A Weekend Away on Galiano Island
Boris and I were in need of a short getaway from the city and after exploring our options we settled on a weekend trip to Galiano. I’ve always wanted to visit Galiano Island but it’s taken me almost six years of living in Vancouver before I could get around to going. We took transit to the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen on Friday morning and caught the 10am ferry direct to the island. Boris’ friend Christian Nally met us on the other side, with a welcoming smile and a car he would end up lending us for the weekend.
Our first stop was lunch at the Flying Black Dog, a small food caravan serving freshly made delicious food which we sat in the sunshine to devour. Christian suggested a hike up Mount Galiano as our next activity, since the weather was good and we had time to kill before checking into the B&B. So off we went through mossy cedar forest along overgrown trails that wound up and up to the very top with a magnificent view of the surrounding Gulf Islands. We saw many birds up there, small ones in the trees and large ravens and an eagle riding the wind above. Not far from the bottom of the trail is the original cemetery with gravestones dating back to the mid-eighteen hundreds. The cemetery has a lovely view out over the water and not far off was a small island covered in a colony of seals basking in the late afternoon sun.
The Bed and Breakfast we stayed in, Sands of Morning Beach, was a lovely spot to wake up to. The front of the house looks out onto Morning Beach and the morning light shining on the water was just stunning. The owners of the B & B have multiple feeders set up in the trees to feed a multitude of birds so the view is also filled with non-stop bird watching. I saw at least five or six hummingbirds zooming around at high speed, plus goldfinches, crows, sparrows, juncos, chickadees, and many more I’m not sure what to identify as. On the inside of the house there is a pet Senegal Parrot named Mango, and two energetic small dogs named Howie and Pogo.
Saturday we spent our day driving around the island exploring whatever we came across. Galiano Island Books is one stop in town I highly recommend. They have an excellent selection of books, and one very demanding cat that commands customers for attention with a loud yowl. My favorite part of the day was having a picnic in sunny Spotlight Cove, with me exploring the tide pools looking for tiny crab while Boris sat on a log reading a book.
I also enjoyed our stop at Stone World, a fantastic Bodega Ridge landscape of standing stones and ritually decorated rocks created by stone carver Steve Ocsko. His wife Barbara gave us a tour of the indoor studio explaining the evolution of Steve’s carving work, which led to a fascinating and inspiring conversation about geology, art, and using the internet. Along with the stone sculptures the studio had many lovely found natural objects, such as a wasp’s nest, a hummingbird nest, the largest barnacle shell I’ve ever seen, and much more. It was a fascinating visit and Boris and I really hit it off with Barbara. Stone World seems to have an odd reputation with locals, or at least that’s the impression I have from talking to people. Lots of people know of it but have strange ideas because of the standing stones, and so they haven’t visited themselves. Our friends were surprised when we told them about our visit and what we found there (nothing weird, that is).
Our hosts for the weekend, Christian and Martine, invited us for dinner with friends at their place on Saturday evening. It was a cozy time spent laughing, talking, eating and playing games. Martine runs a catering business on Galiano and as you can imagine, she makes delicious food. Part of the meal was a dish of lentils cooked with bacon, which is something I’d be happy to revisit again since I love both lentils and bacon. Boris was hijacked by Lili, Martine’s six year old daughter, shortly after our arrival and she had him bouncing around on the trampoline which was fun to watch.
Our final day on Galiano was a rainy one, but we went out exploring anyway. A walk around Morning Beach with Howie the dog revealed interesting formations in the sandstone and a large water-carved cave to take shelter in when the rain came down hard. There were tiny gardens of succulent plants on the top of large boulders which were very colourful and beautiful. Our last stop before departing the island was a drive on Bodega Beach Road which led to a hike down a slug covered trail and then to a view overlooking the Strait of Georgia with rainy Vancouver across the way.
It was a lovely weekend away, and much needed for Boris and I. We managed to cover a lot of ground on our short trip, but I’d be happy to go again and see more.