The 40-minute ferry ride to Galiano Island departed at 11:20AM today. Upon arrival, I noted the big hill to climb. The roadway sign warned that drivers must have chains in the winter. My only consolation was that "what goes up, must come down."
I was on my way to camping for the night at the Montague Harbor Marine Provincial Park. The fee was $20 for the night whether you are bike camping or with car. The park was mostly full but I secured a space in an overflow area in a nice grassy field near the shell beach. This was a three day holiday (BC Day) for the Canadians so the island was busy with Canadian visitors. I learned that Canadians have a three day holiday every month.
Montague Harbor is the largest harbor and anchoring field in the Gulf Islands and is managed by the provincial park service. It has small marina with docks and moorings to rent, as well as a small cafe and store by the docks. Vessels under 36 feet can tie on the docks. Bigger boats need to pick up a mooring ball or anchor out. The cove was full on this holiday weekend. It is an anchorage used by many first time boaters because the bottom is mud and even when not anchored properly the boat is not likely to drag.
I heard that there was a "pub bus" that made the 4-mile hilly, bumpy and twisty run to the Humming Bird Pub on Sturdies Bay Road. I noticed the pub on the ride to Montague Harbor. The bus leaves every hour starting at 5PM from the camp and the marina. The old yellow bus was retired from delivering children to school and converted to a singing musical madhouse with cymbals mounted above the windshield delivering adults (and children) to the pub.
The bus driver is Tommy Transit ... and is the band leader of the mayhem which ensues during the 20 minute 'transit' time. Upon entering the bus, he hands you rythm instruments or shaker to play along with the music (rock-n-roll, Beatles, country). Tommy does not text while driving but there is no rule about playing percussion instruments with a drumstick, entertaining the passengers, and being a tour guide. Between music of the 60s, songs, and antics, he doles out some "Tommy wisdom." Predictably, after pub time, the return trip to camp is a rowdy songfest. On my particular return trip, the bus was rocking out with the Beatles' Yellow Submarine, Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire, and Fats Domino's Blueberry Hill (apparently a tradittion).
Tommy (real name Tom Tompkins) who drove a transit bus for 21 years in Vancouver, BC in an earlier life, describes himself as "an inspirational speaker inspiring people who work with the public to be ambassadors of change." He has been doing the Tommy bus driving show since 2007, 800 to 1,000 times a year. The pub bus itself has been in operation for 31 years. Tommy's positivity book, "Bus Tales: How to Change the World From 9 to 5", is available at his website www.TommyTransit.com or on Amazon. I made a 10-minute video of the bus ride which was posted to YouTube.
Galiano Island was named after the Spanish explorer Dionisio Galiano, who explored the area in 1792. Galiano was long inhabited by aboriginal people from the Penelakut First Nation and used by other Coast Salish nations. Midden pits at Montague Harbour suggest 3000 years of habitation. Today there is only one Indian Reserve on the island, Galiano Indian Reserve No. 9, located at the northern tip of the island and under Penelakut administration. Industries of the past were logging, fishing and charcoal-burning, although today tourism and the arts are the most common sources of employment.