Another May Long Weekend
This is year seven of the May Long
Weekend Tradition and we are still going Strong. By the numbers
(2001 - 7 people), Sunshine
(2002 - 7 people), Pender
(2003 - 9 people), Mudge
(2004 - 9 people), Port
(2005 - 10 people), Galiano
(2006 - 10 people) and
this year we are 11 people. We had some challenges finding a
place to accommodate us (that was new) so we were quite happy to find
the place on Gabriola - and Island I've never been to before.
A first - this year we had fewer cars seats than people. Four
people arrived by plane so we did a bit of shuttling, but everything
worked out just fine.
I'm a big
fan of Markets
ideal May Long Weekend trip for me has a visit to a local market.
The Gabriola Market is second only to Salt Spring Island's
and I think edged out Pender Island's Market
- I was quite surprised by how busy it was. The locals
told me that the first market of the year (which is always the May long
generally the busiest. I was quite impressed by the
local groceries and the art work.
A few minutes after we arrived, Helen and Andrea were hitting me up for
money. Andrea wound up with a hands full of snacks including
locally made licorice and Helen purchased veggies for our meal later
that evening. They weren't the only people who wound up with a
Coincident to the Market opening, the Alpaca farm on the Island (just
down the road) also opened and had an open house. We stopped in
with the a few and discovered that alpaca's really are a nicer version
of sheep. Their small size and huge glassy eyes sure make them
close to pet - probably why I haven't heard of alpaca meat for sale.
Our vacation rental was across the street
from a rocky beach.
Rocky beach often means tide pools. The currents in this area run
fast so the inter tidal areas are often rich. The inter tidal areas
here were dominated by Purple Sea stars and kelp - a few pools had
Anemones and at the lowest tide areas you could find the odd leather
star or sunflower star.
It's quite easy to get lost poking your nose
pools. While this beach isn't the prettiest beach ever, the wide
scale view as actually quite nice. The ferry arrives close
by every hour or so at night you get a bit of a light show when the
ferry comes in.
On Sunday night, we got a bit of a
had been pretty overcast that day so I wasn't expecting much of
sunset. Stephen actually noticed the colour first and after he
mentioned it, pretty much all of us went out for the short walk to the
bay to take in the view.
The closest proper park to our house was Descanso bay. One
afternoon a few of us went for a bit of a walk around and I was quite
surprised to find I didn't have a camera! I had left it on the
kitchen table, and was without camera when I found some nice orchids
poking through the undergrowth.
I'm quite glad I came back.
Hard Time at the House
Any trip has it's fair share of time at the house. This year we
brought lots of board games (assuming the weather was going to turn
poor) so we played a number of larger group games like Jeremy's new
copy of Puerto Rico and Carcassonne. Sadly, while we brought
Diplomacy, it didn't get opened up.
You could have spent the entire weekend in the
house and had a great
time, but thankfully the weather cooperated and we got a number of
chances to get outside.
Andrea is an archeology buff and when she
were Petroglyphs on the Island she was quite keen to come out and see
them. We got a car full of people and drove out to the church and
only then realized it was Sunday morning and the church was in full
service. As quietly as we could, we parked, and then went on a
hike into the back field to find the petroglyphs. We were quickly
The petroglyphs are quite cryptic and despite our best storytelling, we
couldn't really come up with satisfactory stories to explain what we
were looking at. Some of the Petroglyphs were quite faint and for
once I was happy there was a bit of rain to help highlight the edges of
I've seen Shooting Stars in Van Dusen Gardens before, but this was the
first time I've seen them naturally occurring in the wild. I've
looked them up - I'm pretty sure they are native, not some loose garden
On our drive back, we passed by brickyard beach and I noticed a small
group of Great Blue Herons feeding in the shallows.
This area is quite close to Mudge Island
seen groups of Great Blue Herons before. I'm guessing the
productive waters in this area feed quite a bit wildlife. I found
the combination of saw mill and elegant birds quite jarring, but that's
BC for you.
Sandwell Provincial Park
Jin wanted to stretch her legs so we picked a park and went for a
walk. Sandwell is on the North coast and has a view of Entrance
Island Lighthouse. It's also a huge sandy beach.
Gabriola Sands / Malaspina Galleries
Monday turned out to be our best day weather
wise and we took advantage
with a little walk. First we went to Gabriola Sands Provincial
Park (called Twin Beaches by some locals). It's got a nice sandy
beach and a grassy field for a walk.
Second, we drive to the Malaspina Galleries - a rock formation on the
western side of the Island. It's a quick walk to the shore and
some fantastic rock work near the shore. There is some concern
that these structures may collapse, but we threw caution to the wind.
Thanks everyone for coming out - I had a fantastic weekend and I hope
everyone else did too!
Tags: beach(9), gulf island(8), flower(7), rock(7), market(5), tide pool(5)
People: Jin(4), Stephen(4), Mark(3), Sean(3), Andrea(3), Helen(3)
From: John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > Gabriola
Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 01:21:45 Edit
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