The last full day on our short family vacation we went whale watching with Vancouver Whale Watch out of Richmond, BC. There were about 40 folks in our zodiac boat and we traveled out into the Strait of Georgia and among the islands. We were lucky enough to see the J Pod of Orcas, including Granny (who maybe upwards of 100 years old) and several babies. They swam near our boat for upward of an hour. They surfaced and slapped and spyhopped. It was Vancouver Whale Watch’s 104th consecutive days of orca sightings of those they went out. At the end of our time three large ferry boats came into view and the pod frolicked in the foreground. What a perfect scene! We also saw a young eagle and seals lounging about.
The Lan Su Chinese Garden in the Chinatown neighborhood of Vancouver, BC. is a little piece of serenity in a very busy downtown. All of the garden’s materials were brought in from the city of Suzhou, Vancouver’s sister city and built by citizens of that city. I took the 45 minute tour lead by a wonderful docent while my other family members wondered off to find their own adventures. One of the interesting facts I learned is that the decorative windows in the walls are all different and they are called leaks because they lead in light and air. More information can be found here.
During our last Vancouver visit many years ago, we explored Granville Island, so I was eager to return and see if it is as wonderful as I remembered. It was even better. We took the SkyTrain into the city and then caught the bus to the market entrance.
The first thing we did was go to the market building to grab some lunch, which we enjoyed along with the stunning view of the harbor and city. Dear husband and I shared the mushroom pot pie.
Later we strolled through the busy market with its many buildings, enjoying the unusual produce, delis and gift items. It is a foodie mecca. In 1915 the island was created from reclaimed land and became home to industrial uses and in the late 1970s it developed into its current mixed use.
We hadn’t been to Vancouver in well over 20 years and it was past time. So dear husband and I gathered up dear daughter and off we went. Along the way we stopped at the Vancouver Airport and picked up her boyfriend. Once at the hotel we asked for a dinner recommendation and we were sent to Hooked Fish Bar at Crescent Beach area. I had the fish tacos, dh had the fish & chips, dd had the salmon burger and bf had the mussels. We shared some poutine, a first for dh who took right to them! Afterwards we walked along the beach and even into the water, gathering shells, admiring the view and generally playing.
The BC (British Columbia) Ferries in Canada are amazing. Dear daughter, my dad and I took the Spirit of British Columbia Ferry from Tsawwassen (south of Vancouver, BC) to Swatz Bay (on Vancouver Island, north of Victoria). On the way to Victoria we took the Spirit of British Columbia and on the way back we traveled on the Spirit of Vancouver. The photos are of both ships.
While I’ve been on my fair share of ferries, none of have matched these ships for size and style. They hold 410 vehicles (including up to 34 semis) and 2,100 people (passengers and crew). Amenities include Seawest Lounge, Pacific Buffet, Coastal Cafe for hot & cold dishes, Coast Cafe Express for lighter fare, Passages Gift Shop, video arcades, play areas, work/study stations, telephones, elevators, wheelchair-friendly decks and washrooms. The trip took over two hours, allowing time to enjoy the spectacular scenery as we traveled through the San Juan Islands.