The Ferries of Vancouver

Yes, it's a bit of a different post.

We have just spent two weeks on a very memorable holiday in Canada and Alaska. Some of the time we stayed In Vancouver where we discovered the delights of the ferries of False Creek. Vancouver is of course a major port and much of the city is centered around its seafronts. One of the jewels of Vancouver, so far as the tourist is concerned is Granville Island, which lies just south of the main city and under Granville Bridge.  It not actually an island but an isthmus and it lies on False Creek which, as the name suggests, is not really a creek but an inlet.

Granville Bridge

Entrance to Granville Island

The Island is home to Granville Street Market which is a delight for food lovers with stall after stall selling food for every taste and fresh fruit displayed like nowhere else. The large asian community in the city have loads of stalls in the market with many offering street food.

Chinese Tea Shop

Granville Island Market

The Island was originally the home to sawmills and factories but is now largely devoted to food. It is from there that a fleet of small city ferries operates taking travellers around the creek. Unlike most ferries these are small and are described by some as as mini-tugboat ferries, but to me they mostly resemble plastic bathtubs. They are operated by one person and are highly manouvreable. With little draft and being light they are also quite "bouncy".

A False Creek Ferry Boat

It was a joy to spend an afternoon exploring the south of the city using the ferries as a "hop on - hop off"
Checking the route

Ferry operator at the helm 

They don't appear to operate a conventional timetable but just circulate around the creek popping in to wharves  where passengers are waiting. A great service.

Warm Weekend to Remember

We are in a busy period at the moment but we just had to get onto Albert and go out boating for the warmest August Bank Holiday on record. We went north and pootled* around. On Saturday (24th) we left Yardley with our friends Jon & Judith Millidge after lunch. Jon steered Albert once we had left the marina and then they enjoyed (or so they said) operating the locks going up to the Long Pound. We managed to pair up with a boat from London when we got to the second lock and had a sociable journal uphill. They were on a extended version of the Thames Ring.

Our Lock Assistants

The Long Pound, Stoke Bruerne

We managed to squeeze into one of the last moorings and then went to The Boat Inn for dinner. 

The good weather continued and on Sunday morning we moved up two locks, winded below the tunnel and then moored up whilst the temperature rose. The couple on the boat "next door" started chatting and we ended up visiting each other's boats. Paula and Andrew turned out to come from the USA (although Paul was born in the UK). They were going South and like us they were not in hurry so we hung around and paired up going down the flight. Paula and Maggie steered and managed to pair-up going into the locks. The evidence is on their blog - they post on their travels including canal trips on their boat NB Wharram Percy.  

Trading Boats at Stoke Bruerne

We split up with NB WP at the bottom lock since they stopped and we moved on to Grafton Regis. We moored up at a spot we pass often but rarely use for mooring. We had a great evening watching the sun go down.

Passing a working pair

What is better on a warm evening?

As it got dark we watched a barn owl fly over the meadow - a ghostly white figure. Next morning we cruised back to Yardley Gobion. 

We must moor at Grafton Regis more often but the offside vegetation is atrocious. It would be really difficult if two boats passed each other by the moorings.

Bit of a squeeze!

*definition: to move somewhere slowly and with no real purpose