After making coffee, I packed up and headed back to Otter Bay to catch the 11:05AM ferry to Mayne Island.
Mayne Island is nestled among the Southern Gulf Islands in British Columbia's Georgia Strait about midway between Victoria and Vancouver. The rustic island covers an area of approximately 25 square miles, and was named after Lieutenant Richard Mayne, who served aboard the H.M.S. Plumper during the 1850's.
Canadian Pacific Railway Ferries originally stopped at Miners Bay in Active Pass, dating back to the early 1900s when Mayne Island became an important stopover point for miners traveling north from Victoria to the Fraser River and the Caribou gold rush. Later the ferry dock was moved to Village Bay, a "village" in name only. Miners Bay is actually the village, and the island's business center, with many historical buildings and commercial outlets.
Today, Mayne is home to nearly 900 year-round residents. During the summer season, the population grows to around 3000. Most part-time residents have vacation homes here and many visitors stay in rented accommodations such as the Springwater Lodge, in Miner's Bay.
Springwater Lodge is where I decided to stay for the night Built in 1892, the old Springwater Lodge is one of British Columbia’s oldest running hotels. During the Fraser River and the Caribou gold rush, the lodge was a favorite stopover for miners. Conveniently located at the head of the Government Wharf, the original owner began offering rooms for lodgers in 1895.
There are six basic rooms upstairs in the lodge, but only four are usually available since two are used by full time residents. Three of the six face the bay. The rooms are "old timey" basic with a bed, small chest, small table and light on the ceiling (no electrical plugs in the rooms, no outside door locks). The rooms share a shower and toilet upstairs, but during my stay, the toilet was out of commission and was directed to use the bathroom downstairs. The bathroom and showers were not clean and carpets were in dire need of vacuuming. But sheets and towels were fresh.
Overlooking Active Pass, the views are fabulous from the deck of the restaurant and pub. The pub fare is good and the staff is friendly. The Wi-Fi is decent. The lodge is a step back in time, but it needs maintenance, and a good cleaning service. Many TripAdvisor reviewers say "eat here but don't sleep here."
Several two bedroom waterfront cabins with kitchenettes are also available.
In the afternoon, I rode to the Northeast side of the island to visit the Active Pass Lighthouse. Situated on Georgina Point, at Active Pass, the area is characterized by rocky bluffs and a coastal Douglas fir ecosystem.
The light station consists of a 45 ft white concrete cylindrical light tower which was built in 1969, an engine/radio room, a residence, a large garage and workshop and several small outbuildings. The light at Georgina Point was originally established in 1885, and has considerable local historical importance to the community. The site was automated and de-staffed in 1997. The light continues to be in active service as a navigational aid, used by vessels transiting Active Pass as well as those passing in Georgia Strait.
On the way to the lighthouse, I visited St. Mary Magdalene Church, an Anglican church built in 1897. An early Church steeple cross was donated and carved by local islanders. "God and Ocean" are carved in Japanese characters on the cross identifying the Church and its location adjacent to Active Pass in Miners Bay.