I have visited many of our islands nearby and have even shared a couple of those visits here and here. Yet, until last week I had never been to Mayne Island. It is certainly quieter than Salt Spring Island and even quieter than Pender Island, and I think that is definitely part of the charm. Perhaps it was arriving on a Thursday morning, because as we pulled our car into the only real shopping village at Miners Bay, the quiet was at once overwhelming having just left Victoria and at the same time so completely relaxing. I think it was that complete change in pace that presented that Gulf Island way of life actually in colour in front of me, certainly more so than the more populated islands.
For our trip we had rented the cottage at the Ravens Ridge. It was a beautiful spot on the southern end of the island. The property itself has an 18 hole Frisbee golf course and was about a fifteen minute walk to the Mayne Island Resort on Bennett Bay. The resort has a good restaurant and pub and has beautiful views over the water.
While on the island there are a couple of places to go shopping, in Miners Bay and then there is also a second set of stores close to the middle of the island with the largest one here called the Farmgate Store. The cafe here is excellent and I quite enjoyed the little bookstore as well. Still I am not sure that Mayne Island is really for tourist shopping. It does have some great places to go for a walk however.
Mount Parke Regional Park is located just about in the middle of the island. After a nice hike through the woods. As you begin to go up the side of the mountain you come out onto an amazing ridge. During our walk we hiked right past the lookout and kept climbing till we got to the real top of the mountain which has a huge radar tower and heli-pad on it. The views from up there are truly amazing, however if you don’t like heights there are some spots that make your tummy tingle for sure.
On another day, we went to the north west corner of the island to a place called Dinner Bay. I am not sure why it has that name, I certainly didn’t see a restaurant there. While it may not have a nearby cafe, it does have an amazing Japanese Garden (also another Frisbee golf course). The garden commemorates the many Japanese families that pioneered on Mayne Island and whose property was taken from them while they were put in internment camps during the Second World War. It is a beautiful garden and the mood was set just right with a heavy downpour at the time.
While all of the Southern Gulf Islands sit within the Gulf Islands National Park, each island has more or less actual physical national park space. On Mayne Island there is Bennett Bay, which has a great walking trail out to a point looking towards Samuel Island. On the walk back you can log hop along the beach which bends back towards the Mayne Island Resort again. The water here is shallow, sandy and crystal clear. Other articles I have read say that the water is swimmable due to its warmth in the summer and I can certainly believe it.
Another great walk along the water is out along St. John Point. The path here is less identifiable and is certainly not a well kept up as that in the National Park, still the view here is stunning and it helped that we were out there for the sunset. As you get further along you can see the ferry terminal on Saturna Island. We also saw a group of porpoises that keep popping their heads up as we skirted the edge of a cliff above the water.
There are many other walks to go on across the island and places to visit, however for me the best thing about Mayne, especially as I was spending many days there, was the quiet pace of life forced me to slow down. It was one of the most relaxing trips I have been on in years. If you have been to Mayne and have a favourite spot let me know in the comments.