Maple Bay Marina – A Safe-haven for Boaters Since 1945
7th February 2022
Secluded and sheltered, Maple Bay Marina is nestled in the southern reach of Bird’s Eye Cove on southeast Vancouver Island. The approach is straightforward with adequate depth. Once within the confines of Maple Bay a mid-channel buoy marks the northern end of a navigation channel and no wake zone.
Hail the marina on VHF Ch. 66A for your slip assignment.
Unlike many other marinas in southern British Columbia, Maple Bay Marina is not located adjacent to a charming seaside village, but it does feature all most everything a visiting boater requires or needs. Moreover, its secluded and rural ambience allows for a peaceful and relaxing visit.
In 1990 the Messier family of Calgary, Alberta, purchased Maple Bay Marina. Nearly 20 years ago, energetic, and hospitable David and Carol Messier relocated and took over the management from David’s parents and they have been making improvements ever since.
Maple Bay Marina is a village in itself.
When Carol is asked where the name Bird’s Eye Cove comes from, she responds, “If you use a bit of imagination as you look at the chart, you will see that Sansum Narrows is the body, Burgoyne Bay on Saltspring Island is the tail, and the southern end of Maple Bay is the eye of the bird.”
The marina offers transient slips; however, reservations are suggested during the summer months. The marina has the necessary – fuel, pumpout, propane, water, garbage, washrooms, showers, laundromat, and Wi-Fi facilities on the docks. Along with 15/30/50-amp power.
Plenty of guest moorage.
The Mariners Market & Espresso Bar is well stocked with dried and canned goods, fresh local produce, meat, and frozen foods. You can enjoy their breakfast bar, or their hand-dipped ice cream, which is a special treat. Also available is local art, pottery, jewelry, books, greeting cards and nautical coffee mugs, and a lounge area with Wi-Fi.
The grounds offer a park like setting to stroll around, and visitors can appreciate the old, red painted engines and other maritime artifacts placed around the premises. There is also a picnic pavilion and barbecue area for boating group functions. Individuals are welcome to use the facility when not reserved.
Red painted maritime artifacts are placed around the marina grounds.
On site is The Shipyard Restaurant & Pub, housed in a converted boat building facility packed full of memories of Maple Bay and Birds Eye Cove. Lunch, and dinner are served seven days a week year-round and there is live music in the pub on the weekends.
The grounds are park-like.
If you want to or visit the area’s sites the marina offers shuttle service to the nearby town of Duncan for a minimal fee. Duncan is known as the “city of totems,” and visitors can take a self-guided tour by following the painted footsteps beginning at the Cowichan Valley Museum at the Train Station. Another attraction is the BC Forest Discovery Centre with its historic steam operated logging equipment, locomotives, and trucks. Many boaters enjoy visiting the Cuw’utsun’ Cultural Centre, operated by the Cowichan First Nation with its large carving house and numerous exhibits. Or tour The Raptor, a nature center that specializes in training and caring for the birds of prey.
If you and your crew need a bit of exercise, visitors have a couple options. The first is hike one of the many trails on Mount Tzouhalem (“zoo-hay-lum”). Trail maps are available at the fuel dock or Mariners Market & Espresso Bar.
Another is to launch the dinghy or kayak and explore the sheltered waters of the inner lagoon south of Chisholm Island. The tight passage prevents large vessels from entering the shallow lagoon.
(Deane Hislop In Partnership with Freedom Marine)