ACTIVITIES & NATURE
Activities at the Quarrybbean abound. In the great outdoors, family and friends that play together, bond together. Some activities are more robust than others but there are lots of choices. Paddle boarding is easy to learn, as is kayaking. Experience the zen of being on the water by yourself, propelled by yourself. The introspection is healthy and calming. Most water activities can be observed from the docks or upper decks. There's no guilt for chilling out. The more you relax, the more you tune in to the island vibe. The spirit of nature welcomes those that are in harmony with all living things.
After a refreshing seaside dip, rinse off in our outdoor driftwood shower stall. It's a rare 'shower with a view' and a convenient changing room. Hiking and lake swims are the best way to immerse yourself into 'island time.' In fact, loose track of time, just by wandering the many rugged shorelines or try beach combing. You never know what you'll find.
Nature is everywhere. Out on the water or in our backwood trails and forests, if you listen carefully, you'll hear the sounds of nature all around. Hear the rustling leaves and swishing branches from a strong breeze, or snapping twigs of a nearby deer. The tapping noise of woodpeckers, hooting owls, hum of humming birds and dragonflies, screeching eagles, or loon calls, can make any day special.
Other favourites might be the low overhead swooping sounds of an eagle's wings, followed by a momentary shadow, or the exhilaration from hearing the billowing exhale of a surfacing whale, followed by a plume of heavy white spray that drifts into the sea air. Ever experienced the magic of phosphorescence? It's all here. There are special moments of discovery if you just slow down, observe and absorb! Nature has been around forever. Mankind, not so much.
Saltwater fishing (salmon, cod, red snappers, shiners & perch)
Fresh water fishing (trout)
Hiking (many trails to and around 2 lakes)
Kayaking (2 provided)
Swimming (salt & fresh water)
Canoeing (1 provided at Big Quarry Lake)
Skin Diving (bring your own mask, snorkel & fins)
Sailing (bring your own boat)
Rowing (2 row boats available)
Beach Combing (endless shorelines & special beach areas)
Scuba Diving (bring your own equipment)
Cliff Jumping (designated areas only)
Paddle Boarding (2 provided)
Bird Watching (2 binoculars provided)
Wind and Kite Surfing (bring your own equipment or watch others)
Star, Planet and Meteor Gazing (incredible evening skies!)
Storm Watching (when weather gets nasty)
Water Skiing & Wake Boarding (bring your own boat or watch others)
Whale Watching (Humpback & Killer, when they show up)
Mountain Biking (bring your own)
Photography & Videos (bring your camera, lens, batteries and charger)
Indoor/Outdoor Cooking and Dining (barbeque)
Yoga, Meditation, or Naptime… on the dock, deck, hammock, beach
or in the forest
Our fleet consists of two kayaks, two paddleboards, two row boats and a canoe, including all paddles, oars and life-jackets, even floaties! The Nelson Ranger is a 17.5 foot welded aluminum boat with a 50 horse outboard motor. Alistair and/or his designate, are the only ones authorized to use it. It’s possible that they may take smaller groups out for a boat ride or to explore the shoreline. Don’t be too shy to ask but a contribution towards gas and oil would be in order. A possible reconnaissance mission into Maderia Park for more supplies can be negotiated.
If you’re just ‘learning’ how to use our water toys, don’t worry. Your host can offer a lesson. We even have one-person ‘floaties’ that you can drift around in while enjoying a beverage or snack. The safest and best place to jump into the water is at the bottom of the elevator landing. Its approx. ten feet at high tide and potentially
25 feet at an extreme low tide! Everyone on the dock can watch or take videos! Nothing beats a selfie like a slofie.
Hiking, Biking & Swimming
There’s salt and fresh water swimming. Down by the dock is the most popular but the lakes are special too. Extensive trails have been forged over the past 30 years on a volunteer basis and are predominately used to get to and from the lakes. However, several others can take you elsewhere. and most are mountain bike friendly too. There’s actually a third lake, (next to BQL,) that’s like a very large pond with a beaver lodge. If you are a serious hiker, there's even more challenging ones. If that’s your desire, bring more robust boots, provisions, a compass app, and hiking stick. In 2019 a new trail was created. It will lead you to Fearney Point with staggering and expansive views from a massive cliff on the south-west corner of Nelson Island.
Big Quarry Lake, (BQL) is the largest and it has two islands. The largest island is at the far end and is a long canoe or row but great for a longer excursion. A much smaller island that’s fun to swim out to is close to when you first see the lake. The lakes are several degrees warmer than the ocean. Its way quieter too (with no boat engines) and there will be times where you might be the only ones there! Scream all you want but it’ll come back as an echo! This lake is a source of drinking water but for another development on the west side of Quarry Bay, known as West Quarry Estates. Always be considerate to those that you might meet on the trails. They are likely other owners, friends or guests. Remember to take a small plastic bag for empties and garbage. What goes there doesn’t stay there.
BQL is an easy 15 minute hike from our property. The trail takes you down to the end of a narrow channel where a creek drains into it. You can cross a wooden bridge then follow the creek up to the lake through a bit of a fern patch. Once at the lake head, where the creek commences, there are options for swimming spots. We will provide you with trail maps.
One option is to keep going straight for quite a distance, towards the far end but eventually you’ll spot a mini-lake on the right that has a beaver lodge. This is where they live but not really where they work or explore. We’ve had groups venture up to BQL at midnight for a swim but its more advisable with a full moon and after you know the terrain. It’s an adventurous option and a minimum of 5 people is advised.
Little Quarry Lake – (LQL), is accessed from the east side of Quarry Bay. You can do a combined effort of rowing, paddle boarding and kayaking to get to the other strata dock, known as “Harbour Float.” It’s used and maintained by the strata owners and is common property. From there, it's about a 12 to 15 minute hike that commences with a fairly steep climb to our favorite swimming hole. Close by is a small anchored raft to swim out to. Bring the floaties if you plan on making it an afternoon outing. Bring snacks and beverages too. We’ll provide the backpacks. Our drinking water comes from this lake. It goes to a chlorinator shed where it gets treated then pumped to all the strata lots. Please be conscious of this when swimming or running water back at the cabin. Water conservation during July and August is important.
This is a west coast gem! It’s a crescent moon-shaped pebble beach that’s within a 10 to 12 minute boat ride north, from our dock. This is an anomaly for Nelson Island. We have jagged granite shorelines everywhere but not at this beach. It faces south and gets pounded by the south-easterly winds. It has piles of small driftwood and large sun-bleached silvery white logs, all jammed into place during the notorious winter ‘king’ high tides. It’s great for beachcombing, swimming, lounging, and exploring. Also ideal for some alone time and leisurely beach walk with your special partner.
Harry Roberts’ family are the ones who settled on the Sunshine Coast in what is now known as Robert’s Creek. Later in life, Harry found this spectacular beach and retired there in 1929. Eventually he built a log cabin cottage, which he called ‘Sunray’. It’s still there and open for visitors to view. He lived off of fish, his vegetable garden and orchard, but rowed into Pender Harbour for all his other needs. He lived there with his wife until they were too old, reluctantly abandoning this slice of island paradise. Currently owned by BC Hydro, there’s talk of making it a marine park for all boaters to enjoy in perpetuity.
It’s a special spot to spend an afternoon or catch the sinking sun. A small rocky outcropping in front and a few nearby islets serve as nesting and gathering grounds for cormorants, seagulls, red-billed oyster catchers, and other shore birds. Seal Moms nurse and teach their pups to feed. Lots to explore and soak in the vibe of the windswept trees, aging logs and pebbles in all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes. It has a distinct vibe as it faces onto Malaspina Strait, where it’s ideal to watch passing tugs, barges, log booms and migrating whales and other mammals.
Visible to the south by several hundred meters, are the badly rusted steel struts holding up a giant conveyor belt that used to carry the various grades of gravel and sand onto waiting barges. The overgrown deciduous patch of trees is where an open gravel pit once operated. Now it’s a relic of a commercial boom from a distant past. Nature has reclaimed the land as it should.
If you want to experience the grand feeling of being exposed to open waters, with no human inhabitants around, this is that spot. Across the Malaspina Strait is Texada Island and way off in the distance looking south, are the sand cliffs of Thormanby Island. Further south, are the sand cliffs of UBC and Vancouver, the Gulf Islands, and the U.S.A.
* If you want to know how Nelson Island got its name (too long of a great story to cut short), I advise you Google - Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount. He is better known as Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson, one of Britain’s most famous naval officers who lead epic victories during the Napoleonic Wars. He met his demise during his victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. There’s a column monument in Nelson’s honor at Trafalgar Square, in London, England. (It’s all fascinating reading for history buffs.)
As folk lore has it, in one of his epic battles, when the English were drastically outnumbered by the Spanish armada, and he was advised to retreat, he put the telescope up to his blind eye (lost in a previous encounter) and declared that victory was imminent. He ordered the attack, and his fleet entered the fray and won! Hence the near-by marine chart names of Telescope Passage and Blind Bay.
Fishing, Sight Seeing and Charters
If you would like to do some serious fishing for salmon or bottom fish, we have relationships with local fishing charters.They can pick you up from our dock and take you out front for great fishing in a comfortable, safe boat that’s fully rigged with all the electronics and fish finders.
Fishing licenses are required. Reservations are advised, but always weather dependent.
Sight-seeing with a charter boat or float plane company can be arranged. Go for a day or afternoon trip. Sometimes, being out in the Malaspina Strait can be a bit adventurous and if lucky, very lucky, you might spot whales!
A one to two hour plane ride could take you over the Malaspina Strait to other gulf islands, to Desolation Sound, Princess Louisa Inlet with endless waterfalls and the picturesque Chatterbox Falls, over Malibu Rapids and the famous Skookumchuck Rapids, Whistler and Blackcomb mountains or even over downtown Vancouver and Howe Sound! See URL links below.
If this is your first Quarrybbean stay, you will have the owner, Alistair Palmer (or designate), on call to assist you like a Guide to some of these special spots. Feed him well and he'll make sure you don't get lost or forgotten. He knows the best swimming holes and observation spots.
Rent a Motor Boat
It is possible to rent a motor boat from Pender Harbour but they’re not cheap and you will need to make reservations well in advance. If interested, try these possible boat rental marinas below.
Pender Harbour Resort & Marina … phrm.ca
John Henry’s Resort & Marina … johnhenrysresortmarina.com
Sunshine Coast Resort … sunshinecoast-resort.com
You can expect to see many species of land and water based animals but not necessarily in any one visit. If you are lucky you might get to see mink, sea otters, raccoons, deer, beavers, salamanders, turtles, seals, lizards, snakes, bats, dragon flies, birds galore and other forest mammals and reptiles. There are bears, cougars and wolves on the island but they avoid human activity, especially during the summer months. No one has ever been attacked by any animal within our strata. Use caution and common sense and you won't be the first.
Swimming can also be enjoyed down by our private dock. The trails have been forged over the years by the strata’s owners on a volunteer basis and are predominately used to go to the lakes but there are several that can take you elsewhere. Most of them are mountain bike friendly. There’s actually a third lake (next to BQL) that is like a very large pond that has a beaver lodge. Every year there’s a day set aside for trail blazing and repairs. With blow downs, trail maintenance is necessary. If you are a serious hiker, there are challenging trails for you. If that’s your desire, bring more serious boots and provisions.