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Ruxton Island is one of the seven islands in the De Courcy Islands group. It is one of the southern Gulf Islands in British Columbia. Located approximately 4 miles south of Degnan Bay on Gabriola Island. It is due south-east of DeCourcy Island, being separated by Ruxton Passage.
it is home to approximately six year round cabins and 110 seasonally occupied cabins.
The island is composed primarily of sandstone from the original Fraser River delta, and has tilted to create sharp cliffs on its western shore and a gently sloping shoreline on the east. At the north end is Ruxton Passage, which separates Ruxton Island and De Courcy Island. At the southern end is Whaleboat Passage which separates Ruxton from Pylades and Whaleboat Islands. Whaleboat is a marine Provincial Park.
There are approximately 12 km of trails on the island which are for walking and are mostly free of motorized vehicles. Several property owners use ATV's to move their goods back and forth from the various landing bays to their respective properties.
The few animals that inhabit the island include otters, mink, Douglas squirrels, and mice. Beavers also inhabited the island in earlier years, as late as 2000. Occasionally, deer from neighbouring DeCourcy Island will swim across the Ruxton Passage and inhabit Ruxton Island. In 2012, there was a doe with two fawns on the island. Presumably there was a buck as well, although no record of it being seen.
Herring bay, located at the north west end of Ruxton Island was ranked as one of the two most popular anchorages in British Columbia in a poll done by Pacific Yachting magazine. The other is Pirate's Cove, which is located at the south end of DeCourcy island, right across from the north end of Ruxton Island. The entrance to Herring Bay is marked at the north west corner, and entrance to Herring bay should be made between this marker and the small islet to the east. At low tide, the reef - which dries out at anything except high tide - extends several hundred yards to the south east. The reef continues underwater and is frequently hit by visiting vessels. It is wise to check your marine chart before entering Herring Bay. This islet was recently named "Long Point" in honour of Ted Long, who was resident here for many years. His tenure included several years as president of the local property owners association.
There is a smaller bay located about halfway down the island on the west side, locally known as Nayler Bay, after the Nayler family who sold the island to Frank Ney (former mayor of Nanaimo, B.C.) who in turn developed the island into the current 199 privately owned lots. Typical waterfront properties are roughly 1/2 an acre in size, and the inside lots (non-waterfront) are roughly 2 acres in size.
There is a wetland in the middle of the island which was formerly mostly a pond. It is roughly 10 acres in size. In recent years the growth of the reeds and other water plants has left very little open water available for the waterfowl to land. Canada Geese usually nest in this wetland, and many pairs may be seen during their visiting season. Numerous smaller waterfowl inhabit the wetland year round.
North Bay and Otter Bay are located at the north and east sides of Ruxton Island respectively. Property owners use all the bays to moor their vessels. Nayler Bay almost completely dries out at low tide, and it is therefore impossible for any visiting bots to anchor in that bay. The remaining bays are safe to use as anchorages. It is always wise to check on the wind direction before anchoring, as the north westerlies can blow fiercely into Herring Bay in particular. All the bays are protected from the south easterlies, which is the other predominant wind locally.
The island is considered haunted by the late Edward Arthur Wilson also known as Brother XII. Local legend says he was murdered on the shores of Herring Bay during the month of June, 1932, while trying to escape with jars of gold and his assistant Madame Z.