Delicious chowders

When we arrived at the Vancouver Aquarium, there was quite a long line-up for the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown, but the wait was amazingly short. We all were getting more and more excited the closer we came to the entrance.

Once inside, we got our bamboo spoons for the various chowders and cups for the many beers available – and on we went.
There were 14 top chefs competing for the title of 2014 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion in Vancouver, and of, course, 14 different chowders were waiting to be tasted.

We felt quite adventurous getting our first cup of chowder as we had never ever eaten any chowder before, but wow, was this amazing! We even forgot to take a picture before tasting the first one…

Anyway, we enjoyed six more chowders which were all so incredibly fantastic. We would have liked to taste even more chowders, but we were so full that we could not possibly have eaten any more.

These were the delicious chowders we had:
#2 – Cacciucco Tuscan Seafood Chowder – Chef Atticus Garant of Giovane Cafe + Winebar – Fairmont Pacific Rim
#8 – Yukon Potato Chowder with Tea smoked Ling Cod Sausage & Dill Saltine Crackers – Chef Todd Bright of Wild Rice
#10 – Ocean Wise Smoked Black Cod ‘Chowda’ – Executive Chef Ned Bell of YEW seafood + bar – Four Seasons Vancouver
#14 – B.C. Sockeye Chowder – Executive Chef Jeff Szombaty of Mosaic Grille – Hyatt Regency
#11 – Smoked Sablefish & Chanterelle Mushroom Chowder – Executive Chef Chris Whittaker of Forage
#5 – Wild Pacific Smoked Albacore Tuna Chowder – Chef Randy Jones of Mile One Eating House
#3 – Wild Smoked Sockeye Salmon & B.C. Hand Peeled Shrimp Clam Chowder – Chef Paul de Ridder of The Beez Kneez Catering

It was such an amazing evening with even more amazing food – all sustainable chowders.

P.S.  Executive Chef Ned Bell is Vancouver’s 2014 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion and the People’s Choice Winner. Congratulations!

A pig-nosed turtle and two harbour porpoises

As I was working, Marcus explored the various galleries at the Vancouver Aquarium.
He spent most of the time, however, with Miss Piggy, as we lovingly call the pig-nosed turtle, and with Jack and Daisy, the two amazing harbour porpoises.

Two harbour porpoises at Whytecliff Park

Well, we had seen harbour porpoises at Whytecliff Park before, so we were determined to hopefully see some this time as well.
It is always very difficult to see harbour porpoises in the wild, but the weather was perfect, and there were hardly any waves. So we found a nice little spot to scan the water.
After having spent more than two hours doing so, two harbour porpoises suddenly appeared right in front of us, maybe 10-15 metres away. Marcus heard them before we saw them swimming by.
After about two minutes they were gone, but this made our day!

A cold but beautiful afternoon at Whytecliff Park

Well stocked with hot peppermint tea and well wrapped up with lots of layers of clothes, we spent several hours at Whytecliff Park to see some wildlife and to have a good time outdoors, especially as the sun was shining.

Once there, we found some beautiful spots and were able to spot some harbour seals, cormorants and seagulls. But the most amazing moment was when we saw harbour porpoises!

(to be continued…)

So much to see at the Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Finally, after many attempts, we had found some time to visit the George C. Reifel Bird Sanctuary in Delta. And we were so lucky with the weather. Though it was quite cold, the sun and the excitement to see so many birds kept us warm.

While walking along the many beautiful paths, we encountered so many ducks in and out of the water, heard a lot of birds singing, saw some of them, too, and discovered some sandhill cranes hiding in the marsh.

One of the many amazing moments was when red-breasted nuthatches, black-capped chickadees and even the larger red-winged blackbirds ate some bird seeds right out of our hands.

After we had seen sandhill cranes hiding in the grass, we were pleasantly surprised to see them wade through the water and come out of it right in front of us. That was such an amazing experience to see those large birds up close.

And to top all this, we saw a flock of what seemed to be several hundreds of lesser snow geese fly by and land in the marshlands a bit further away. That was such an impressive sight!

We had a fantastic day, and we will definitely be back – hopefully next spring when we might get to see the ducklings.

Simply Daisy

We were in Vancouver anyway, so after our visit at VanDusen  we went to the Vancouver Aquarium to say hi to the porpoises there.

Daisy was at the underwater viewing windows a lot so that we could get some good pictures of her. Just have a look at this amazing harbour porpoise!

Exploring VanDusen

After so many rainy days we headed to the VanDusen Botanical Garden to enjoy some time outdoors and especially to get a glimpse of the remaining autumn leaves there.

We came fully prepared with our rubber boots and rain gear – and we definitely needed the boots, especially while walking around all the maple leaves.

Luckily for us, the sun was out all the time so that we could happily explore the garden and, of course, walk on the boardwalk (did I mention that I love boardwalks?!), admiring the various plants, flowers, trees and their autumn leaves which had such magnificent colours.