Gulf Islands Weekend

Another holiday weekend, so, why not go for a bike ride. There are many opportunities around Vancouver and southwest British Columbia for micro-adventures. This time: Galiano Island, one of the few Gulf Islands I had never been before. Our ultimate destination was Dionisio Point where a Provincial Marine Park is nestled on the northern-most point of Galiano. Officially, you can’t get there by road. There is a road but it’s blocked by a gate, installed by private land owners in a dispute with the Island Trust. As a result, Dionisio Point gets few visitors which is just what we like.

My Rodriguez at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.
My Rodriguez at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.

We had reserved our spot with BC Ferries. Yes, you now need a reservation as a foot passenger to go from the mainland to the Gulf Islands but there is no fee (check the web site for more info). We had the luxury of leaving on a Thursday, avoiding even heavier holiday traffic the next day.

Jan having some waffles on the ferry to Galiano Island.
Jan having some waffles on the ferry to Galiano Island.

Once off the ramp at Sturdies Bay, we went to the store to pick up a few items (read: beer and wine) while what little traffic there was quickly dissipated and we mostly had the road to ourselves. It’s not a very gruelling ride but we did climb more than 500 metres over the course of 27 km. Up and down. Up and down.

Riding north on Galiano Island.
Riding north on Galiano Island.

Once past the gates, we discovered the camp site along the shore completely empty. There are two camp sites, both with 15 spots. We picked the one with the nicest prospect, a view northeast to the city and beyond and southeast to Mt. Baker, standing clear as a bell on the horizon more than 130 km away. To the northeast, we could even see the Black Tusk, also about 130 km away.

Mount Baker looms on the horizon 130 km away.
Mount Baker looms on the horizon 130 km away.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and the following day just hanging out in camp and on the beach. We made a couple of short excursions to get water but that was about the extent of our exploration. We were happy to just sit, read and watch the tide go in and out. Napping on the sun-warmed sandstone while a gentle surf caresses the shore is one of life’s luxuries that is beyond valuable, and completely free.

Relaxing with a day-old newspaper.
Relaxing with a day-old newspaper.

We had planned to move to Pender Island on the Saturday but realized that the camp sites there were bursting beyond capacity (thanks to the miracle of our space phones). Instead, we texted with our friends Val and Greg who were on Gossip Island visiting Greg’s son Phil and his partner, Autumn, who recently bought a property there. After a short stop at the store to pick up a few things (read: beer and wine) we rode to Whaler Bay to wait for a pick-up by boat for the short crossing to Gossip Island to spend a night camping at Phil and Autumn’s piece of paradise.

Our friends Valerie and Greg picked us up at the Whaler Bay dock.
Our friends Valerie and Greg picked us up at the Whaler Bay dock.

Gossip Island is a lovely place with about 50 properties. There are no roads, and thus, no cars. People get around by walking, cycling or with ATVs or golf carts. We spent most of the day just hanging out, chatting and exploring the island a bit. In the evening, we all helped make dinner and had a feast of BBQ-ed ribs, salads and veggies. A perfect day.

Greg at the south end of Gossip Island.
Greg at the south end of Gossip Island.

On Sunday morning, just about everybody had left early to go fishing but they had left us a small dinghy so we could get back to Whaler Bay. That in itself was an adventure for us. Give us a canoe and we’ll go just about anywhere, but something with a motor is another story. We managed to get across safely and hopped the ferry to Swartz Bay. From there a short ride to Sidney for a visit with our friends Deanne and Steve.

A selfie with our friends Deanne and Steve in Sidney.
A selfie with our friends Deanne and Steve in Sidney.

So, not a lot of cycling but a great weekend relaxing and hanging out with friends. Life is good.

 

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2 thoughts on “Gulf Islands Weekend

  1. Do you realize Paul, I saved all your pictures of Europe, S.America and later until this very moment. These last ones are fabulous as well. Sooner or later I’ll make a collection out of them, frame them and put them in my office and elsewhere.
    Good luck, say hello to your fantastic wife. And a hug for Pa and Ma.
    HENK DE VRIES – nl

  2. Beautiful photos, Paul. Alkala Point at the very tip of Galiano in Porlier Pass has some of the best scuba diving in the world. Did you see anything of the dive station? Looking forward to your Pender Island trip photos. It is not crowded all the time. I love Pender and Galiano.
    Karen K.

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