Two ferries and a bus ride took me from downtown Seattle to the other world of Salt Sping Island, in British Columbia (why do they call it that?) This is one of the ‘Gulf Islands’ , it is a world away from Seattle, or even the lovely Canadian town of Victoria, where the Victoria Clipper Ferry delivered me onto Canadian soil for the first time in my life.
A bus (no. 70) to the end of Vancouver Island, and a car ferry ride to Fulford Harbour had me at Salt Spring, where my host Claire McDuff picked me up. Clare runs Island Farmhouse B&B and health studio – yes you can have a therapeutic massage, reiki or hot tub treatment on site.
I had contacted Clare because she was on my WTW site as a women owned accommodation business – Find it here. When she picked me up, she asked me if she knew Judith Pringle, a Nzer she knew. Amazing (or maybe not?!), here I am meeting someone who lives on this small island with 11,000 other people, and I am half way around the world from home, and we know the same person, and more enquiries found others that we knew in common from when Clare had taught architecture in Auckland.
This lovely island seems full of B&Bs and artists, with a landscape of trees and water – most people seem to have brought over their cars, there a few on bikes, and others hitchhike around. A few local buses traverse the island, especially meeting ferries, and they even take bikes on the front! I was without transport, and Clare kindly helped me out taking me out when there were chores to be done. Island Farmhouse B&B is a lovely collection of buildings and gardens set on 10 acres. Clare has horses and chickens, a dog and cat and her kids have rabbits – one of them is being trained to jump! I can see that families would love this place.
I rode a bike down to explore the village of Ganges, which was fine – downhill all the way – though I dreaded the ride home, but I was saved when Clare decided to meet me there, and join me for a kayak for a couple of hours with Island Escapades. Dai, our young guide said we were the best paddlers she had had all year – which was not bad considering that Clare and I were in a double kayak for the first time and the wind was against us.
We did well, got into a rhythm, and were soon across the channel to Goat Island. Here we found a —- starfiish – 250 cms across – 20 legs and bright orange – it was beautiful. Further on we saw a sea lion 30 m away, and eagle nests perched in the top of dead trees. The wind dropped for our paddle home, and just before the marina, 2 m in front of me a seal popped its head up to say hi – it was the perfect end to the trip, made even more perfect by Claire’s offer to take me and the bike back uphill in her truck.