Suncruiser West Coast - - Contents - WORDS BY PERRY MACK

THE IS­LAND STRETCHES OUT LIKE A PRO­TEC­TIVE ARM ALONG THE EAST COAST of Van­cou­ver Is­land, the hand reach­ing south­east­erly, beck­on­ing the fer­ries as they pass be­tween Tsawwassen on the coast and Swartz Bay on Van­cou­ver Is­land. Should you pass close enough and an­swer its call, you’ll be wel­comed and en­chanted by this gulf is­land.

The Ku­namokst mu­ral lo­cated in the lobby of the Galiano Inn mir­rors the eclec­tic col­lec­tion of artists and ar­ti­sans who have been drawn to the is­land. The mu­ral is not a work of a sin­gle artist but is actually com­prised of the in­di­vid­ual ef­forts of al­most 200 artists. Like the is­land it­self whose many facets al­low you to ex­press and in­dulge in ev­ery side of your­self.

Im­merse your­self in na­ture by hik­ing some of the many parks on the is­land. Rent a bike or bet­ter yet a moped to feel the sea air blow­ing in your face as in­cred­i­ble views ap­pear in suc­ces­sion, like images cap­tured in a vin­tage stereo­scopic viewer.

Mon­tague Har­bour Marine Pro­vin­cial Park be­gins 5 m below the ocean sur­face and rises to 180 m above it. The land­scape will take your breath away as you wit­ness tidal la­goons to tow­er­ing forests, and white shell beaches to open mead­ows. You can drive or ride to the park or take your boat and moor at one of the 35 buoys in the shel­tered Bay of Mon­tague har­bour. In fact, there are 69 shore ac­cess points through­out the is­land. You can search for signs of hu­man habi­ta­tion dat­ing back 3,000 years but re­mem­ber to leave ev­ery­thing as undis­turbed as you found it.

Dion­i­sio Point Pro­vin­cial Park at the north­west tip of the is­land is boat ac­cess only. Tiny waves rise lazily to flop on the strand of sand and peb­bles. Eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble in­ter-tidal pools are rich in sea-stars, nudi­branchs and chi­tons. The park is an ex­cel­lent choice for scuba div­ing, kayak­ing, and hike-in camp­ing. Here, and al­most ev­ery­where on the is­land, seals, ot­ters, whales (best time is May to Septem­ber) and sea birds soar, sun, and swim. Drop your line into the wa­ter for some west coast sport

fish­ing for salmon, red snap­per and cod (pick up your fish­ing li­cence at the ma­rina).

Aside from rough­ing it, Galiano Is­land also pro­vides more re­fined plea­sures. The Galiano Ocean­front Inn and Spa over­looks Stur­dies Bay. Each of the 20 rooms has a wood-burn­ing fire­place but if you would like to com­pletely spoil your­self check out one of the ten beau­ti­ful ocean­front one-bed­room villa suites...all with full gourmet kitchens in­clud­ing a wine fridge, large ter­races, out­door wood-burn­ing fire­places, out­door baths, out­door seat­ing and grills.

Tour art stu­dios, en­joy ocean­front din­ing, or keep your lens to the sky and ocean pho­tograph­ing wildlife. Whether you land by your own ves­sel in Stur­dies Bay or cour­tesy BC Fer­ries, you are within walk­ing dis­tance of restau­rants, bak­eries and shops. Pick up the Galiano Is­land Cy­cling brochure at the Stur­dies Bay in­for­ma­tion booth and stop in at Galiano Bi­cy­cle for maps, tips and bike rentals.

You can also find moor­age in Mon­tague Har­bor per­haps at the Mon­tague Har­bor Ma­rina, where you’ll dis­cover their gift shop, restau­rant, boat rentals, fuel and gro­ceries. It’s best to call ahead for moor­age as it is a pop­u­lar spot for boaters – you’re sure to see why. If you moor here, take ad­van­tage of the free bus to the iconic Hum­ming­bird Inn for great food and live mu­sic.

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