Penders grads say good-bye to water taxi travel

July 16, 2014
Often when I tell people that students in the southern Gulf Islands travel by water taxi every day to go to the Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) and, in some cases, to Salt Spring Middle School as well, they often refer to this as stunningly idyllic.

So did I, I guess, until I lived on Salt Spring Island, had my son in the school system and attended parent-teacher meetings. That is when I found out, it is an exhausting travel experience for many of these young people. In the winter, they often leave home in the dark and return home when it is dark.

When I was doing the Penders Islands beat for the Gulf Islands Driftwood, I wrote the following piece:

Gulf Islands Driftwood Pender Islands Edition
June 7, 2000
Penders grads say good-bye to water taxi travel

Tracking down Gulf Islands Secondary School graduates last Sunday, after Saturday’s end-of-high-school celebrations, was not an easy task.

The Penders Edition did manage to make contact with two of the six Penders students among them.

Ryan Whalley said he will mixx the close friendships he has made on the water taxi but will not miss the ride or rising each morning at 6 a.m.

Whalley has a summer job at Bedwell Harbour Resort and Marina. He hopes to follow that with a year of work before attending another year in college. Then, he wants to head to university.

Biology and chemistry are his interests — biology because “you get to see how everything works in our bodies” and chemistry because it helps answer questions like “why iron rusts.”

Whalley won a compact phone at the graduation dance on Saturday.

Ginny Grimmer will also miss her friends now that school is over. She plans to take some courses in North Vancouver that will lead to work as a stewardess on Coast Guard ships. This will give her the opportunity to travel.

The big paycheque appeals to her as well as the two weeks on/two off work schedule. Grimmer thinks she will spend her free time doing more travelling.

She received a blanket in the graduation draw at the weekend celebration.

Other Penders graduates hovering somewhere between Salt Spring and their home islands are Cameron Bell, Keven Biagioni, Jesse Kirkby and Matthew Jamieson…


To read earlier posts in this blog, please go to

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Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader by Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author or by going to the title and author at


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