Yesterday we hired a canoe again to explore a little further along the coast and to make it out to one of the smaller islands where some other people we had met had seen seals and whales. The girls weren’t happy about getting up early (we wanted to be on the water just after 9am, so it was hardly the crack of sparrows!) but with a little gentle persuasion we made it there on time and were soon heading out of the harbour.
It felt like it was just us on the sea – there were very few other boats heading out at this time, partly because it was early, but perhaps also because it did look like it might rain. We paddled out to Charles Island without really meeting anyone else (see here for a map to show you Charles Island – you can just see the pontoon of small boats where we started, in the middle right of the harbour). On the way we got to see herons and lots and lots of sea stars (starfish). In fact, the Little One was so worried about damaging the sea stars that she nearly had a full on tantrum when we wanted to stop on the corner of Charles Island on a patch of more sheltered rock so we could have a snack! She was convinced we were squashing the sea stars underneath – we weren’t, I promise. Luckily she calmed down but only after we moved the canoe back out on to the water so she could see there were no sea stars where we wanted to stop. A tantrum in a canoe in the middle of the sea with no way of getting out of the water safely would be most unfunny…
We didn’t find any seals, or whales, so we headed back towards the shore so we could have a rest on the beach (2 hours of canoeing after 2 years off is quite hard on the arms!) Just as we were getting close my Lovely Husband saw that we had company – a seal was in the sea behind us. We turned the canoe so the girls could see the seal but there was no time for a picture, so you’ll just have to believe that the seal was there!
The girls had a very happy hour playing on the beach, collecting shells, cutting bits off sticks and trying to skim stones (I still can’t do it…)
As you can tell by the girls’ clothes, it wasn’t that warm and it did try to rain on us slightly, but that kept most other people away!
We paddled back to the harbour and then headed to the hotel (the Galiano Inn) for their very special pizza. It was so good (and so big!) that we had it for dinner too!
We visited the excellent Galiano book shop after lunch and sat by our outdoor fire with our purchases.
It looks blissful, doesn’t it? Slightly cold, damp day and we’re all close to the fire, with mugs of hot chocolate reading our books. Well, the peacefulness lasted all of 2 minutes – but it was good while it lasted and gives me hope for the occasional quiet afternoon tucked up with my book in the near-ish future!
This morning the tide was very low and we got to walk a long way out on the rocks. And when we did we saw more sea stars than we’d seen anywhere else:
They seem to like clinging together in big groups. We also saw something we’d never seen before – a 4 armed sea star:
Sea stars can re-grow arms that are damaged and even detach arms when under threat but this one didn’t seem to have a place for the traditional 5th arm. He was also all on his own, so I hope he wasn’t being picked on for being different!
Enough sea star silliness.
We headed out to a bay where we might be able to see orcas, but if you’ve been following this blog for a while or our other travels, you’ll know that we have no luck in seeing any wildlife if we are actually looking for it! So no whales for us today. But we did find an amazing landscape on the shore:
There were empty rock pools which would be perfect as fire pits and even ones that would have made fantastic outdoor paddling pools, some complete with water slides!
Obviously, we’d need to live a little nearer to take advantage of this natural feature…
We’ve had a lovely time on Galiano. It is very beautiful, quiet and full of adventures. The pace of life is slow (you can only drive at 30mph everywhere and sometimes less) and trying to arrange anything takes a little bit of patience (yes, I’m talking about you Mr Fisherman – we’re still waiting for you to let us know whether we can go fishing with you last night or this morning… It’s nearly 6pm on Friday now and our first phone call to you was on Tuesday morning so I guess we’ve missed out this time. Also you, Mr Boat hirer – we’ve left a few messages and called by your hire shed – you weren’t there either time – and we still don’t know whether we can hire a boat from you or not!) You also definitely need a car or a bike if you want to get anywhere, as you can’t hire bicycles and there is no public transport, but as long as you’re prepared for that, then you can a truly relaxing and lovely time.