Approaching the guest dock at Ladysmith Community Marina, I could quickly tell that very little room was available for our 40-foot sailboat. And seeing that it was 8:30 a.m., I held little hope that boaters were eager to move out.
But after spinning around to see both sides of the long pier and playing the age-old game of, “if only the boats could squeeze closer together,” we decided to give the marina a call. On the other end of the line, the uber-friendly Wharfinger (dockmaster in the U.S.) pointed us to a slip we hadn’t noticed and was there to catch our lines as we came in.
“How long you joining us for?” he asked in a welcoming local tone.
“Just a few hours if that’s OK,” I responded before getting a quick, “No problem, enjoy your stay.”
Owned and operated by the Ladysmith Maritime Society — a registered charity serving the Ladysmith community for 30 years — Ladysmith Community Marina is an excellent place to stop for a day or two to top up on provisions, do laundry, take a refreshing shower and explore the town. With 1,100-feet of guest dock and some overflow parking, there is typically plenty of room — or else they’ll make some.
We’d spent the previous week on the hook throughout the Gulf Islands and were in need of a few hour pit stop to tidy up and hit the grocery store before trying to make Dodd Narrows just after slack tide. Not a problem.
What we found was an incredibly clean and friendly marina with a modern, 3,000 square foot floating welcome center that was completed in 2012. Replete with café, showers, laundry, Wi-Fi, grills and more, the center also has a second floor meeting room and a large area on the dock outside for large groups. An Albin powerboat rendezvous was going on while we were there and they seemed to be having a great time.
Ladysmith Community Marina is on your port side as you enter the harbor just past Slag Point. For assistance or questions call the marina at 250-245-1146 or on VHF 66A. Anchoring options nearby are in Sibell Bay or to the northwest of the Dunsmuir Islands.
After taking a much-needed shower and moving a load of laundry to the dryer, we took off for town to find the grocery store and to stop at the Old Time Bakery where the cinnamon buns are suppose to be out of this world good.
Just a 10-minute walk from the marina, we found the quaint town of Ladysmith. With a classic main drag that has an old-time feel but modern business atmosphere, we located the bakery only to find it closed. Actually, it seemed that the entire street was closed until we happened upon the cleverly named, In The Bean Time, coffee shop. The morning was already quite warm so we opted for iced Americanos and a cinnamon bun of theirs, which, dare I say, might rival the closed bakery up the street.
After turning down a ride to the grocery store from a friendly local in the coffee shop, we ambled downhill to the store to find our provisions. The 49th Parallel Grocery got us well stocked for our walk home and we picked up the tree-lined trail back to the marina that is just across Highway 1.
Our total time in Ladysmith was only about two and a half hours, which seemed too quick, so we’ve marked it on our chart as a place to return to later this fall. Plus, we’ve still got to try those elusive cinnamon buns.
The town of Ladysmith has a few marine services, a large hardware store, park with summer concert series, a variety of restaurants and cafés, and several museums. For more information visit the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce.