I know summer is drawing to a close and school is back in next week, but I noticed this morning that the forecast had changed – where rain was called for on the weekend, it now looks like the sun will be out on Saturday and Sunday. This could be one of the last weekends of the year to enjoy some beach time on our beautiful island. While sandy beaches seem to be few-and-far-between in the Sooke Region, when you find one you’ll want to return again and again.
I had seen Fishboat Bay Park on the CRD Atlas when I was responding to some questions from a potential buyer for an ocean-view acreage I have listed nearby. I didn’t realize it was a nice sandy beach until last week when I saw some pictures from a friend of mine on Facebook. My family and I were looking for something to do on Sunday, so after a great lunch on the patio at Stickleback, we headed west toward French Beach and Fishboat Bay.
The bay is a Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Community Park, and its entrance is well marked at the end of Fishboat Bay Road, just a short drive past the entrance to French Beach Provincial Park. A set of stairs was built in 2012, so if you remember having to traverse a slope using a rope in the past, you will be pleased to know it’s now much more accessible. Unlike other beaches such as Aylard Farm (East Sooke Park), the distance from your car to the beach is very short, which is great if you’re hauling some picnic gear and wrangling kids. I made the trip to and from the van three times and it was no big deal.
Walking down the stairs, you’ll see the gorgeous clear water of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains in the background. The stairs are steep but there aren’t too many of them. At the bottom of the stairs there is a nice ribbon of fine sand stretching across part of the bay. The tide comes quite high, so make sure you check the tides before you go and avoid the beach at high tide. At low tide, you should be able to explore the much larger shoreline; we were there on a rising tide so were limited to the beach in front of us.
I played fetch with the dog while my 2 year old daughter made “sand angels,” with predictable, gritty results. There was only one other family on the beach when we were there, but I suspect this could be a busy spot on a nice hot day.
I also took a short stroll down the beach towards its eastern edge, flanked by rocky outcrops of black basalt. Wading in the water, I found an interesting little cove, where a massive monolithic granite bolder stood alone amongst the sand and contrasting basalt.
If you go:
– The beach is easy to find. It’s just a short 24 km drive from the centre of Sooke to Fishboat Bay Road. Park at the end of the road (don’t block driveways) and walk down the stairs to the beach.
– Check the tides – there won’t be much beach there at high tide.
– There are NO facilities. No water, toilets, nothing.
– Pack out your garbage.
Share your pictures of your adventure to Fishboat Bay on Facebook.com/WhatTheSooke!