My life is made up of moments made possible by the generosity of my friends. Sometimes they are people who I have known for years, who I have slowly and surely built a relationship with based on shared experiences and ideas and we give to each other because we have known each other for so long and our roots run deep. Sometimes friendship comes in a flash and I feel a kindred spirit with someone I have just met and the generosity pours out suddenly. It was the second case that got SMH and I on a ferry from Tsawwassen, British Columbia, to Galiano Island last weekend. Galiano is an island just north of Washington state in Canada’s Gulf Islands and a place that I’ve decided closely resembles paradise.
I met our host J., who lives in Vancouver, at a baby shower for a mutual friend last winter. I mentioned that I was probably going to come to the Pacific Northwest in the summer and she mentioned “the island.” We hit it off and hung out again before she had to head back to Canada and her job with the BC Ferry company. When we made plans to visit the island I had no idea what a treat we were in for or how generous J. and her family would be when we were there. Getting to Galiano is easy – it’s about a 40 minute drive south of Vancouver to Tsawwassen, the port where the ferries leave from, then about an hour sail across. Even though you can still see the Tsawwassen terminal from the docks of Galiano once we stepped onto the island we stepped into a different world.
Our weekend consisted of catching crabs and fish, huge, ugly, monstrous looking Ling Cod to be exact, and eating them that same evening; drinking wine on the deck while the sun set over the bay; cracking up while watching Bill Murray in Stripes on VHS; walking through thick forests to a pebbly beach with frigid water; admiring seals, otters and eagles; and even taking the plunge into the refreshing waters of Whaler Bay.
Growing up in Maine I used to spend a week or two a summer at lucky friends’ summer homes on islands, so I know a bit about the island life and how transporting it can be. However, there was something about Galiano that seemed even more magical. Maybe it was the thick cedar and fir trees covered in moss in the forest, or Mt. Baker towering over the bay in the distance, or the fact that nature is so abundant that you can pull your dinner out of the water (provided you have a proper fishing license). Galiano Island is one of those rare places that worked its way into my heart quickly and suddenly and I know I will keep it there forever, not unlike those suddenly generous friendships that continue to endure throughout my life.