So much to say, so long a post!

Vancouver Travel Blog

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One man and his band

So, theres a lot to tell!


Our first full day in Vancouver we decided to visit Granville island (which isnt actually an island at all, just an outcrop from the mainland). We decide to walk as it didnt look that far on the map, we didnt realise until too late that it would involve walking over the overpass which went right over the market and a good way onto the other side with no way of getting off.

Uber cute sea otters
Thus we ended up walking a good deal further than we thought *DOH*. The market itself was an ecclectic mix of artist shops, food stalls and every type of gift shop you could ever want (and a few you dont). We spent a good long time wandering around, before sitting out on the harbour front enjoying the sun and listening to a guy playing the banjo while singing George Formby style songs! We decided to not walk the epic journey round to the overpass again as we had spotted an 'aquabus', a little boat ferrying people across the river for $2.50 and thought we had earned the ride.


The next day we went to Vancouver aquarium which had been recommended to us by one of Rachel's friends. It is housed within Stanley Park, a huge sprawling park which is set over 404 hectares of land! We arrived shortly before 11am and had to queue to get in, we really need to learn not to visit places like this on a weekend! The first thing we did was visit the outdoor areas which houses the marine mammals.

White sided pacific dolphins
We immediately spotted the sea otters and it was love at first sight! They were utterly adorable, two were having a whale of a time ducking and bobbing through the water, showing off their acrobatic skills to everyone while a third, slightly tubbier otter was content to sunbathe on a rock and enjoy the attention.


We then headed to the dolphin tank as there was going to be a display. We managed to bag ourselves a decent viewing spot on the walkway and after a short wait out came four staff members, three of whom turned out to be trainers and one was our commentator. The commentator introduced us to the trainers and all of the dolphins, which there was four of. They were all white sided pacific dolphins, most of which were in captivity after being rescued. Two had been horrifically injured in fishing nets, with one having significately smaller flippers than normal because they had been so damaged.

More acrobatics
The show was formatted in a way that made all the kids into research scientists and helped them identify what type of dolphin they were looking at and the different ways scientists identify individuals. They explained that although dolphins have two natural predators in the water their main threat came from man, and listed the ways that everyone can help protect the wildlife in their oceans. Apparently Vancouver Aquarium has dedicated its existance to researching marine life and conservation, with many of its residents being survivors rescued from the sea. Good people.


We were so enthralled by the dolphins we went back and caught a later show too, this time going down to the under water viewing area to watch these graceful and beautiful animals from another perspective. There was also a beluga whale show, which was fantastic to watch too.

One of the friendly Beluga whales
Belugas are very unique looking animals, so enthrallingly white and serene, gazing at us with perfect contentment. One even came up to the glass and pressed its head again it, as if wanting us to stroke its head like a playful puppy. Its so sad that something so beautiful is so threatened by mans stupidity and arrogance.


We spent a whole day at the aquarium, and it didnt feel long enough. There is so much to see, so much to learn that if I lived in Vancouver I would surely go every week! You can even pay to help out the staff, for $35 you could spend the day feeding the otters, how cool would that be! I bough a patch from the gift store to remember my visit.


On Monday we got up early and made our way down to the bus station for 8.

Rachel on the 'magic carpet'
45am so we could buy tickets for the 9.45 bus to Whistler. It was a three and a half hour trip up winding roads that lead through some stunning mountains. Unfortunately, the nearer we got the more we saw roadworks and digging. Vancouver is hosting the 2010 Olympics and Whistler is hosting the Winter Games so the place is undergoing a heavy duty overhaul of services in preperation. Sadly these include defacing the stunning mountains I just mentioned to make way for the increased traffic the games will cause. Whistler itself is a popular and fantastic spot for skiing & snow boarding, with two mountains sitting side by side for lucky (I mean rich) people to frolic on.


We had a wander round the village and seeing as doing any boarding was out of our price range decided to go tubing. Tubing is basically sitting on an inflated ring which then shoots down the hillside at very fast speeds while you cling to it and get drenched with the snow it kicks up into your face.

If you go down to the woods today........
It was great!! Once at the bottom you drag your ring over to the 'magic carpet' which carries you back up the hill so you can do it all over again. We spent about an hour and a half tubing and were thoroughly knackered y the end of it but very chuffed. The only down side was the mountains were cloaked in mist most of the time so we didnt get many photos of it.


Our last day in Vancouver was spent at Lynn Canyon, a huge state park in North Vancouver. We had to spend about 40 mins on two buses, with a 20 minute wait between (just like london buses!) to get there but it was well worth it. We walked down into the park and the first sign we spotted was one warning us that black bears had been sighted recently and advised us on the best ways not to get eaten! It was very exciting. We then walked down to the suspension bridge, its smaller than the main on the other side of the Canyon but hey it was free and was described as scarier in the guide book!


We spent several hours wandering through the park but sadly no bear (or bigfoot) sightings.

The view from the suspension bridge
It was a very peaceful park and unspoilt by human hand *nods happily*. On the way back we had a very amusing talk with the bus driver, Canadians are just so damn friendly!

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One man and his band
One man and his band
Uber cute sea otters
Uber cute sea otters
White sided pacific dolphins
White sided pacific dolphins
More acrobatics
More acrobatics
One of the friendly Beluga whales
One of the friendly Beluga whales
Rachel on the magic carpet
Rachel on the 'magic carpet'
If you go down to the woods today.…
If you go down to the woods today…
The view from the suspension bridge
The view from the suspension bridge
Vancouver
photo by: Browser