Destination N°1 – the Vancouver Aquarium

At lunchtime we arrived at the Vancouver Aquarium and immediately saw a huge birthday cake (or better said, the rest of it) in Elfin’s habitat to celebrate Stanley Park’s 125th birthday. Elfin had already eaten the most delicious treats and was now having an after-lunch swim.

Meanwhile, Helen and Hana were playing with a ball, and shortly before their show started, Helen brought the ball to her trainer Paula.

We then watched Aurora and Qila swimming by at the underwater viewing windows before heading up the stairs for the penguin walk in which Hope and Salt Spring were the stars.

Back at Elfin’s habitat we saw Margo, one of the volunteers, and had a nice chat in which she also explained a lot about sea otters. And as to prove his existence, Elfin was crushing parts of his ice cake against a wall in order to get to the good stuff inside which he was munching away happily. He also gave us a glance from time to time.

Of course, we could not forget Jack, and so we went to see him next. He was really happy to see us, and we had a great time together.

Some time later we went to see Hana and Helen again who were in a really good mood, and then we went to the beluga habitat once more to watch another penguin walk. Luckily for us, Hope, our favourite penguin, was in it again. It is always so much fun watching her waddle along, while she is looking around and taking in her new surroundings. She seems to be really curious and never runs straight into her carrier.

After that we spend some more time with Jack (Daisy, unfortunately, stayed in her corner) who was enjoying the attention a lot. But then it was time to say goodbye as we wanted to attend another event.

On our way to the parking lot in Stanley Park we saw a raccoon family sitting on a garbage bin, probably looking for some leftovers.

(to be continued…)

Canada Day at the Vancouver Aquarium

Today is Canada Day – and we originally wanted to spend this special day on Canada Place, but as this day was predicted to be one of the hottest days, we changed plans and headed to a cooler place, the Vancouver Aquarium with its underwater viewing galleries.

Surprisingly enough, there were not too many visitors, mainly tourists as the locals celebrated at various other locations.

We went straight to Jack and Daisy’s habitat at the B.C. Sugar Pool where we did not have to wait long for Jack to come down to the underwater viewing area. We had lots of fun playing with Jack – and we even saw Daisy swimming forward a bit as she mostly prefers hanging around in her favourite corner.

After some time we went to Aurora and Qila’s habitat to watch the ‘Caring for Belugas’ show where Qila presented her belly to her trainer which represents an enormous amount of trust as she can neither see her trainer nor breathe during that time.

Then it was back to Jack and Daisy where we spent the majority of the remaining day at the Aquarium, playing with Jack. In between we even saw a training session where both Jack and Daisy interacted with their trainers Paula and Anna who had enrichment toys for the harbour porpoises. Shortly before we had to go home, even Daisy came down to the underwater viewing area, posing for some pictures while Jack was hovering behind her. Daisy is such a beautiful harbour porpoise whereas Jack is simply cute – and both are so adorable!

On our way to the exit of the Vancouver Aquarium, we saw Elfin holding a yellow ball in his paws and had to take some pictures. Isn’t he super cute?!

We then had a nice stroll through Stanley Park where we observed a raccoon with her four children trying to copy everything that their mum did. That was quite interesting to watch!

Anyway, we had a fantastic Canada Day!

We just love the Vancouver Aquarium

Although it was already around noon, we decided to head towards Vancouver and spend some time at the Vancouver Aquarium. It is always quite a long walk from the SkyTrain station to Stanley Park, but we don’t mind it at all. Besides, we had our first little stop at Jack Poole Plaza where Vancouver’s Olympic Cauldron and the huge Harbour Spirit Digital Orca by Douglas Coupland (installed in 2010) can be admired. The view of the mountains and North Vancouver there is also spectacular.

On our way to the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park we saw a raccoon on top of a bin – perhaps looking for its lunch?

Once inside the Vancouver Aquarium, we had a short stop at those epaulette sharks which are somehow cute to watch.
On we went to have a look at the sea otters Tanu and Katmai who were in their front habitat again, either relaxing or grooming. Aren’t they just cute?
And then finally, we made our way to Jack and Daisy’s underwater viewing area but, unfortunately, neither of them came down although we were waiting and waiting…
Well, if those harbour porpoises are too busy, what can we do?!
So we just went a little further to the next underwater viewing area and observed Aurora and Qila swimming by.

And then it was time for the dolphin show starring Hana and Helen who were very excited today, jumping out of the water or swimming very fast already – even before they could show their various behaviours during their show. Once again Lauren, a very friendly and enthusiastic interpretive specialist for marine mammals at the Vancouver Aquarium, guided the audience through each and every step of the training session.

On our way back to Jack and Daisy again we passed the sea lion and seal habitat where a sea lion sat on her deck and tried to catch some sun – or so it seemed – and two seals were swimming by very quickly.
Another stop at Penguin Point let us see all seven penguins standing together on one spot, as usual, on their rockwork.

And then, finally, it was Jack and Daisy time! And can you believe it, Jack was in playing mood and came down to the viewing area so often that I was even a little bit exhausted after having played with him for an hour. I really can’t get enough of him, especially as he seems to copy some of my movements. Anyway, he is so cute – and he probably knows it!

Of course, we would have stayed longer but the Vancouver Aquarium closes at 5 pm, and we were literally among the last ones to leave! Just look at those empty spaces there…
However, we had a very quick stop at the epaulette sharks shortly before finally heading out.
But we will be back very soon!

As usual we went to the Lost Lagoon to enjoy the peace and quiet at one of our favourite places. Even our favourite bench was unoccupied so that we could enjoy the swans, ducks, seagulls and Canada geese. Surprisingly, even a male red-winged blackbird came by. I had never seen one at that location before, only at the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary so far.

As an additional bonus we even saw a Canada geese family with their goslings swimming at the pond at Devonian Harbour Park.

Well, after such an exciting but also a little bit exhausting day, we just needed some relaxation time at those huge benches at Jack Poole Plaza with breathtaking views of either downtown Vancouver, Lord Stanley Park or North Vancouver, the sea plane terminal in the foreground and the mountains in the background. What a beautiful place to live in!

And to top it off, this wonderful day full of sunshine ended with a great sunset back home in Burnaby.

We went to the Vancouver Aquarium – once again

Well, we had to leave our apartment building as plumbing repairs were planned – and what better place to spend the day than at the Vancouver Aquarium?

So off we went taking the SkyTrain to get into Vancouver and then walking along the waterfront to finally reach the Vancouver Aquarium where we first of all went to see… well, you have certainly guessed it correctly, Jack and Daisy. Jack was in his habitat, but where was Daisy? A short walk confirmed that she was still in the smaller dolphin habitat waiting to get over to Jack again. After a while we could even see Vancouver Aquarium staff getting Daisy ready for her transfer to their harbour porpoise habitat. Once there, Daisy was greeted by Jack, and we could see them swimming happily together.

Of course, we went to see Hana and Helen who definitely had fun during their show presented by Lauren, a very passionate interpretive specialist for marine mammals at the Vancouver Aquarium, whereas the two Steller sea lions opposite were making loud noises.
After some play time, Tanu and Katmai were holding paws and resting on the water.
We did not realize how fast time flew by so that we were among the last persons leaving the Aquarium before closing time. This only gave us the chance to have a last glimpse at one of the epaulette sharks.

Outside the Vancouver Aquarium we enjoyed a lovely stroll through Stanley Park where we watched some Canada geese and later on a raccoon climbing onto a container (although it really looks like a cat with a bushy tail, doesn’t it?).

At the Lost Lagoon we sat down on a bench, enjoyed the sunshine and watched the wildlife around us.

Then it was time to head home, once again walking along Vancouver’s waterfront where this time we could see various ships in front of the mountains. And we appreciated, as so often, what beautiful place on earth we are living on.

Gastown, Lost Lagoon and Second Beach

Once again we used the SkyTrain to get to Vancouver, and this time we went to the terminus station Waterfront from where we headed towards Gastown, named after ‘Gassy’ Jack Deighton who opened a saloon in that area from which Vancouver evolved. Of course, we had to have a look at its famous Steam Clock which, by the way, is also featured on the artwork to Nickelback’s album ‘Here and Now’.

On our way to the Lost Lagoon we stopped to see the Olympic flames which are impressive indeed.

When we arrived at the Lost Lagoon, we did not only see nature in its full bloom but also animals in abundance. There were Canada geese, blue herons, raccoons, spotted towhees, chickadees, turtles, ducks and swans – all living there in harmony. I just love this place and never tire of coming back to it again and again.

From there it’s just a little walk to Second Beach which we saw at low tide – for the first time. We enjoyed the sun and had our first ice cream there. Yummy!

After having spent an amazing day outdoors, we headed towards the SkyTrain station where an enormous amount of cherry blossoms greeted us. What a wonderful outing!

Our wedding anniversary day at Lost Lagoon

Luckily for us, we had gorgeous weather to go to the Lost Lagoon where we got married five years ago – and we celebrated our wedding anniversary with lots of wildlife there. A bumblebee, a blue heron, Canada geese, ducks, a swan and a raccoon all said hi – and those Canada geese even swam in formation. We had such a great time there!

As we were nearby, we simply had to go to the Aquarium as well. Jack said hi, too, and the penguins were enjoying a swim.

It was such an amazing day for our wedding anniversary, especially as we could finally spend it here in Vancouver!