After 15 yrs of yearly boat trips to Desolation Sound we came upon this absolute gem. One of our favorite docks ever. The flowers, the huge deck overlooking the open waters, the sweet staff, the greatest gift items, the ping pong table, the cozy gas fireplace tables with cute new furniture, 2 pools?! Nice showers. It’s hard to beat. Love it!!
We just spent a wonderful weekend at Otter Bay Marina. After visiting many other marinas in the Gulf Islands this one ranks as our No. 1 I do not usually take the time to write a review, but I really felt I had to after our visit. There is just the one couple who are taking care of the marina, office, store and bistro. We watched them work from morning until late into the night. They take care of the boater’s reservations, arrivals, departures, special requests, and payments. For the bistro and store they have customers arriving on mass from the marina, cottages, cycle tours and ferry passengers. All of this while maintaining the facilities and keeping them in beautiful condition. I feel fortunate that we can come and visit this little paradise. I hope that others who are visiting show some kindness and understanding towards the people who work hard to make it that way.
You should visit Otter Bay Marina if you enjoy openly hostile service. We moored there this July, 2018. It started off with an angry person over VHF 66A. It actually caused us all to laugh as we had never heard that kind of negative attitude from a marina ever. The owner was on the dock as we pulled into the slip. A member of my crew tossed her a line causing the owner to admonish, "Don't throw that line at me!" She then pulled us into dock and my crew member attempted to de-board only to be told, "Stay on the boat." After a few moments of starring at us she then allowed us onto her dock. As we were tying the owner kept barking, "fender, fender, fender." We had deployed three fenders but apparently she required four? The owner then told us we would settle up at the office. We went up to the office and it was closed. After 45 minutes of waiting I informed the crew we needed to find other portage as Otter Bay Marina was proving to have zero interest in customer service. My crew convinced me to stay as they were quite entertained by this owner's behavior. I went back to the docks to inquire when I would be able to pay. She replied, "I don't know I guess between 1 PM and 6 PM." I was told to just keep checking back at the office and when she is there I can pay. Her affect was snide and dismissive. It was the most unpleasant interaction I have ever had with a harbor master in the 45 years I've boated the Salish Sea. I went back to the crew and pleaded that we leave this place. My crew was just more intrigued by this owner's negative persona (I assume she was the owner as an employee would surely have been fired treating customers that way). I'll spare you the rest of the interactions we had that day. Honestly, it did become entertaining. That next morning I was convinced we had to order breakfast from her. The thought of giving this business anymore of my cash made me ill. It was worth the show. We not only got awful food but at least the service was the same... She gave all of us our breakfast except my wife. After another thirty minutes my wife went in to inquire about her breakfast. The owner was just sitting there doing nothing. She begrudgingly went back to the kitchen and brought out my wife's food. It did not disappoint, it to ended up in the trash after a few bites. My sadistic crew wants to return next year for another show. As the captain, I'm leaving that destination off of the float plan.
Should have read the reviews before we went! We have been dropping in on the Otter Bay Marina off and on for the last 38 years. It’s been a couple since we were last there and hearing that there had been some changes we wanted to get a treat in the store and scout it out for a future yacht club rendezvous. So we were told as we entered the store that there would be a $10 landing fee, no exceptions for short visits or customers. The result of this unique business practise is that we didn’t buy anything, nixed the plan to come here with the club, or on our own ever again. In those 38 years of boating on the west coast this is the first, and hopefully the last time we have been so blatantly ripped off.
We keep our boat in Genoa Bay which is not too far away from Otter Bay. Last week were were on our way home from Winter Cove Park and decided to drop the lunch hook in Otter Bay and take the dinghy over to the marina coffee shop for an espresso and something from their baked treats. We have done this in the past as well as having stayed there. Like the reviews noted below we were met with the most rude dock manager possible. All we did was explain that we were going to spend some money there for a treat while on our way home in nearby Genoa Bay. He was accusatory to boaters in general, leave garbage swim in the pools and made bar remarks about boaters in general. He wanted $10 from my and my wife. I noted we were not intending to swim or drop garbage off as he could see by the empty dinghy and I wasn't about to spend $20 to buy a coffee. I then asked if we were in a car and drove here if we would have to pay $20 to go into their store. He actually replied no because they aren't boaters. Hard to believe he is in the business of providing hospitality to boaters. Definatley not the typical marina you will find everywhere else in the Gulf Islands and San Juans. I've sailed from Alaska to San Francisco and most points in between. This is a sad first. I'll never return as long as these type of people own the marina.
My wife and I been to Otter Bay for 10 years. We had heard they had made nice changes to the facility. We anchored out and came in by dinghy. We were met at the dock by an older gentleman and told to tie up was $10. We said we just wanted to see the facility and get some supplies at the store. We were told "everyone who comes to Otter Bay has to pay and that applies to you also"! Wow, we were blown away. I asked if I had to pay for the privilege of spending money at the store and was told yes. We went back tot he boat and called to cancel our name from their wait list. We were told we could come to the dock if we wanted but that charging was their standard policy. We came back with and as we and our dog got out of the dinghy (after being met by a young dock worker) a voice came over the radio saying "make sure those people get that dog on a leash." We hadn't been on the dock 10 seconds. The dock worker said his boss has "eyes in the sky". We walked around, was not addressed by anyone, went in the store and left. We won't ever go back. There are so many nice places to go with nice people I don't have to waste my time at Otter Bay.
The marina itself is beautiful however the owners are extremely rude. We booked in advance with the wife owner to stay at the marina for the day and stated our time of arrival and departure. We were told there would be no problem with an early arrival (which I needed to work and required wifi to do my job). When we arrived there was no room for us. When we said we'd been confirmed for an early arrival, the husband owner rudely said no we weren't. We had to wait in the bay for an hour before getting a spot. We spent the day at the pool (me on my laptop) and at 3:00PM the husband owner came into the pool area and asked who owned (our boat name) and that it was time to go. I responded that we'd requested to stay until 4:00PM (the end of my work day) and he said that we hadn't. I responded that we wouldn't have come here had we not been able to stay for the length of time I needed to work and that his wife had confirmed we could. He said no she didn't. He was essentially calling me a liar in front of the other people at the pool and kept telling us we had to leave. I called him something very unladylike and we left. These people have no customer service skills at all. I've since had friends tell me of similar experiences and know of one boating organization that no longer goes there. Too bad since it's such a lovely place but a lovely place isn't worth being treated both poorly and rudely. I DO NOT RECOMMEND GOING HERE.