Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fun with kids around Vancouver: seal-safari in Horseshoe Bay


Horseshoe Bay Village is located in West Vancouver, and many people are familiar with it because this is where you catch the ferries to Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, and to Langdale, on the Sunshine Coast.

Even if you're not catching a ferry, this is a beautiful spot with some gorgeous scenery of the ocean and the mountains. Along the waterfront there's a park, a pedestrian walkway and a playground for the kids. The village is also home to many cafes, restaurants, and one-of-a-kind boutiques here if you want to spend some time hanging out.

On Monday, which was Labor Day here in Canada, my husband and I took the kids to Horseshoe Bay and rented a boat from Sewell's Marina, located right on the waterfront, near the ferry terminal. We rented a 17 foot boat for two hours, and after a short instruction safety talk from an employee at the marina we were all set to go.

The waters here are absolutely beautiful, clear and relatively calm, sparkling blue on a sunny day, and surrounded by the steep, tall mountains covered with green forest. We headed northwards up the inlet, passing the small community of Lion's Bay on the way, before we reached some tiny, rocky islands sticking up out of the water.

Our reason for going there was the seals: lots and lots of seals. There were probably 30 or more seals of various colors and sizes lounging on the rocks, quite unperturbed by our presence. It is not advisable to go too close to the rocks, so we stayed about 100 feet (30 m) away, on the advice of the staff at the marina. Still, it was close enough to get a spectacular view at these beautiful animals.

We even saw a small seal cub heave himself out of the water and up on the rocks: the kids just loved that.

After watching the seals for a while, we just zoomed around the water a bit, enjoying the sunshine and the scenery. It was a great day out, and a wonderful way to celebrate the last weekend of summer. I'd highly recommend this as an outing if the weather is good, whether you're a local or a tourist. The prices for the boat rental were quite reasonable, and would have been even cheaper if we'd taken a smaller 15 foot boat.

As mentioned, there are lots of restaurants in the area if you want to stay for lunch or dinner, or just grab a snack.

Photos by me and Doug Haskins.

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