Island Hopping – To Salt Spring

Salt Spring Island is somewhere I have always wanted to go to!  I don’t really know why – it just sounded like a neat place, with neat people – and it was!

We went with Alice & Jim (Aunt & Uncle) who split their Vancouver Island residency between their downtown condo in Victoria and their vacation condo in Campbell River.  We took separate cars since they were leaving Salt Spring from Vesuvius to Croften enroute to Campbell River and we would be returning to Victoria via Fulford to Swartz Bay.

Alice & Jim - "let's go for coffee..."
Alice & Jim – “let’s go for coffee…”

Salt Spring Island is the largest (70 square miles/180 square kilometres), most populated (10,500) and, I think, the most popular of the Southern Gulf Islands.

It was a 35 minute ferry ride from the Vancouver Island departure point of Swartz Bay to “funky” Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring.  The morning was rainy, foggy, cloudy and cool but exciting nonetheless.

“Funky” Fulford Harbour Coffee Shop
“Funky” Fulford Harbour Street Sign

I particularly wanted to go on Saturday because that is when they have their world famous market in Centennial Park in the main town of Ganges.  Typically, there are 140+ vendors and the market philosophy and rule is “make it, bake it, grow it”.  The Market in the Park takes place weekly on Saturdays from April 5th – October 25th.  And, October 25th is the day we were there – rainy, foggy, cloudy and cool but exciting nonetheless.  However, the number of vendors was slightly reduced – maybe 40…

Jim - paying for the "Mystic Munchie" treats that Alice bought...
Jim – paying for the “Mystic Munchie” treats that Alice bought…
I've never seen such huge Oyster mushrooms...
I’ve never seen such huge Oyster mushrooms…
Beautiful produce for the end of October...
Beautiful produce for the end of October…

I have always known that “island” living is more challenging than living on the mainland in that (i)  product is usually more expensive, (ii)  you are at the mercy of a ferry schedule to get on and off, (iii)  weather can be a challenge, etc. etc.  BUT, I had never realized schools would be affected.  While Salt Spring Island has 4 elementary schools, 1 middle school and 1 high school there are neighbouring islands that have students that need to be transported.  How?  In a water school bus!  There are over 100 students that are transported daily in water busses from the various Gulf Islands and I did get a pic of “The Graduate” – 


The Graduate - School Bus
The Graduate – School Bus

The other ‘bus’ in the fleet is “Scholarship”!  How cool is that!

Our brief tour of Ganges ended in a relaxing drink by the fire followed by lunch in the renowned Oyster Catcher Seafood Bar –

DSC02491 DSC02492

Did I mention it was rainy, foggy, cloudy and cool but exciting nonetheless?  I will be back to Salt Spring…



and Howe…







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