A beautiful morning greeted us as we weighed anchor and started the few-hours’ trip from Gibsons Bay to False Creek. Despite our best attempts at sailing, the 5-knot wind just wasn’t getting us anywhere. So, we motored along toward Vancouver. Again, my soul was slightly crushed a little more each time we passed one of the area’s popular fishing grounds, without stopping or slowing to fish. Oh, well.
Our entertainment as we motored the long stretch toward the back of the False Creek basin was on the radio. Outside False Creek, in English Bay, is a large anchorage, complete with permanent mooring balls, boats on anchor, and kayakers and paddle boarders all around. Apparently, one of the tour boats, from a company called Sea Vancouver, ran through that anchorage at 15+ knots. A boat anchored there, who was particularly close to the offending vessel and its wake, radioed the captain and asked that he slow down through the anchorage. The captain initially refused to respond, and after several calls finally responded with a terse, “Not an anchorage,” and hurried on his merry way. I’m not sure what that captain was referring to, because it is most certainly an anchorage. Not only were the several-dozen boats anchored and moored there evidence of the site’s anchorage status, but also, English Bay is a marked anchorage on the chart. When the tour boat captain failed to provide any further response to the concerned boater on the radio, the concerned boater radioed the coast guard. Of course, the coast guard had heard the entire exchange on 16, and assured the boater that this was a matter in which the RCMP would be involved. I’d love to know what happened to that captain. But, make a mental note that Sea Vancouver is not the tour company to patronize when in Vancouver.
Once in the basin, we struggled to find space to anchor. Boats were anchored in every scrap of space that wasn’t a marked channel or a marina. We finally dropped our anchor just a few feet behind another sailboat, in the middle of a small and crowded anchorage with other boats less than 100 feet in every direction. After our months in Alaska, with anchorages all to ourselves, the crowded harbor presented anchoring challenges we hadn’t encountered since two years prior in Desolation Sound.
With our anchor set, Breakaway rafted with us, and we prepared the dinghy for a trip to Granville Island. Laurel was flying back to Oregon that evening, so she brought her bags with her. Our dinghy fit the four adults and two kids quite comfortably. Once docked, we made our way to the public market for lunch. It was far too crowded for me to enjoy myself, so after a quick lunch and ice cream, we decided to wander farther back from the pier. Just a few blocks back we discovered the kids’ market, and the girls spent about an hour decided what $5 treasure to spend their hard-earned money on. Ellie ended up with a little stuff animal keychain, and Morgan some candy. We said a bittersweet goodbye to Laurel, and she and Stan left to get her to the airport.
We continued wandering, and discovered Railspur Alley, a fun stop for artisan goods of all kinds from ironwork to sake. It was a great escape from the crowd, and we were pleased to find a playground at the far end of the alley. We stopped and played for an hour or so while I searched for a good place for dinner.
Our dinner selection was fabulous – Edible Canada. They had excellent quality food at reasonable prices, with a cozy, hip atmosphere and nice patio. Stan joined us, and the girls fought over who would sit next to him, until he graciously moved to a middle seat where a girl could sit on each side. After dinner, we made a quick stop at the market for groceries, and ended up spending $50 on fresh fruit. Oh well, it was delicious. Back to the dinghy, and back to the boats.
Granville Island, and its crowded and clean city feel, was a huge change from the wilderness of Alaska and BC. There was no easing back into civilization – we dove in head first, and made a great afternoon of it.