Lovers Leap Viewpoint
Located along the northern end of Porlier Pass Road is an easily-missed scenic viewpoint. It looks like somebody's dirt driveway - common features along this stretch of road, and honestly, unless somebody told you about it, or unless you found it on a map, you'd drive right by it thinking nothing of it.
Porlier Pass Road gains in elevation as you drive north and despite being near the western coast of the island, there's not a lot of views of the water, with exception to momentary glimpses here and there.
But if you pull into this crescent-shaped dirt driveway a few minutes after driving past Cottage Way northbound, you won't see it until you get out of your car and walk over to the edge, but you have a very panoramic view of the Trincomali channel, Wallace Island, the Secretary Islands, Saltspring Island, and Vancouver Island. It's all there, right infront of you. And around you (and below you along the cliff!) are beautiful trees - lots of Douglas firs and arbutus trees.
We were there as it was clouded over, but it was still spectacular. In fact, there was a thunderstorm over to the north-west of where we were, over Vancouver Island, and we watched from Lover's Leap viewpoint.
Secret water access at Georgeson Bay
After 5 days of exploring the better known sites on the island, we decided to be a bit more adventurous, using our official Galiano map as inspiration. The great thing about this map was this little pizza-slice looking icon (a sail boat, perhaps?) that signified “water access”. There's a lot of public water access on Galiano in the form of designated parks, but this map was showing me that there was a lot of *secret* water access than initially meets the eye. I wanted test the accuracy of these little "pizza slices" on my map.
After driving through the wilderness at Bluffs Park, we headed along Georgeson Bay Road towards the cemetary and Mount Galiano. This is evidently a very scenic residential enclave of Galiano with a lot of cute homes with large landscaped gardens. After parking the car at the Mount Galiano parking lot off of Active Pass Drive, we walked back to the road, crossed the street and headed left towards the trees. It didn't look like there was water accesss at all, but in the trees were small “water access" signs. You could easily miss them. It points you down a well-trodden but secretly hidden dirt path through the bushes, paralleling the fence of a residential back yard.
Walk down around the bend through the maple trees and down the concrete staircase. At the bottom of the staircase is a tiny sandy beach at Georgeson Bay. This little bay is a tranquil setting overlooking Active Pass and Mayne Island. Lots of ferry traffic passes across the water here. Water is very clear here. I dipped my toes into the water. Refreshing on a hot day but on a cool day it would make for a cold swim. The beach is sandy but there are also loose rocks, barnacle-covered driftwood, and various species of seaweed.
At high tide this beach is tiny – I only visited at high tide, so I don’t know how large the beach becomes at low tide. Ideally, if you visit at high tide, you’ll want to be the only people there unless you like getting cozy with strangers.