Have you ever thought about being a tourist in your own backyard? That’s something a lady brought up during our cruise up the Indian Arm on Monday. She and her husband where visiting from Wales and mentioned how people rarely do tourist type activities in their own city. Her example was that she has lived near Cardiff Castle most of her life, but has never gone in. As for Robyn and I, we have never been up the Indian Arm, until now.
Vancouver Harbour Cruises
There are many pleasure and tour type cruise companies here in Vancouver but one prominent one that I always see is Harbour Cruises. It would probably have to be because I walk by their marina every few days in Coal Harbour. They are also the company that operates the paddle-wheel boat you might have seen going past English Bay into False Creek. The same paddle-wheel boat that Robyn and I took on our Sunset Dinner Cruise.
There is a bit of a story behind why Robyn and I were going on this Indian Arm Luncheon cruise, but you can check that out over at my Celebration of Light post. I don’t think I need to repeat myself again, after all the events worked out better in our favour. Did I also mention that Vancouver is having a heat-wave? It has been quite hot and humid these past days and the cruise should help keep us cool for a bit.
We promptly arrived at the marina at 10:30am with our departure scheduled for 11:00am. We boarded the Harbour Princess and were taken to our assigned seating. Right off the bat, we knew that this cruise would have been much more romantic than the fireworks cruise we had initially booked.
When we departed the marina in Coal Harbour we passed various points of interest such as Stanley Park, Coal Harbour’s marinas, the new Vancouver Convention Centre and of course Canada Place. Yes, there was yet another Princess Cruise ship in port (the Coral Princess) but that one, did not have a whale attached to its bow.
We picked up a bit more speed and traveled past Vancouver’s mighty port, had glimpses of Playland the Colusseum. Traveled underneath the Second Narrows Bridge (aka Iron Worker’s Memorial) and headed further up the Burrard Islet.
By this time they had served us lunch. I unfortunately did not take photos as both Robyn and I were pretty hungry but the food was good. The food itself consisted of: Fillet Salmon, Roasted Chicken, 3 different types of salad, some pilaf rice and some buns. The desserts were also quite yummy.
After lunch we passed by one of my favorite highlights; the McBarge. It is one of the very fond memories I have of Expo 86, and even though the barge itself sits there being decrepit and unused, it will always be something cool for me to see. Yes, it was also used in various movies including the (not so great) Blade Trinity movie with Wesley Snipes.
After passing the McBarge we headed North up the Indian Arm. The Indian Arm separates North Vancouver and Port Moody. Some places people might recognized would be Cates Park, Deep Cove on the West side and Belcarra Park (with spots such as Admiralty Point, Cosy Cove, Jug Island) on the East side.
Heading up the Indian Arm we passed many people on various water craft; kayaks, ski-doos, pleasure boats and more. Being out on the bow of our boat and seeing other people on the water makes me day dream about one day having our own boat to do the same thing.
The further up the Indian Arm, the more remote it becomes, even though we’ve only been traveling for about 1.5hours you can see that the housing along the shore line can only be accessed by boats.
We even passed by BC Hydro’s Buntzen Lake powerhouses too. Buntzen Lake being a man-made lake that helps produce electricity for the area.
When we reached the end of where we were to go, we slowly turned around and headed towards the shore. Indian Arm is one of many fjords [wiki] in southwestern British Columbia and it can be pretty impressive to see first hand. I thought we would have gone further up the fjord, but our cruise is slotted to be 4 hours long whereas at this point we were at the 2 hour mark.
It was a bit odd to be headed towards the shore, but when we got there we were shown one of the waterfalls that are along the shores of the Indian Arm; Silver Falls. It was pretty cool how the boat itself got maneuvered into the small little area without running aground. It did give everyone on board a great view of this impressive waterfall though. It was a bit of a tricky shot because the waterfall is set back a little bit in the shade, and without a tripod and shooting at a relatively low shutter speed, it isn’t the sharpest either. Now if I could only get a size reference, what I should have probably done was gone up to the top deck and shot down to show that the tip of the ship was actually in a small tiny cove. Perhaps next time?
After we hung out at Silver Falls for a while the boat backed out and headed back down the Indian Arm towards Vancouver. Robyn and I decided to hang out at the rear (or stern) of the ship as the sun was high in the sky and much to hot to be at the front (or bow). The breeze at the back was also much nicer as I tend to over heat quite easily.
The crew aboard the Harbour Princess were great, friendly and quite helpful. They also had commentary on various points of interest along the way as well as answered any questions any of the guests might have had.
The entire 4 hour journey was great and a fun way for Robyn and myself to enjoy a very hot day. There was no over crowding, the food was good and the views were spectacular. The price for the Indian Arm Luncheon Cruise is $64.95 per person plus tax and tip, which is well worth the 4-hour experience up and down the Indian Arm. If you are visiting our beautiful city, or are a local and want to try something different, I do recommend booking this luncheon with Harbour Cruises, it was a lot of fun.
The question is now, where should Robyn and I head off to next?