The view of Vancouver as we passed under the First Narrows bridge

Vancouver is a wonderfully scenic city with snow-covered peaks to the east and the waters of the Strait of Georgia lapping at the shore. Hundreds of high rise apartment blocks crowd the downtown area but there are large swathes of parkland and a 20km sea walk along the water’s edge. Initially we were moored at the Vancouver Rowing Club so we had Stanley Park right on the doorstep which satisfied Heather (Neil’s sister)’s need for long strenuous walks and, for the first few days, the weather was glorious.


Neil and Heather on a walk around Killarney Lake on Bowen Island

There is a large Asian population in Van city and the Chinatown here is apparently the third largest outside of China. We headed down there hoping to eat at Bao Bei, a restaurant that had been highly recommended. It is very popular and there was a two hour wait for a table so we walked around the streets looking for an alternative. Unlike any other Chinatown I’ve been in there were very few restaurants, the streets were virtually empty except for homeless people looking for a bench to sit on and a few dollars. We went back to Bao Bei the next night and had a great meal.


The Union Steamship Company marina in Snug Cove

The next day we sailed across English Bay to Bowen Island in Howe Sound, north of Vancouver, and tied up at the dock of the marina in Snug Cove. With a backdrop of blue sky and yet more snowy mountains this protected little bay was lovely. Then the cloud base dropped to about sea level and we had persistent drizzle for the next five days. Still we managed a couple of good walks and enjoyed the easy-going ambience of the island.


Pink snow on the streets of Kitsilano, Vancouver

We returned to Vancouver and found a berth in the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club in Kitsilano, a pretty residential suburb where the roads are lined with cherry trees in full bloom and snowing pale pink petals on to the street. While Heather did long walks around the neighbourhood we enjoyed riding our bikes around Point Grey and through the University grounds, all very pleasant!

Heather flies back to Melbourne this afternoon and we’ll hang around Vancouver for another couple of days to get organised for a cruise up to Desolation Sound. I do hope the clouds lift soon!


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