Exploring Jedediah Island, the Hidden Gem

Exploring Jedediah Island, the Hidden Gem

Jedediah is my favourite island. It’s a small island tucked in between Texada Island and Lasqueti Island, and the entire 243 hectare island is a designated marine park! At some point after it was a park, Parks BC seemed to start to build a park ranger building or something in Long Bay. I suspect there was a change in funding and the project seemed to cease, with the structure still standing locked up, with a lone rocking chair in it. This island is rich with history and beautiful landscapes. The island has four registered archaeological sites, including an aboriginal fish weir.  Jedediah ranges from old growth Douglas fir trees, Arbutus trees, flat meadows, rocky coves, hills, mountains, sandy beaches and a vast array of birds.

The island is only accessible by boat, and with anchoring options somewhat limited, Jedediah offers tranquility that nothing else in the area can compare to. Jedediah Island is only a few hours from Nanaimo, but feels like you’re in a remote west coast island paradise. With improving cell service these days, Jedediah Island is one of the few places to go to truly unplug. There are a few spots to get reception when you stand on one leg and jump up and down, but I have found it’s an island paradise to truly unplug.

Anchoring options are limited, but there are various spots around the island to anchor, as well as in Boho Bay just off Lasqueti Island. The majority of the island is deep water stern tie, but there are a few options for just hanging on the hook, such as in Boho Bay. White Rock Bay does have a little surprise on the south side with a bolder exposed at low tide, so if you’re new to the area anchoring closer to low tide isn’t a bad idea, exposing mother nature’s surprises. I have anchored in numerous bays over the years, as well tucking in by the north entrance to Little Bull Passage.

For those that like to challenge rules and common sense, Jedediah Island is an island where you’re reminded to not. I have stern tide in Deep Bay before with a boat thinking it wouldn’t be a bad idea to just anchor outside of the bay in the channel. Just across from Deep Bay on Paul Island is a designated log boom location. I’ve seen tug boats show up at 3am to either drop off logs or to pick them up. Jedediah Island isn’t the Gulf Islands, it’s not a good playground for boaters who throw their anchor overboard and high five each other as they walk back to the cooler for more beverages.

The island was established as a Marine Provincial Park in 1995. The island was purchased from Al and Mary Palmer, who had owned the island since 1949, Al and Mary Palmer. Mary and Al bought it initially for vacationing, but eventually lived their full time. Mary had two dreams come true, the dream of owning and living on her own island paradise; and, the dream of ensuring the future preservation of the island in its paradisiacal state. Mary wrote a book about her life on Jedediah, and it has since become a best seller for local BC books.

The old house and barn where they lived can still be found in Home Bay, on the top of the hill overlooking the water. The heritage buildings are not kept up, so as the years go by the old structures are starting to crumble more and more. The orchard just down from the house is aging but still there, offering fruits such as apples and figs if you’re there in late July or August. There is no water on the island, but where the old garden once was just south of the orchard is a great spot to camp. The other camping option is just north of Driftwood Beach. The other year while enjoying an afternoon picnic in the field, we had the added ambiance of bagpipe music. A fellow cruiser apparently decided to pack their bagpipes and pay atop of the hill at the hold house! Every trip brings a memory. The last time we were there we chilled with the sheep, go here for it caught on video.

When Al and Mary Palmer left the island, they left behind goats, sheep and a horse named Will. Will has since passed away, but the island is still home to feral goats and sheep. When walking up the main trail from Long Bay to Home Bay, you pass by the Will’s grave that cruisers had put together to honour the memory of Will. When spending time on the island, you can always contribute to others cruisers work and help tidy and care for Will’s grave, as there is no island grave caretaker.

jedediah island

jedediah island

The island has a few trails throughout spanning around 3.5km, as marked on the park map, but my favourite afternoon pastime on the island is stumbling onto a sheep or goat trail and going for an explore. The goats and sheep bring special charm to the island. I’ve hiked all over the island via the sheep and goat trails and the hiking wouldn’t be the same without them. Following the sheep and goat trails is how I’ve stumbled onto the trail to the top of Mt. Gilbraltar.

There is a trail to hike up to the highest point of the island, Mt. Gibraltar. There are two ways to access Mt. Gibraltar, one from the south/east end of the field from Long Bay just off the trail, and from a relatively steep hike from a trail close to Driftwood Beach. We stumbled onto the trail from the field in Long Bay, and had a leisurely hike not knowing where the trail was going. The trail from this end is relatively easy, while the hike down the other way is quite steep and rocky, and not necessarily doable for dogs. The view from the top of Mt. Gibraltar is absolutely gorgeous, and offers a nice place to stop and relax before you hike back down. To prove that you actually made it to the top, there is a can with a notepad, where you can add your name/boat name and date you made the climb.

Jedediah Island is also surrounded by numerous other small islands, offering a wealth of other options as your outdoor playground. While I have not explored the south islands, I have had some fun exploring the island around Jervis Island. Hiking an old logging road, looking for some clams or oysters for dinner, suntanning on the beach or going for a swim, there are lots of options for how to spend your day.

Enjoy your next cruise to Jedediah Island and experience the little hidden gem of paradise!

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