Galiano Island and Orcas

We caught the ferry from Tsawwassen to Galiano on Sunday afternoon.  Just as the boat was about to leave the dock someone ran down from the top deck to say that there was a pod of orca whales just outside the harbour.  We went up on deck to watch as we sailed slowly past them, not close enough to take amazing pictures, but close enough to see them leaping in to the air, splashing their tails and generally playing together in the water.

Pod of Orcas

Pod of Orcas

It was amazing to see them so close to the harbour. If you have good eyesight you can see the fins of 4 of the orcas in the picture.  The camera on my phone wasn’t quick enough to catch them leaping out of the water but the 20 minutes we had watching them saves us going on a whale spotting boat trip this week!

Galiano is supposed to be one of the wildest Gulf Islands.  It certainly looked pretty untouched by humans when we approached.  Luckily there was a harbor and a dock for the ferry and we found our hotel, the Galiano Inn, within walking distance.

It’s very beautiful here and quiet (apart from the ferries going past!)  But even the ferries are quite peaceful – they roll across the horizon, in front of the next island ahead of us and then disappear behind the headland.  Sometimes they sound their horns, but they’re not close enough for this to disturb the peace.  We’re staying in a ground floor 1 bedroom self-catering villa, which is very nice.  The most exciting thing, other than the view from our patio doors:

The beach behind our villa

The beach behind our villa

is that the covered patio, which has the usual table and chairs and an electric grill for cooking outdoors, has a spa bath and a real fireplace!

After exploring the beach directly behind our villa and finding lots of tiny hermit crabs in the rock pools, as well as some good climbing rocks, and having dinner in the restaurant, the girls spent a very happy hour in the outdoor bath!

Our outdoor spa bath!

Our outdoor spa bath!

And after the girls were in bed, my Lovely Husband and I had an hour out there, listening to the waves break on the shore at the end of the lawn and the occasional ferry go past in the dark, whilst watching the flames of the fire. To make it even more magical, when I got out of the bath there was a stag on the lawn 5 metres from the bath, eating the grass in the dark!

This morning we were up fairly early so we paid a visit to the bakers to buy some croissants for breakfast, plus a few treats for today’s adventure.  We were off to discover Whaler’s Bay, which is  a couple of miles from the Galiano Inn where we are staying.

The girls took their scooters and we walked/ran alongside them the 3 miles to the bay.  The girls scooted until the road ran out and then we walked along a track:

Along the track,

Along the track…

…through beautiful forests as Galiano is a West Coast temperate rain forest:

Through the rainforest...

…through the rainforest…

and arrived at a beautiful log-strewn beach. the beach!

…to the beach!

The girls immediately set to work building a house (named Seaweed Cottage) out of driftwood, stones and seaweed, which the Big One had her lunch in!

The Big One proving she could fit through the door in Seaweed Cottage

The Big One proving she could fit through the door in Seaweed Cottage

We then went on a treasure hunt on the beach which turned into a true treasure hunt when my Lovely Husband found some jade.

We watched some art students making a film involving a girl being murdered on the beach and left floating in the sea. The poor girl was sneezing a lot after lying face down in the sea repeatedly – it’s a trifle cold in the sea here!  Luckily the girls were completely oblivious to all this – they were too busy searching for jade and sticks.

There was time for some rock-pooling, followed by a climb over the rocks right round to the edge of the bay.  Then, after 4 hours on the beach, it was time to get home, so my Lovely Husband and I ran alongside the girls on their scooters (well, actually I pulled the Little One most of the way home on hers!), stopping only for an ice cream just before we got home.

We had dinner on the patio and then it was time for a little bit of time on the beach before bed.

On the rocks

On the rocks

The baby hermit crabs are really interesting to watch and the girls are now brave (and gentle) enough to pick them up and put them in their bucket so they can watch them race around and fight each other.

Rock-pooling - watching little hermit crabs

Rock-pooling – watching little hermit crabs

Whilst we were busy doing this, I didn’t notice that my Lovely Husband had taken most of his clothes off and I turned around to see him stripped down to his shorts and diving in to the sea!  It was very cold but he called it refreshing.  Needless to say that us girls didn’t follow him in.  Maybe another day…

Lovely Husband taking a very cold dip!

Lovely Husband taking a very cold dip!

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