Set along the beautiful coast of British Columbia Vancouver has been voted for many years one of the best cities in the world to live in, and I now understand why. With a population of about 700,000 people it is the seventh largest city in Canada and certainly the largest seaport of the country in the west coast, yet has somehow managed to blend with its natural surroundings effectively, with several parks and many green areas (Stanley Park stand out), bike trails all over the place, and an architecture I had never seen elsewhere that incorporates outside gardens and trees even in 30 story or more high rises.
Yet despite the eco-friendly time I had in the city I was eager to head out into the mountains, lakes and inlets shortly after arriving, and in Vancouver you don’t really have to drive too far to find them. In fact once you cross the massive Lion’s Gate bridge out of Stanley park and head out to North Vancouver you’re pretty much in the hills already, and another 15 minutes of driving will have you in one of the several lakes there are, surrounded by high hills in what really are the southernmost fjords in Canada.
Kayaking in Vancouver: Enjoying the Outdoors
On our first tour outside the city we were picked up by a minibus from where we were staying at and made our way to Indian Arm, a protected inlet that is Canada’s southernmost fjord. The path we took ended in Woodlands, a small settlement on the on the inlet with a public access to the inlet. Once there we helped our guide Gordon bring down the two person kayaks into the water and after a short safety briefing we began our paddle, immersing ourselves into the serene surroundings despite the impending drizzle that was about to begin and the gray sky and mountains that reminded me of a picture I once took in Laos.
With the unique characteristics of the glacial fjord we were paddling across we were on the lookout for wildlife that would make the trip even more memorable. The calm waters made us forget most of the time that we were on the Pacific Ocean and not a serene lake, and were brought back to reality when we saw the abundance of mussles, sea anemones, red and purple sea stars and huge crabs. The most common mammal in the area is the harbor seal, however despite looking for them all the time we were only able to spot a couple of them very far from us. There are also a few bald eagles in the area, but we didn’t get to see them.
After paddling for almost two hours along the middle of the inlet we made it to an island where we’d have a fantastic lunch that included baked tortillas with a homemade dip , fresh grilled salmon with a potato salad and corn on the cob, tea ( it is here that I discovered that I actually like tea if it has some apple juice in it) and water of course. The group’s mood was very pleasant, with everybody enjoying the beautiful surroundings, excellent food and our guide’s explanations and stories.
After a short break we put everything back into the kayaks and slowly paddled our way back to where we started along a different route, close to the shore this time, with light rain refreshing and not bother us thanks to the rain gear we’d been provided.
Once back at the dock we helped putting the kayaks back on the van and made our way back to Vancouver, being dropped at the same place we’d been pick up. We’d spent around six hours on this tour and although a bit tired from the paddling we enjoyed every minute of it!
The kayaking adventure by Lotus Land Tours is a great way to spend a great day outside and learn about the area, visiting locations you wouldn’t be able to on your own and eating some great food along the way. Our guide Gordon Moore was very friendly and fun- we actually did learn many things about the area- and the landscape spectacular. We only wondered what it would have Indian Arm inlet would have looked like had there been a blue sky!
Lotus Land Tours website: http://www.lotuslandtours.com
I was a guest Lotuslandtours.com, however all the pictures and opinions in this article are entirely my own, as always!