Places We Go – Vancouver, BC

Coming from the Gulf Islands, we have to cross the Strait of Georgia to get to Vancouver, BC. The Strait runs northwest to southeast and the winds can blow through creating choppy and uncomfortable, on-the-beam, seas. Many boaters fear the strait and the crossing, yet cross, regardless of conditions due to a schedule. We try to never have a schedule. Most of you know our motto by now – “the worst thing on a boat is a schedule”. Schedule drives decisions on going, and we make weather and sea state the decision maker for our voyages.

Boaters live for the marine weather forecasts on their VHF radios. And, as hard as the forecasters try to get it right, that doesn’t always happen. Part of the problem is that there are micro weather systems in the area. And though the overall forecast might make sense scientifically, the lay of the land – as in capes, points, heads, passes, etc., affect the local conditions. So much so, that there are weather buoys at some of these very points giving current conditions.  The data from the buoys can be checked online.  Also, the weather information on the VHF radios gives the current conditions at these buoys.  So, with all that being said, when it comes time for us to cross the strait, we make our way to Silva Bay -on Gabriola Island in the Gulf Islands – our hop off point, and look out at the strait. On a clear day you can see the twenty-something miles to Vancouver. If the seas are within our tolerance range, we go. There was a ripple on the water – meaning there was a light wind, and we had a green light to cross the strait.  And, as in other times, we had an easy crossing.

Because we wait for weather, we can’t always tell friends our exact arrival. I was hoping I would get internet and send a last minute email saying that we would be crossing but it didn’t happen. Of course we are fine on our own, where ever we are, so it isn’t a requirement to have friends waiting on a dock for us. In fact, it is a rarity. We decided to head to False Creek and anchor for a few days. We had a project we wanted to do, and it would give our friends a chance to find time for a rendezvous.  As I mentioned in the blog last year, stopping under the Burrard Bridge to pickup our anchor permit was unpleasant. We had determined NOT to do that this year, but ended up doing so anyway. And this time, we managed to get the permit and get away from the dock before the bridge birds did their number all over the boat! I will tell you, though; it is a very nervous time walking under the bridge. I just told myself, over and over, don’t look up! 🙂

Note: We were told by the wharfinger at False Creek Yacht Club that we “should” be able to register online and print our Anchor Permit. This is a new service, just implemented. We didn’t try it, since we got our permit from him, but it would be well worth the effort, saving yourselves an unnecessary docking and possible bird bombing!  Also, we were told we could come in to the False Creek Yacht Club and fill up with water anytime.  The permits are good for two weeks.  Moorage in Vancouver is not cheap and the anchorage is a very pleasant place to stay and see Vancouver.  There is a dinghy dock at the very head of the anchorage.  It will get you to a light rail that can take you all over the city and to the airport.  Also, within walking distance from that dock is a Costco and a wonderful huge Asian Shopping Center.   We buy our dungeness crab there.  The prices are extremely reasonable and the fish are fresh. We believe some of the best crab we have ever bought came from that market.  We got some nice halibut, too!

Cirque du Soleil  – Kooza – is running through September 5, 2010.  You could walk to it from the dinghy dock at the head of the bay.

The False Creek anchorage changed dramatically over the last year. Approximately half of the anchorage has been eliminated due to red and green buoys placed in the middle of the channel between the Burrard Bridge and the Cambie St. Bridge. We ended up beyond the Cambie Street Bridge, at the end of the anchorage just off of the Science World Center. I was disappointed upon arrival as it was noisy with construction ashore and seemed unfriendly but it quieted down in the late afternoon and was very pleasant. The Science World Center was a beautiful center piece to the anchorage. The skyline is beautiful at night. The moon looked as if it had been hung just for our enjoyment.

False Creek Skyline

Public Market

We go to False Creek to visit Granville Market. The Public Market on Granville Island is to Vancouver, what Pikes Place Public Market is to Seattle. Very fun, very intriguing, and chock full of the most incredible foods you can imagine. These pictures are enough to set your mouth watering! So many choices, and all the fresh flowers, vegetables, fruits, bread, meat, poultry, fish – almost any food you can imagine! Don’t forget all the artisans selling their wares, too.  And the people! The aisles are packed with tourists browsing and local people trying to shop. Lots of people, noise, and fragrance – it’s a total sensual experience.

We walked through – my goal was Canadian Maple Syrup. I see a lot of marinade recipes with Maple Syrup as the main ingredient. I used the syrup last week on a marinade for fresh caught salmon. Delicious!  The lady at the maple syrup kiosk gave me a basic recipe that is supposed to be a never fail – 1/3 cup Maple Syrup, 1/3 cup Soy Sauce, and 1/3 cup Olive Oil.

Other than the syrup, we had an odd mission on the island. We lost our friend’s phone number when my cell phone went for a swim in the Columbia River. We tried everything we knew to find her number with no luck. The only thing we didn’t try was Directory Assistance – and it would have worked! I knew one sure way to get her number. It would be in our phone bill from May or June. However, I hadn’t downloaded our bill – lesson learned. So Bruce took the Netbook and trudged all over the island until he found a WIFI Hotspot. I stayed at the market, since he was making a trip to the marine hardware store, too. Wouldn’t you know it? He had to go into Starbucks, buy a coffee, and get the info! 😉 But, we prevailed, got Sharon’s number and had a nice lunch at Sammy J. Peppers Grill. And we were very happy, as it led, a few days later, to a crab feed – something that has become a tradition to us all.

Sharon brought Adrianne and Rosebud as guests to the crab feed. It was great to see Adrianne and Rosebud. We all met several years ago, when Sharon and Adrianne went on a trip to Oregon to get Rosebud. It was a great reunion and we are all going to do our best to stay connected. Rosebud was the perfect guest, even if she didn’t get any crab. It was a great party and we hope to see them again soon.

We caught up with other Van friends, too. Bruce and Ida came for dinner on board D/V, and then one day they took us on a tour of their side of town – West Van, including North Van. While “Van” Bruce went off to an appointment, “DV” Bruce, Ida, and I were dropped off at another market in north Vancouver – Lonsdale Quay. Much like the public market on Granville Island, but on a smaller, less hectic scale! We had coffee – of course!  Good friends and good coffee and life is good!

We love seeing our friends in Vancouver. They make our visit absolutely perfect, and why this is one of the Places We Go – Vancouver, BC!

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