel! We did a great trip around Lake Como when we were in Italy a few months ago. Not really a tour. Just a public ferry but still amazing!

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  9. It really makes a difference if you have a knowledgeable and charming tour guide. I agree, sometimes, the place is so beautiful all you need to do is take it in and appreciate it. However, you know nothing about the place. Now, if you have an entertaining tour guide to educate you on that, then you not only see a beautiful place but you learn something or the story behind it which is also interesting. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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      Thanks Karla. I know some travellers like to wander and take everything in on a blank canvas but I am far too nosey for that! I wash the insider scoop before I start to investigate.

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