In 1741 Spanish explorer, Navarez came looking for riches and wealth and found a lush northern Gulf Island, glittering like a jewel on the bosom of the Salish Sea. He left empty handed but gave the island its name - Texada.
Throughout Texada's recorded history this rugged 27 miles long island has continued to lure independent minded visitors and entrepreneurs to her shores. She yields up her treasures grudgingly, and her protected harbours are just one of them. Sturt Bay is one such sanctuary. It lies next to the community of Van Anda on the northeast shores of the island, but is still a mystery to much of the west coast boating fraternity.
Texada has a rich mining history that began in the 1880's and 90's, and the Bay, as it was known then, was the center of the action. Captain Sturt of 'Pig War' fame renamed it in 1901, along with registering the first lot on the island. In 1900 side-by-side cities, Texada City and Van Anda boasted three hotels, a hospital, and 3,000 citizens. They rivalled San Francisco and bustled with miners from the Little Billie, Cornell, Copper Queen, and the the Marble Bay mines.
Texada city miners living in the the gracious Marble Bay Hotel could look down from her spacious veranda and see CPR Steamers, barges,
and ore ships plying their trade in the
busy harbour. The Bay lay open to
fierce south winds and northeast gales,
shielded only by low lying Shark Island.
Sturt Bay remained that way until 1966
when a group of hardy islanders began
the mammoth project of building a
rock breakwall. It was finally completed
in 1997. Unfortunately, Government
sailing directions still maintain that "Sturt Bay is only a fair weather harbour", and they neglect to mention the new breakwall, and the visitor dock where boaters can feel safe and secure in the summer months.
Hundreds of boaters have discovered this peaceful shangri la, and faithfully travel from as far away as Washington and Oregon on their way to Desolation Sound each year. Visitors to Sturt Bay receive an information package including an island map and brochure from Wharfinger Barb Soepboer and husband Ted. that explain the islands amenities. Barb also describes the "nice little walks around town."
Mooring: Rates at the Texada Boating Club are reasonable at $.60 per foot per night, with a weekly and monthly rate of $3.50 per foot. The policy is 'first come first served' and no rafting. Shore power is 15 amp service at $3 per day, and there is fresh water on the dock.
Extra moorage is usually available during the summer months when club members are out cruising. This is known as a friendly dock where members greet returning visitors as old friends, and are always ready to "gam" about boating in general, or to provide island information.
Services and Amenties in Van Anda: All are within a five to ten minute walk. There is a post office, and across the road is a well stocked supermarket with a liquor outlet. Texada Market will deliver groceries for boaters when possible. Quite often a local who is shopping will run visitors back to their boats. "The Cabin", just up from Sturt Bay, serves coffee and sweets, has a large deck, rents videos, has used books for sale, and has free wireless internet. Texada Island Inn owners Dan and Marion Devita serve good food, and an inexpensive Saturday Steak luncheon. They also provide showers for visiting boaters. Just past the Inn, at the crossroads to Van Anda, Blubber Bay, and Gillies Bay, is Centennial Service, an Esso station which sells diesel as well as gas. It also has a laundromat. Across from the Esso Station and down a leafy lane called Legion Road, is the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #232. Meals are served on certain days. It also offers free shuffleboard, and billiards played on a mint-condition, 100-year-old billiard table imported from England. The Texada heritage Museum is located at the elementary school and is open from July to August, 1300 to 1600 hours, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.