ANSWER THE SIREN'S CALL
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.