Leg Two crewman John Retrum knows these islands. “I’ve been there,” is his standard refrain when mentioning a destination. But he’s never seen them from a cruising sailboat.
Our first destination out of Sidney is Galiano Island. A following breeze pushes us 15 nautical miles to the island, in-mast furling motor performing flawlessly.
No visit to Galiano is complete without a trip to the Hummingbird Inn & Pub. Maybe 30 years ago, John and his wife, Brenda, first visited the Hummingbird Inn. Jocelyn & I visited 11 years ago. Now, John and I would visit again.
To get to the Hummingbird Inn & Pub you ride the Pub Bus, an old yellow school bus. The bus runs every evening between Montague Harbor and the Inn. Tommy Transit is your driver.
Once anchored in Montague Harbor, we hustle to the bus stop. Shortly, the bus arrives, Tommy gesticulating wildly through the windscreen in greeting.
A retired Vancouver bus driver, Tommy has been driving the Pub Bus for years. He hands you a shaker or tambourine as you board. A brief welcome follows and we are off, diesel growling, gears grinding, music blaring, sing along mandatory. Shakers shake and tambourines rattle. Tommy selects early Beatles music for most of this run. He grabs a drum stick and taps a cowbell or cymbal mounted near the helm. Seats are removed from the back of the bus to create an open area where those inclined can operate a hula hoop.
Up over a hill and down into a narrow valley and the ride is over too quickly. We disembark and enter the pub. Good beer and average pub grub is on offer. We eat fast so we can get back on the bus for the return trip.
I indeed do try to hula hoop on the return ride. Tommy, watching in the rear view, roars approval at the attempt.
Spirits high, we row out to the Windleblo for sound sleep knowing the anchor is set well in good mud. Tomorrow we press on for Nanaimo. John’s been there before.