Story and Photos by Julia Pelish
Vacay.ca Visuals Editor
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Who knew travelling at 25 knots could be so exhilarating? I found myself laughing and screaming as I blazed around the peninsula of metro Vancouver on an 90-minute Zodiac boat tour with Sea Vancouver that was nothing short of awesome. What’s more, I was surprised to discover things about the city I live in through our guide’s informative stories.
Our skipper, Dominic Frei, grew up in Vancouver and took pride in telling us the history of city’s development into one of Canada’s most popular destinations. With a mountain backdrop and ocean setting, Vancouver’s beauty can best be appreciated from the water.
The boat departs from Coal Harbour travelling into Vancouver’s port, offering a unique ringside view of the bustling activity with sea planes taking off and landing; cruise, ferry and pleasure boats come and go, and cargo ships float at a standstill as they wait to load and unload.
From there we headed out toward English Bay, passing under the Lions Gate Bridge through the Burrard Inlet. It is a perfect way to appreciate the scope and tranquility of this city’s most famous treasure, Stanley Park. As we cruised, we watched people walk, jog, bike and rollerblade along Vancouver’s 22-kilometre (13.5-mile) public seawall.
English Bay opens up to the Pacific Ocean but our boat ventured deeper into the city rather than away from it. We entered the inlet of False Creek, so named because an early navigator mistook it as a tributary leading to Burrard Inlet on the other side of Vancouver and instead hit a dead end. We passed by the residential west end of the city where the popular Third Beach and Sunset Beaches are dotted with sunbathers. From here we saw Granville Market, the Yaletown area, Olympic Village and Science World, all good for options to explore once you get your land legs back.
This was the only place where we ran into a little trouble. We encountered a pirate ship packed with a menacing bunch of hooligans (actually a bunch of kids on another tourist cruise). They threatened us with water cannons but thanks to our skipper we escaped unharmed and with a few memorable photos of the hilarious encounter.
On a hot summer day the spray from the ocean felt wonderful. I also experienced lots of stomach-tickling bounces by sitting in the front row. The crew will happily adjust the boat’s speed to suit the comfort of the group. As Frei says, “We don’t want people to wish the ride was over but to wish it wouldn’t end.”
For $39 it could probably qualify as one of the most entertaining ways to see Vancouver. Just make sure to wear a windbreaker and hold onto your hat.
MORE ABOUT SEA VANCOUVER
Location: The office is located in the lobby of the Westin Bayshore on 1601 Bayshore Drive, in Coal Harbour (see map below).
Tickets: $39 per person for the 90-minute tour.
Contact: Telephone 1-604-633-6413 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tour Information: Sea Vancouver presently operates three Zodiac boats with departure times at 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm. Reservations are recommended. Please check the company’s website for health restrictions and other details regarding the tour. Sea Vancouver Waterfront Sightseeing Adventures began May 1, 2014 and is a sister company of Prince of Whales, a popular whale-watching tour operator that offers cruises in Vancouver and Victoria.