Following last week’s post, it’s about time I set to work exploring Vancouver don’t you think?
In all honesty I had such an amazing trip (and I’ve just got back from another sneaky holiday) that I’ve got so much to tell you guys about! Hopefully you are looking forward to reading it as much as I am looking forward to writing it, I may have to start posting more often to fit it all in! I promise I’ll try not to bore you all too much! Plus I have a sneaky piece of good news to tell you all about over the next few weeks…
If you remember after last week’s post I was pretty shattered, so after getting settled into my hotel, my main mission was to stay awake long enough to not face plant my evening meal and start snoring in the middle of the restaurant.
Now is a good time to admit that one of the downside’s to traveling solo is that I sometimes play it safe slightly on an evening until I’ve had chance to get to know the area a little. Once I’m settled in and I’ve made a good group of friends, then the enjoyment and the exploring really begins! But at this point I didn’t want to go roaming around a city I hadn’t seen in daylight knowing full well that with the amount of sleep I’d had, I’d pretty much be a few sandwiches short of a picnic if you know what I mean…
So after a nice meal and a few drinks I finally gave in and went to bed, determined that I would finally have the sleep I’d been looking for! I wasn’t disappointed; a solid 12 hours later I was up and ready to hit the town on a mission!
I’d booked the first of my whale watching adventures today, and had high hopes! It was to depart from Granville Island, so I decided to head down a few hours early and have a tootle round the market first! After a short journey on my very first Aquabus taxi, I was there and it was pretty amazing, all the food and drink you could possibly imagine displayed quite temptingly throughout the market. The smells as I wandered around made it quite hard not to get one of everything!
I must admit though, if you head to Granville Island Market it is worth going early as it was quite nice and quiet when I was there not long after opening. On my return visit after the boat trip, it was a lot busier and became more of a mission to navigate my way around without unsuspectingly attacking too many innocent bystanders with my handbag.
With my lunch in my hand I headed towards the office where I’d get sorted for the boat trip! I got kitted out in what I think was a rather fetching “scuba suit” (I’m fairly certain this isn’t what it was actually called) and waited nervously in anticipation. I may have said this before but I pretty much spent my entire house deposit on this trip, purely in the hopes of seeing Orcas, and maybe the odd whale as well. I’ve been told that in peak season (summer) you have around a 90% chance of a sighting so I was tentatively hopeful. However after many summer holidays in the Moray Firth of Scotland searching for bottlenose dolphins and on some occasions seeing nothing more in two weeks than a wave on a choppy day that looked slightly like a dorsal fin, I was aware that wildlife don’t always turn up, just because we have come to see them!
Once we headed out towards the boat, suits and all, some of the many tourists were gawking at us (in what I like to think was jealous admiration of our outfits…) one lady even asked what we were doing. When we replied that we were going whale watching, she then turned to pass the information on to her friend by saying we were “going fishing”… not quite what we were doing love but points for effort I suppose!
As the boat headed out, some of my fellow passengers were deep in conversation about various things. I personally didn’t want to do anything that might distract me from seeing something. It got to the point where I really needed the toilet but had a feeling the second I decided to go, I’d shut myself in the toilet only for a whale to jump up and wave at the other side, before promptly disappearing the moment I came out. I eventually plucked up the courage to go which was quite the feat! Between the motion of the boat and the scuba suit it was quite the skill! Especially when I spent a good five minutes trying to barge my way out the bloody thing, panicking about getting locked in before realising I hadn’t actually unlocked the door…
Thankfully I didn’t miss anything and not long after we were on our way to a reported sighting of a humpback whale. I was completely blown away. Absolutely stunning. I mean you hear about how big they are but you really can’t comprehend it until you see them coming up at the side of the boat and just realise how totally insignificant we are. They are truly amazing creatures and apparently a more rare sighting in Vancouver so I was pleased I had the privilege of being able to see it.
After spending sometime gazing in wonder at the humpback and wondering where it might come up next, we moved on as there are quite strict laws in place to ensure these beautiful creatures aren’t pestered by the boats. Unfortunately we didn’t see any Orcas that day. That was when the doubt really started to kick in. Had I come all this way and would not see the illusive Orca? Had I done the right thing? I’m not going to lie, I even began screenshotting pictures of youtube videos in case I had to fake seeing them! It was especially frustrating as I was told the tour could be anywhere from 3 to 7 hours long depending on the sightings. So I, as well as some of the other passengers were under the mistaken impression we would stay out until we saw them or the 7 hours were up. Heading back after 4 hours was a little deflating if I’m honest.
But that evening as I had my bubbles and watched the fireworks at the festival of light, I got all reflective. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to say that they have ever seen a humpback whale in real life. I had. It was truly breathtaking and even if that is all I got of wildlife for the entire trip, it was still a pretty unforgettable experience!!!
(P.s. sorry if this blog is a bit mushy for some of you…..but it was amazing!)