A Visit to Vancouver (Oct 08)
thumbnail ... where there was no sign of Authority waiting to sign us in -- the float with its prefab office/shed was deserted, and no one answered the phone number listed on the signage. So I left a message with our boat's name and description and travel plan; and we motored up the channel and dropped anchor, having made a good-faith effort to check in. Our virtue was rewarded by a spectacular late afternoon rainbow -- Vancouver as the pot of gold :-) It was a strange contrast to our previous cruise into the coastal inlets -- from fjords, forests, bears and glacial rivers to this glittering ultra-urban facade. We invaded Vancouver unchallenged by water, rowing ashore and locking the dinghy to a bit of rebar at the edge of a construction site, clambering up the stony bank and joining the pedestrians and cyclists on the waterfront promenade; no one blinked an eye. This was refreshing and reassuring, especially by contrast to the atmosphere of gibbering paranoia we would later encounter at the Consulate :-)

thumbnail Aside from our respective bureaucratic errands we had cultural ambitions for the visit -- all of which were alas destined to be foiled. We wanted to visit the famous UBC Museum of Anthropology with its wonderful collection of indigenous art -- but after a long bus ride to the campus from downtown, we discovered that the museum was closed for renovation and would not re-open until next Spring! This was extremely disappointing...

thumbnail ... but we did at least enjoy the replica Haida village on the museum grounds.

thumbnail It featured several totem poles in the authentic style (I cannot now remember whether Bill Reid designed them)...

thumbnail ... and a traditionally-constructed "chief's house".

thumbnail I particularly liked this carved face.

thumbnail The view from the UBC campus is spectacular.

thumbnail Exploring disconsolately the margins of the museum grounds, we found a trail. Unable to resist a trail through the woods, we followed it -- and discovered a very long steep stairway going down a ravine to a West-facing beach. Polite signage informed us that though clothing was optional on the beach (a comical notion in mid-October!) it was required on the stairs. On the pleasant, rocky little beach we wandered around a bit and then sat down to watch the sunset. As we watched, a chip barge slowly made its way towards the river entrance.

thumbnail Next day dawned bright and clear -- amazing weather for October! -- and I got a couple of good shots of Full Moon in her strange new urban anchorage.

thumbnail Tradition meets modernity... The row of towers in the background amused me -- especially when lit up at night they looked like a parade of cute George Lucas robots, R2D2 writ very large.

thumbnail We visited the famous Granville Island Market, chaining the dinghy unobtrusively to a floating dock and hoping no one would mind. Apparently no one did :-) The fall colour was magnificent all over the city -- everywhere we went there was flaming foliage. Here an officially-sanctioned musician entertains the shoppers. The Market was a foodie-paradise; it's a good thing I had very little cash on me, as I could have spent a fortune on Good Real Food in its warren of individual vendors.

thumbnail One cultural experience we did manage to achieve was a visit to the Maritime Museum, where we saw the replica Viking longship Munin...

thumbnail ... a labour of love, with ornate carved details.

thumbnail We also explored the original St Roch polar research vessel, now drydocked under cover and fitted out as a museum exhibit. It was actually one of the more satisfying museum exhibits I've seen, well-presented and quite fascinating. Though some of the ship was off limits, one could walk about most of it and see the original cabins, galley, focsl and so on, and imagine what it must have been like making Arctic expeditions aboard.

thumbnail We trekked back to the waterfront across a high bridge (Burrard Street) from which a grand view could be had of the Market area...

thumbnail ... and of the bewildering jungle of docks and thousands of boats on the city waterfront.

thumbnail Looking up False Creek we could even see Full Moon... if you look just under the bridge above the rotunda-shaped building on shore, there is a tiny white speck...

thumbnail ... and it is Full Moon, safely at anchor, waiting for us to return.

thumbnail More fall colour in the park that wraps around the entire city waterfront.

thumbnail In late evening the buildings shine eerily with afterglow. Little ferry/taxis putt about the harbour incessantly, and we saw quite a few rowing shells, kayakers, even a dragon boat iirc. I had fun in the Market getting a few extra treats for dinner just before closing while Jon explored elsewhere.

thumbnail On our way home the sunlight was fading, some more cloudy weather was coming in; but the trees in the park still glowed like jewels even under subdued light. We never did complete any formal checkin or checkout; someone from the port authority called us on the morning we were leaving, and when I said we were on our way home already he told us not to worry about the paperwork -- "enjoy your trip home, see you next time". I found this admirably sensible and casual.