Home to a group of small islands just off Port Hardy, God’s Pocket Provincial Marine Park provides some of the best scuba diving and wildlife viewing on Vancouver Island. There is sheltered anchorage available, and the area offers plenty of opportunities for fishing and wildlife viewing.
Quick Park Facts
- Features: Wildlife viewing opportunities, in particular, whales and eagles; spectacular scuba diving area
- Park Size: 2,036 hectares (550 ha of upland and 1486 ha of foreshore)
- Trails: There are no developed trails in this park
- Suitability: Only accessible to boaters or by floatplane to the nearby lodge
- Camping: No designated campsties available, however, wilderness camping is allowed
- Washrooms: None. Please follow the “Leave No Trace” rule
- Pets: As this is a Provincial Park, dogs must remain on a leash at all times
A Bit of History
When thinking of “God’s Pocket,” one thinks of beauty. And when touring around the group of islands, you can see why this name was given to this particular area. However, its beauty isn’t the sole reason for the name. The islands also provide a pocket of protection from the harsh weather often blowing down from Queen Charlotte Strait.
The Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations people once inhabited the area, and several known archaeological sites have been found over the years.
Today, the area protects a seabird breeding colony, a Bald eagle habitat, and the known archaeological sites.
It’s also home to a lone retreat called God’s Pocket Resort, specializing in cold water diving, kayaking and wildlife tours.
The islands are allegedly inhabited by Sasquatch People, otherwise known as Big Foot. The name Sasquatch comes from the Coast Salish word sasqac, which means a mythical being much larger in stature than humans, that is both immensely powerful and has advanced spiritual abilities. They are said to walk upright, like humans, but are covered from head to toe in hair.
So if you are boating around the area, make sure to keep your eye out for one of these creatures. 😉
God’s Pocket Provincial Marine Park
This undeveloped park is comprised of a group of islands at the entrance to Queen Charlotte Strait. Among this group are Hurst, Bell, Boyle, and Crane Islands, plus numerous smaller islets.
Obviously, I can’t guarantee you’ll see wildlife, but there’s a pretty decent chance you will. Orcas (killer whales), Pacific White-sided dolphins, and harbour seals are commonly seen. And on a more infrequent basis, Humpback and Gray whales, along with Stellar sea lions, can be spotted, as well. As this park protects a Bald eagle habitat, there’s a pretty great chance you’ll see a few. In fact, on the east side of the island, there is a large tree that many of them like to hang out on. Other frequently seen bird species found in God’s Pocket include auklets, oystercatchers, cormorants, and petrels.
There are no designated campsites at this park, however, random wilderness and beach camping is allowed. No fee is charged, and no facilities are provided. You must practice the “leave no trace” camping ethics, which means everything you bring in must leave with you!
Fishing for salmon, halibut and rockfish is a popular sport in this park. You must be licenced to do so and follow the Provincial regulations to ensure the area is open to fishing while there.
If you are seeking a guided tour to God’s Pocket Provincial Marine Park, check these options out:
God’s Pocket Provincial Marine Park is located on the north side of Goletas Channel, approximately 10 km northwest of Port Hardy on northern Vancouver Island. The park can be accessed by boat or floatplane (to the lodge) from Port Hardy. Boaters, please reference marine chart #3549 for more details.
The nearest boat launch is at Bear Cove Park in Port Hardy. There is a free boat launch, parking and day-use area. There are also reserved slips available for weekly or nightly moorage for a fee.
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