Busy Vancouver

Position: 49 16.16 N 123 07.38 W
At anchor False Creek, Vancouver
Wind: west, F3 gentle breeze
Weather: sunny, warm
Day's run: 20 nm

Today's forecast was for a moderate breeze from the north-west, ideal for making the short hop to Vancouver. I heaved Sylph's anchor aboard at half past seven this morning in order to cross over the shoal between Keats Island and Steep Bluff at high water. Once aweigh, I set the mainsail but had to motor as there was no wind and the sea was glassy smooth. However, once clear of Shoal Channel some dark patches of rippled water ahead, a sure sign of some wind, beckoned. We were soon had all sail set, running before a light breeze and making good a pleasant four knots.

As we got closer to Vancouver the waterways got a lot busier, as one would expect, especially as it was a Saturday and a lot of recreational boaters, including quite a few dinghy racers, were out enjoying the nice breeze and sunny weather. Adding to the sense humanity busy at work as well as play, in addition to the numerous pleasure craft there were fifteen large merchant ships at anchor in English Bay which we had to manoeuvre around. English Bay is just outside False Creek, our destination and Vancouver's international anchorage for small boats. We handed sail just outside its narrow entrance and motored under two large bridges to drop anchor amongst numerous other sail and power boats. I gathered that most of them were local boats out for the day, as most of them did not look like ocean going yachts, nor could I see a foreign flag flying from any of them. I expect that if it we had arrived on a weekday that there would be a lot more space available.

False Creek was certainly very alive and busy as we motored through the throng of small craft. It is clearly a very touristy part of town. Small ferries nip back and forth from one shore to the other, a distance of only a couple of hundred yards or so, runabouts weave in and out of the anchored boats, streams of plastic kayaks paddle along the shorelines, and a mock “pirate ship” motors up and down, from which emanates a loud voice teaching children to sing a chorus of “Walk the plank, walk the plank.” Sylph is surrounded by high rises, marinas, and hotels. It sure is a far cry from the wilderness of Alaska.

As I was writing up my log book down below, I heard a voice hailing “Is Bob aboard?” I went on deck to find an immaculate green hulled yacht circling us, its bright work gleaming and its chromed dorade vents dazzling in the sunshine. The man at the wheel was David, someone who I had met in Japan when he was crewing for a New Zealand boat, the Larissa. David lives in Vancouver and was returning to his marina when he recognised Sylph. We hope to connect up next weekend.

And tonight I will be meeting up with two of my favourite Canadian sailors, who I also met in Japan, the irrepressible Brad and Tamara from Suuhaa. It will be wonderful to see Tamara's beaming smile and to hear Brads boisterous laugh once again.

All is well.