After a socially distant visit with Kyla’s family and a night of camping on their property on Salt Spring Island, we decided to take a day trip to Galiano Island. We took the 7:15 am ferry from Long Harbour, the first (and only) boat to Galiano on a Sunday. The route had stops at both Pender and Mayne, and we arrived at Galiano at 9am. This gave us a little time to catch up on sleep! Check here for current ferry schedules from Swartz Bay to the Southern Gulf Islands.
We were still a little sleepy when we rolled off the ferry, so we stopped for coffee and breakfast goodies at the Sturdies Bay Bakery and Cafe – they are just seconds from the ferry terminal, and their massive, famous cinnamon buns are delicious!
The first item on our gay agenda was to check out the Instafamous sand caves, but there was a sign by the road that leads out to them saying that they were closed. I assume this is to reduce crowds during COVID-19; we thought about trying to venture further, but decided not to be those jerks. It said it was closed, so that was that.
We kept driving to check out Lovers Leap Viewpoint in Bodega Ridge Provincial Park, which offers a nice view of nearby islands. It may not be worth the drive out just for the viewpoint (it’s small, and similar to the kind of views you get all over the Gulf Islands), but it’s pretty if you’re already heading out that way to do some hiking. We also made a quick stop at Tapovan Sri Chimnoy Peace Park, a set of forest hiking trails dedicated to an Indian spiritual leader and meditation teacher. We quickly discovered it was a bit of a climb, and since I hadn’t changed out of my Birkenstocks (#classiclesbian), we headed back to the car and decided to continue on our day’s true quest: the search for the perfect hammock spot.
*Note: I lost cell service along much of Porlier Pass road past Montague Harbour; it’s a good idea to download maps or know what roads/landmarks to look out for.
Next up: Hammock Time! We headed to Montague Provincial Park, which is also the main campground on the island. On a little peninsula off the harbour, Gray Point Trail is an easy 2 km loop. Along one side, the trail branches off onto a wide, open white shell beach. Reaching the beach, our only company was a heron, and when we spotted an arbutus jutting out towards the water, we knew we’d found Hammock-topia! Kyla set up her straps (a good idea to protext the tree), and I laid a blanket down on some rocks nearby, plugged into a podcast, and took in some sun and the views of Parker Island, passing boats, the comings and goings of the heron, and the odd few people passing by. Further along the north side of the peninsula, on the narrow strech of land leading back to the rest of the park, there’s another shell beach which is popular for swimming. Back by the dock and harbour below the campground, you’ll find some awesome sandstone rock formations.
Sufficiently hammocked, we went out to find a late lunch. I’d recently been to Saturna, a beautiful, quiet island, but which had only a few restaurant options. so I wasn’t sure what to expect on Galiano. It turns out, there are lots of options! From fancy, award-winning pilgrimme (near Montague Park), to Babes in the Woods for “good food good people good times”, to the Max & Moritz Spicy Food Truck right at the ferry terminal, and much more. We chose Galiano’s beloved Hummingbird Pub, a community favourite since it was established in 1984. It’s cute and cozy, seemingly nestled in the woods even though it’s just off the main road. While it’s usually known for its comfy fireside eating and live music performances, seating is all outdoors now, in the expansive garden and patio. There’s even a pub bus, that runs in the evening between the pub, marina, and campground!
After lunch, we still had a bit of time to check out some of the shops closer to the ferry. Once we had parked cautiously early for the ferry, I wandered down to the beach below the dock, which was full of lovely tafoni sandstone rocks to lounge on!
What else to do? We had a lazy day, but there are plenty more hikes, viewpoints, and spots to relax on the island: check out Bodega Ridge Provincial Park, Bluffs Park, Mount Galiano, and Retreat Cove Caves (if they reopen during/after the pandemic), among others! Or Dionisio Park, if you have a boat 😉 There’s a market on Saturdays!
After stops at Mayne and Pender, we made it back to Victoria after a 2 hour ride, giving us lots of time to relax with podcasts and again, do a little napping!