Winter Cove on Saturna Island is one of my favourite anchorages in the Gulf Islands. It offers beautiful views, a walking trail in the marine park and it’s only a short dinghy ride to the public dock in Lyall Harbour. Saturna Island can sometimes feel a little more out of the way than other Gulf Islands for a weekend destination, but depending on your home port, it can be a shorter trip than going to Salt Spring Island.
As you approach Winter Cove, passing Minx Reef can also be a special reef for some of us on the West Coast. Sadly from the water the wreck is no longer visible, but in 2007, the Robertson II ran aground on Minx Reef. The Robertson II was a 130 foot Novia Scotia Dory fishing schooner. For some of us growing up on the West Coast, the Robertson II was a boat we sailed on as kids, or did restoration work for student summer employment. It’s always a sad sight to see a beautiful ship on the rocks. For the first couple years a portion of the ship was still visible, but now, paddling over the reef you’re not able to see anything. The following photos were taken closer to 2007.
The other weekend while anchored in Winter Cove we thought we’d venture to the public dock for a little land adventure. Taking a quick look at Apple Maps for potential destinations, we quickly found this cute coffee shop called Wild Thyme Coffee House not far from the pubic dock. Looking at their Facebook page and website it looked liked they should be open, and a quick phone call confirmed they were. We’ll ignore that perhaps a customers originally answered the phone and the phone call was a little less straightforward than one would expect, but really, when on the Gulf Islands one must learn to adapt to Gulf Island time.
Wild Thyme Coffee House is a two minute walk from the public docks at Lyall Harbour and is absolutely adorable. Aleah Johnson, the owner, turned an old 1963 British Double Decker into a coffee house. She turned the lower level of the Double Decker bus into her kitchen and sales window, and outfitted the upper level as coffee house seating, including an electric fireplace and old board games for those cozy winter days. For these warmer days, there was ample outdoor seating, and not sparing any details, there were lovely flowers at every table.
Wild Thyme Coffee House had a great selection of coffee, teas, baked goods and sandwiches. Us just coming from brunch on the boat, we opted for a slice of lemon loaf and two different takes she had on a London Fog. Both her London Fogs were delicious and the lemon loaf didn’t disappoint. Espresso on the boat is always good, but there’s nothing like sitting in a Gulf Island coffee shop to help you settle into relaxing island time, helping you to forget your busy city week.
After you’ve had your caffeine, if you walk another five minutes up the road there are two lovely little arts and craft shops, This-n-That Arts and Crafts and Dreamscapes Studio. Do a little shopping at local arts and crafts shops, go kayaking with Ocean Rivers Sports, or stroll back to the dinghy, stopping at the Saturna Pub for a little refresher before heading back to Winter Cove.
We loved our little land excursion. Winter Cove on Saturna Island is an absolutely lovely way to spend the weekend!