Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Galiano Island

Between Vancouver (on the mainland) and Victoria (on the Island) you pass through the Southern Gulf Islands

Saltspring Island is the most well known but Galiano is larger but sparsely populated.   We had never been there before and sometime during November 2009 we decided to take a visit.   We boarded a BC Ferries and arrived there about an hour later

Not every BC Ferries makes a stop here you have to check their schedules to find one that "island" hops.  Most scheduled crossings go directly to Sidney (Victoria).   Loading on these ferries are a bit different as you have to drive onto the ferry then make a U-turn and aim your car back towards the way you boarded.  You are given a colour coded card for which island you want to disembark.  Some cars are going to Saltspring Island, Mayne Island, Pender or Saturna Islands.

When I was doing my due diligence my job was to find suitable accommodation and of course where to find food.   According to the Galiano Website   there were 6 eateries and when we arrived we were hungry and found our way to The Harbour Grill, which of course was Closed for the Season

No problem we thought.  We then headed over to the Galiano Spa Resort to check out their upscale restaurant.  After all, we were on vacation for a few days and could splurge for one gourmet meal.  Well, the parking lot was empty but we went inside anyway only to find the restaurant under some renovation.  The Restaurant was closed as the cook was taking a few days off and went to Vancouver

Oh, what to do.  We drove around for a bit and found most places closed for the Season.  Even the moped place was closed.

Then we decided to head back to the Junction where there were a few stores to check out the bakery

and Guess What ?    It was closed too.   It seems like November is not a good month to visit Galiano Island

There is basically only one road which goes up and down the spine of the Island and most of the stores are here, at this junction and thank goodness we found one place open so we could have a meal

Here it is; coffee shop, gift shop and Diner, all in one.   Little did we know at the time that we could only find 2 places open and we ended up having most of our meals here.  There is a small grocery store and gas station around the corner but we did not have cooking facilities where we were staying

Our Bed & Breakfast was north of the Junction but we had time to explore and head north to a small park where the road narrows

There is not much traffic so there is plenty of time to stop for photos.  I liked these overgrown and dilapidated cabins.   I often wonder where these people went

and who is going to rake up the leaves

Sometimes I like to walk around and take photos from different angles.

We were meandering around for a few hours just relaxing and enjoying our time together

and I notice another overgrown home from happier times.  I sometimes have the urge to explore further but I don't like to invite myself onto private property so I keep my distance

It's hard to believe that you can find yourself in such a rustic place only an hour away from Vancouver and feel like you are in the middle of nowhere with no one around.  It is quiet and you can actually hear your own thoughts

There is also a Golf Course here where you pay by the honour system.  Notice that the Clubhouse is closed !     Again, no meals for us

We finally decide to look for our accommodations for the next few days and wonder how we are going to fill our time with nothing to do

 We keep a lookout for signs to our BnB:  Bed 'n Breakfast.   Nope not here

but we are getting closer.  It is down another gravel road with a teeney weeney sign.   And here is our view from our overlook

Here we are on Galiano Island, no TV,  no internet,  just a small cabin with a hot tub, two of us alone in the forest, with a view overlooking the water and no one to interrupt us . . .  (to be continued)


  1. The Gulf Islands are beautiful. Bob your pictures are gorgeous!

    1. Dar:

      Thank you but I think you would taken the same photos had you been there. It's a perfect place for scootering. No traffic, and stress relieving as there's nothing to do except to be thankful that you are alive and breathing

  2. I would have loved to explore one of those abandoned cabins too.

    Wow what a wonderful place!!

    1. Brenda:

      It's too bad my photos are all gone from prior to mid October 2012 as I have a post about Fox, Oregon when we were there a few years ago. It seems that the whole town just shut their doors and left . . . but who knows where. I stopped for photos and I even went up to the front doors and tried to peek inside through the windows. There are many abandoned homes there. Cars in the fields just left to rust. Farms deserted. I really wanted to go inside but didn't

      It felt like a place frozen in time, perhaps from the 50's when things were simpler. Hard to believe that you can see Vancouver on the horizon from the top of the hill

    2. Bob, I'm thinking all those folks have just gone over to the mainland where they can find good eats!

  3. We were thinking about going there. Thanks for the warning regarding limited food choices. We will make a note to bring our own, and rent a cabin/room with a cooking place. Looks like a wonderful spot nevertheless.

    1. Sonja:

      Exploring the Gulf Islands is perfect for scooters. This was the reason we bought our scooters in the first place. It's just that we never did it. That's why we went to Galiano. Mrs Skoot went with friends to Saturna Island a few years ago and they rented a cabin on the beach. I think Saltspring Island would have lots of Vegan choices as there are lots of crafts people there at the Saturday morning market in Ganges. You would love the homemade bread and jams.

      We also spent some time on Denman and Hornby Island a bit farther up the Island and also near the northern tip on Malcolm Island (Sointula) and also Alert Bay so if you need any information let me know. We really liked Sointula and Alert Bay.

  4. Great pictures of those old cabins Bob.

    A nice place to relax, decompress and unwind from the hustle and bustle of life.

    1. Trobairitz:

      we rented a small cabin (wait for part 2). It was so relaxing without TV. I would think going in the summer would be better. It felt like you were in the 50's, safe and simple with few conveniences and everyone is there to help. We stopped in the middle of the road so I could snap a few photos and the first car stopped and asked if we needed help.

      Hard to believe we were only an hour away from our Urban sprawl

  5. It looks like a beautiful area especially that last photo of the lake. I had taken a bicycle trip through the San Juan islands a bit further south and it looked very similar. But it was in the touristy time of year so everything was open...

    1. Richard:

      Galiano Island is surrounded by water; Georgia Straight on the East and Trincomali Channel on the West. Those are other Gulf Island on the Horizon, probably (left to right) Mayne, North Pender, Prevost and then a bit of Saltspring Island sticking out.

      Galiano is not a tourist destination so the stores must only cater to the locals.

  6. Replies
    1. Benny:

      it isn't too far away. Just a short 1 hour ferry ride and it feels like you are in the middle nowhere. hardly anyone around, no malls, no internet . . . Nothing. Just sit around, read a book or relax. Take your scooter there this summer

  7. Bob, once again you've sent me hunting through my map collection for a Provincial map.

    It's always a magical surprise to find quiet areas close to the city core.....you definitely found some. Amazing what the right season can do to help that cause. :)

    1. Coop:

      the only problem with our BC Ferries is their schedule. Galiano is only an hour from Vancouver BUT it isn't convenient to get there and back without staying overnight, and except for the Spa most cabins have a 2 or 3 day rental minimum. Perhaps during the Summer you may be able to camp somewhere but there are not tourist facilities. Not many people come here. There is a Marina and a Pub and perhaps you can tent there.

      It appears that someone spent some money planning a subdivision which didn't work out. There is a new road with lots mapped out. There are even some newer style homes there on the hill which faces towards Vancouver on the Horizon, so you can see the City in the background. You are so far away, but also so close

  8. Thank you for the tour of Galiano Island, looks like a little piece of tranquility...

    How is Mrs. Skoot doing with her sore wrist?

    1. Suzu:

      Not much to do except to relax. Maybe that's what we all need to do once in a while to slow down and "smell the roses"

      Maybe I need a vacation in Regina ? would be a nice break from our large city

      Mrs Skoot's wrist is getting better with each day. She is going to physio to strengthen the muscles

  9. OMG, that looks AMAZING! Might be a vacation destination for me. :-)

    1. Kathy:

      Get your BUTT and your BIKE out here. Lots of places to see on Vancouver Island. We could do an Island Ride and rent cabins on the ocean, go for moonlight walks, walk in the sand, watch the sunsets . . .

  10. That looks beautifully, amazingly restful. Oh I love it!