Day 9: Sunday, May 24, 2009: Vancouver, British Columbia

Alright, Day Two in Vancouver. We got up early to see the Vancouver Aquarium and hopefully still have time for a few more things. The aquarium ended up being so nice that we spent most of our time there and then explored a little more of Stanley Park.


Now that the sun was hitting this building just right, I swear this is the building they used as Logan's apartment in Dark Angel. I know it was filmed in Vancouver.

 

On to the aquarium! Star fish!

 

A puffer fish.

 

An Amazon catfish. The picture does not do this thing justice. It was huge!

 

Piranha!


Hyacinth Macaws.

 

Bright red water fowl of some sort.

 

A water turtle.

 

One shy macaw.

 

No, really, these guys were loud as heck.


Land turtles.

 

 

 

 

 

Another cute parrot of some sort.

 

 


Look at him use his feet like little hands!

 

Another water turtle.

 

A Marmoset. I can't recall what type exactly.

 

A Common Marmoset.

 

A waded up snake.


The underside of said snake.

 

A rainbow boa.

 

Poison dart frog.

 

Another type of poison dart frog.

 

I shall call this one "puddle frog."


Emerald tree boa.

 

Stick bugs.

 

A caiman.

 

Amazon sturgeon. These fish were like six feet long.

 

Me and the big fishes.


A giant clam, I guess about two feet wide.

 

A blue tang, I believe.

 

This guy was sifting sand through his gills.

 

I like how the green mushrooms almost glow.

 

Seahorses.


Cardinal fish and urchins.

 

These guys were tearing up this lettuce they dropped in.

 

Clown fish and anemones.

 

A garden eel looks around.

 

The underside of a stingray.


The underside of a black tipped reef shark.

 

The underside of a sea turtle.

 

Ninja!

 

A lion fish. Beautiful and dangerous.

 

The sea otters were just too cute. This guy was napping.


I've always said that they look like wet Singes.

 

Too. Much. Fun.

 

Still napping.

 

So, I learned what to do if a Beluga Whale comes up to you. You put your hand in its mouth. You'll see.

 

Another Beluga.


The crowd gets ready for the dolphin show. Note the pretty mountains in the background.

 

These are Pacific White Sided Dolphins.

 

Cute as heck!

 

Tickle, tickle.

 

Launch the dolphin!


Launch the other dolphins!

 

The dolphins walk on water.

 

More high jumps.

 

This one liked to bump this ball around with its nose.

 

Here, it has knocked the ball across the pool and is diving back into the water.


Spinny, spinny.

 

Belly splash!

 

They were waving their fins bye bye.

 

This was a neat chart they had in the underwater dolphin viewing area.

 

Instead of puddle frog, this is frog in a puddle.


The once thought to be extinct coelacanth. This thing seriously gives me the jibblies. Look, it's front fin almost looks like an arm.

 

Alright, back to the cute froggies.

 

This one was kinda fat.

 

Travis said this one looked like Jabba the Hutt.

 

A horny toad.


More poisonousness.

 

A salamander.

 

I don't remember what these ones were called.

 

They were all a little bug-eyed.

 

Another salamander. This one's gills were on the outside.


Yeah, kinda weird.

 

These frogs must have been more water-based than land-based.

 

A phantasmal frog. This thing was freakin' tiny.

 

I see you in there!

 

A gathering of the dart frogs.


This is some kind of Caecilian. You know, like a Sicilian.

 

This newt was (very slowly) chasing around this fish. Very funny.

 

Here is his orange belly.

 

A bull frog.

 

"I see what you did there."


A bull frog tadpole.

 

A fur seal.

 

Another look at the fur seal.

 

The birds of prey show begins and we meet a Harris hawk.

 

Here it is in flight.


Very pretty colors.

 

Hanging out on the perch.

 

It's heading our way!

 

This is the female on the right, the smaller male on the left.

 

The female scopes out the crowd.


The handler demonstrates their running and catching skills.

 

Another flight demonstration.

 

Hawk butt.

 

That doesn't look so comfortable.

 

They put the hawks away and brought out a bald eagle.


The eagle is quite a bit larger than the hawks.

 

Now the eagle takes up the perch.

 

The handler just caught it, hence the strange stance.

 

The eagle soars to the perch nearest us.

 

Slowing down for a landing.


It hovers above us for a moment.

 

Eagle butt.

 

It raised up real tall to look at something in the distance.

 

The bird show over, we return to the aquarium and find the octopus putting on a show of its own.

 

The head of said octopus.


This sea star is munching on a clam.

 

A shrimp.

 

A very long armed crab.

 

A red fish.

 

Hagfish. Icky. They produce slime as a defense mechanism.


Oh great. Another halibut. They're so weird, but I can't stop taking pictures of them!

 

Sand dollars.

 

Jelly fish.

 

Smaller polka dotted jelly fish.

 

This is one of those that have the rainbow colors running down them.


The life cycle of a moon jelly. This is the polyp stage.

 

Then they hatch.

 

Then they grow.

 

Then they are adults and can make little polyps of their own.

 

More moon jelly action.


An elephant fish. See the trunk?

 

A sea snake.

 

Mud skippers.

 

Oh, barnacles.

 

More barnacles.


The Alaska state bird, the mosquito.

 

The octopus is putting on another show.

 

He moved around more than I expected. He was a busy guy.

 

Back to the otters. Fun, fun.

 

Still sleeping.


He was scratching his nose.

 

The Beluga Whale checks out the camera.

 

It turns out that the babies are gray. They turn white as they age.

 

And what do you do when a Beluga shows up?

 

You put your hand in its mouth.


Waiting on the otter feeding. He looks like he's chewing his nails.

 

So cute!

 

Here, he's using his back foot to push off the rocks.

 

He's cleaning his tail.

 

The keeper showed up the otter literally started doing backflips.


Mmm, clams.

 

Yummy, yummy.

 

*nom nom nom*

 

As we were leaving, we picked up our souvenir photo.

 

Yay! It was so cool to be in a hockey town, even if it was off season!


More fun winter sports.

 

The orca outside the aquarium.

 

Back out in Stanley Park, this is one of the landmarks, Hollow Tree. It is currently being restored after the 2006 wind storms.

 

The horse & carriage ride comes through.

 

More beautiful plantings.


Purple puffs.

 

The clover looks like a dusting of snow.

 

The pretty flowers near the rose garden. The roses weren't currently blooming, so not much to see here yet.

 

Stopping for a drink.

 

Pretty pink tulips.


This guy cracked me up. He landed at the bottom of these stairs and then hopped up them one by one.

 

This little creek was off to our right as we headed down to Beaver Lake.

 

More evidence of the wind storms.

 

More of the creek.

 

Beaver Lake. There are so many water plants, it's hard to tell there's water in there.


Lots of water plants.

 

Water lilies put out their lily pads.

 

The beaver house.

 

A boy and girl mallard.

 

The boy poses for a picture.


Prepare for take off!

 

Another mallard climbs onto shore.

 

This red winged black bird came very close for pictures.

 

We decided to walk down the nearby Ravine Trail. It links Beaver Lake to the sea wall.

 

I still love these trees!


This one grew out over the trail.

 

More creek action.

 

The Ravine Trail went underneath another trail.

 

A fallen tree.

 

Looks like a nurse tree.


Then the trail went under Park Drive and out to the sea.

 

Now the tide is out and the geese are taking advantage of the easy pickings.

 

The sea wall and the biking and walking trails.

 

Heading back to the trail and back to Beaver Lake.

 

Under the bridge.


This tree grew down and then up.

 

A swampy looking place.

 

Hello, squirrel!

 

Another black squirrel.

 

A park visitor's poochie.


A gathering of totem poles.

 

A crane out in the water.

 

A gas station for boats.

 

The Vancouver skyline.

 

You just never know what you'll run into at Stanley Park.


NCL has three ships in Alaska. We were on the Star, we saw the Pearl, now we found the Sun.

 

We headed over to the Lion's Gate Bridge to see the ship depart.

 

I wasn't sure it was gonna fit.

 

But it did. Enjoy your vacation, everybody!

 

The lighthouse.


We stumbled upon a cricket game.

 

I had no idea what was going on. Cricket is weird. But that guy is down!

 

Batter up.

 

I guess the officials like to look like Texas rangers.

 

The very strange pitching style.


Team Orange won. I guess it was a championship game, since they lined up for handshakes.

 

The Lion's Gate Bridge, as seen from Prospect Point.

 

A short walk took us to the overlook.

 

I snapped a few pics of the bridge.

 

Here, you can see the lions at the entrance to the bridge.


These guys were on either side of the Park Drive that passed over the Lion's Gate Bridge entrance.

 

We found our own Hollow Tree on the way back to Prospect Point.

 

Look! A beggar!

 

"What'd you call me?"

 

"Come on, man, don't you have anything?"


Another raccoon strolled out of the woods while we were there.

 

Travis went to the restroom and almost was joined!

 

Begging is hard work.

 

"Guess I don't eat tonight."

 

The Welcome to Vancouver sign. Told you I always get them on the way out.

Vancouver was awesome. We really enjoyed our stay. We were hoping to head over to Grouse Mountain while we were there and then maybe do some whale watching tours, but we just ran out of time. We were told from the hotel staff that the whale watching tours usually take you over to Victoria, which is a couple of hours away, so the tours last at least four hours, usually more, but that chances of seeing something are very good. Also, we saw the birds of prey show at the aquarium and learned that there was a raptor center nearby, Pacific Northwest Raptors. We would have liked to see that too. I'm sure with some research, I could find at least another dozen reasons to return to Vancouver. Oh yeah, we never got to see GM Place either! We're SO going back.



Day 10: Monday, May 25, 2009: Vancouver, British Columbia to Atlanta, Georgia

Our final day! We got up early and headed out of Canada and back to Seattle. It turns out Canada doesn't celebrate Memorial Day, so we enjoyed a little rush hour fun on our way out. Once back in Seattle, we hopped on a plane and flew back to Atlanta. With the travel and the time difference, we didn't get home until almost 10:00 PM.


Welcome to the U.S.! Home sweet home.

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

I've said it a million times, but really, this was an amazing trip. I highly recommend putting Alaska on your list. Do it early, because you'll want to go back. We certainly do!