The Serene Sooke Basin near Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island
There's Something Special about the Sooke Basin
The Sooke Basin is located on the southwestern tip of Vancouver Island, Canada, only 20 minutes from Victoria (40 minutes from downtown). On the western side of the cove, as pictured here, the winds are light and the ocean is mirror-like.
This photo was taken from Comfort Cove Cottage (1-250-483-6969), an oceanfront cottage in East Sooke. The air was still, the twilight was fading and the birds were returning to roost in the forest.
As night fell, the winds died down and the Sooke Basin was placid & peaceful.
East Sooke, BC is a rural community lined with acreages and parks. It's located on a bulbous-shape peninsula that is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on three sides.
The outside shore, on the western side, is protected by East Sooke Park and is open to the full force of the Pacific winds. The Coast Trail winds along this rugged shore and the trail-head is just minutes away.
The eastern shore, as pictured here, is sheltered from the winds and is a calm & relaxing oasis from the urban world. This is a popular kayaking area around Victoria, BC for beginners & intermediates. The Galloping Goose Trail that skirts along the picturesque shoreline is a perfect place to watch a west coast sunset.
- The Sooke Basin is magical during a full moon as the brilliant moonlight reflects off of the water. Guided kayak tours are available at Rush Adventures (weather permitting)
- Bioluminescence is a natural phenomenon where plankton in the water will glow as objects disturb them. Running your finger through the water makes an explosion of light, right out a Disney film. Call Rush Adventures to see if the phenomenon is present and if guided tours are provided.
Driving directions to the Sooke Basin on Vancouver Island.
View Hiking the Galloping Goose Trail near Sooke, BC in a larger map
History of the Sooke Basin & Area
The name "Sooke" is from the native name for the stickleback fish which can be found in the Sooke Basin. Southern Vancouver Island has been inhabited for thousands of years by the T'sou-ke people since the end of the last ice-age, 11,000 years ago.
The T'sou-ke people were able to prosper in the area because of the bounty from the sea, forest and sky. They were known for their expert fishing talents.
The Spanish were the first Europeans to explore Vancouver Island. In 1790, Manuel Quimper landed on the shores of East Sooke aboard the Princesa Real. To commemorate this occasion, a longboat replica was built in 1990. Local tours aboard the longboats are available to tourists.
The Spanish named the harbour Puerta de Revilla Gidedo but, as European immigration continued, was changed to the Sooke Harbour. In approximately 1848, the T'sou-ke nation was almost destroyed by neighbouring natives from other communities.
The area became a supply hub for the local Hudson's Bay trading post at Comosun (now Victoria, BC) and for the gold-rush town of Leech River.
It's hard to believe today, but the lush forest and huge trees that surround the Sooke Basin are second growth (about 150 years old). The original forest was cleared and the timber used to build the growing provincial capital city of Victoria, BC in the 1800's.
As time progressed, the economy also became dependent on logging, commercial fishing and now, tourism.
The Sooke Basin is located 33 kilometers (30 minutes) from downtown Victoria, BC. This is just one of many things to do in BC.
Get more insider tips on Canadian Adventures at Scenic Travel Canada.