(14th August-17th August)
Being home in August was coinsidentally perfect timing for the family holiday, which this year is a roadtrip from Vancouver through British Colombia and the Rockies in Canada.
The nine hour flight with Air Canada was as good as a flight could be. With inflight entertainment and delicious food, we really could not complain at all. We were staying at the Rosedale on Robson and easily reached the hotel using the Canada Line, which has been operating in Vancouver since the 2010 Winter Olympics. Slightly jetlagged we weren’t up to too much on the afternoon of our arrival, which was a shame because our time in Vancouver was limited! However we were up early the next day and caught the free shuttle bus to the Capilano Suspension Bridge from Canada Place. I was glad to see the structure of the bridge has advanced since it was first constructed in the 1800s! Whilst there we also did the clifftop and treetop walk whilst collecting stamps in our little adventure passport. We spent a few hours here and found it really enjoyable and informative. With very low clouds we decided to give Grouse Mountain a miss as it definitely wouldn’t be possible to see Vancouver from the top! Instead we headed back and jumped off the bus at Stanley Park, hiring bikes from one of the many hire shops and headed out along the seawall. We stopped to see the totem poles and even spotted a seal and raccoons en-route!
|Wandering through Kapalano|
|Having collected all the stamps on my passport, I claimed my certificate that confirmed my ‘bragging rights’|
|The beautiful, colourful totem poles along the sea wall in Vancouver|
|Cheeky, playful racoons|
We made it to about 9pm before we were all crashing out once again, although this time an early night was needed as we would be up early the next day to go whalewatching. We were picked up the next morning and driven by our friendly driver Levi to Steveston in Richmond. The town is definitely named Richmond for a reason, with the area having the highest population of wealthy Japanese immigrants in Canada, many of whom have made their living in the past through fishing. The habour certainly was testimony to this. After donning on our bright yellow overalls, we made our way past lots of boats that were pulling up and setting up their stalls at the back of their boats to sell their fresh catch from the morning’s haul. We loaded onto our boat and headed out with our guide and captain to search for these gentle giants of the ocean. With a success stream of 128 days, we were quietly conffident that we would be successful. We saw bald eagles and seals as we continued our search along the Strait of Georgia. After an hour of scanning the horizon we had a radio call from another boat that had spotted a pod of transient orcas. We followed 6 beautiful killer whales, a grandmother, her two daughters and their children as they breached the surface of the water and swam together. Our guide was able to answer all of our questions and had a file of all of the resident and transient orca pods in the area, enabling her to identify those we had found. It was great to see the conservation work that is going in to protecting these beautful creatures and our captain made sure he kept his distance to respect the pod as they swam. Although we did get to witness first hand how not everyone is so respectful, as a powerful jet boat with a propeller engine cut straight into the whales path at speed failing to slow down, despite it being clear that we were obviously watching something in the water there. We went back to the harbour truly satisfied by our sighting and found the fish market at the dock in full swing. Multiple types of salmon were for sale and people were going from boat to boat to see what took their fancy.
We returned to Vancouver and for the second half of the day I headed to Granville Island with my Mum and sister. We had visited the night before, but after dinner there, we found that the markets had closed. Corrogated iron barns housed the many market stalls that sold every type of food, from raw meats to fresh fruit and veg to cooked food from every cuisine ready to eat there and then. There were also stalls selling jewellery, art and of course souvenirs. The Island is home to the Granville Island Brewery, with its pub attached. We bought two of their bottled beers to bring back for Dad at only $2.50 a bottle, according to the guy at the till it’s one of the cheapest beers in Vancouver! I couldn’t write about the island without mentioning the Broom Store that was covered from wall to wall with different handmade brooms for all different purposes. Had there been room in the case my mum would have been taking one of the quirky two handled ‘Marriage Brooms’ home for sure! We made it back to the “mainland” by taking the little aquabus the short trip across the rivier before heading back to the hotel to get ready to make moves the next day.