Friday, August 19, 2011

British Columbia's Sunshine Coast: Exploring Halfmoon Bay & Sechelt


Sunset at Rockwater Secret Cove Resort in Halfmoon Bay.


The Sunshine Coast is one of my favorite places in British Columbia. Stretching 177 km (110 miles) along the northeast shores of the Strait of Georgia from Gibsons to Powell River and Desolation Sound, it's an area you can get blissfully get lost in. And no surprise that Canadian legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell lives here.

You can get there by Tofino Air (float plane) or BC Ferries. Traveling by ferry is the least expensive way to go, from either West Vancouver to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast (40 minutes), or Comox on Vancouver Island to Powell River (1 hour and 20 minutes). By sea or air, it's a beautiful trip.


Aboard BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast.


I've been lucky to stay at Rockwater Secret Cove Resort in Halfmoon Bay on two different occasions: once in the Tent House Suites, and most recently in the main lodge (pictured above). During my most recent visit, I booked one of the Poolside Rooms, located in the lodge. It featured a deluxe queen-size bed, fireplace, flat screen TV and a jet tub for two (with rain forest shower). You'll also find robes, a mini fridge, coffee and tea maker, iPod docking station and free WiFi.

In nearby Sechelt, go kayaking with Alpha Adventures -- they also have a retail store in Powell River. Alpha offers full-day kayak tours, along with sunset and full moon tours. All equipment is provided, and of course you'll be with a guide. Lunch is included on the full-day tour.

Another fun outdoor adventure is Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park. Established in 1957, there are trails and viewing areas to see the turbulent tidal rapids, where 200 billion gallons of water flow through the narrows connecting Sechelt and Jervis Inlet. Speeds can exceed 30km/hour (about 20 mph), and the rapids are known for their whirlpools and whitewater.


Upcoming Events on the Sunshine Coast

Sept. 3-4, 2011: 30th Annual Sunshine Music Festival (Palm Beach, Powell River). The Labour Day weekend festival features Daniel Wesley, the Paperboys, Danny Michel and more.

Sept. 16-18, 2011: Pender Harbour Jazz Festival (Pender Harbour). Now in its 15th year, 25 of the 29 performances are non-ticketed. That means they're free!

Oct. 21-23, 2011: Sunshine Coast Art Crawl (from Langdale to Lund). A free weekend of arts presented by the Coast Cultural Alliance.


Photos by Sue Frause