Pender Harbour is an orca habitat. These highly intelligent gentle giants, also known as “killer whales,” travel in pods of up to 100. Feeding on salmon found year-round in these waters, they grow up to nine meters (29.6 feet) long, weighing as much as eight tons. Keep your eyes on the water and your camera ready to capture their triangular dorsal fins slicing through the waves.
Just before Earls Cove, take the road north to Egmont, then the 3.5-kilometer (2.1-mile) hiking trail along Sechelt Inlet to Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park. Meaning “turbulent water” in Chinook, Skookumchuck is a narrow, rock-strewn waterway where tidal water roars through four times a day.
The resulting rapids and eddies boisterously boil and bubble to create fierce-looking whirlpools—fascinating to see when your feet are firmly planted on terra firma. You’ll also see abundant marine creatures in tidal pools. It’s a fascinating spot. Take a picnic lunch, pull up a rock, and enjoy the view.
Earls Cove marks the end of this section of Highway 101. From here, BC Ferries offers regular service across Jervis Inlet to Saltery Bay . The 16-kilometer (10-mile) crossing takes 50 minutes.