What comes to mind when you think of great duos? Simon and Garfunkel, peanut butter and jelly, fish and chips or perhaps Beauty and the Beast? Personally, one of my favourite duos is the combination of English Bay and paddling. It doesn’t matter what you’re paddling; dragon boat, kayak, canoe, rowboat or stand up paddle board. The thrill of viewing Vancouver’s skyline, Stanley Park, and the spectacular North Shore Mountains from the ocean by a self-propelled watercraft is undeniable.
Perspectives are challenged on the water. Although part of the hustle and bustle of the city, while on the ocean, you are at the same time one step removed. Peace and serenity abound. With each stroke of the paddle, you control your own, individual path, and as the tide swings, your view shifts. The shoreline scenery changes dramatically over the span of a few hours, as the tidal flow in English Bay is substantial. Calmness prevails and time seems to stand still.
Relatively sheltered, English Bay is an ideal location for novice paddlers to test the waters. While the scenery is guaranteed to be fantastic, I always enjoy the wildlife viewing. No matter how frequently I paddle, I am astounded to observe such diversity of life so close to a major city. While touring English Bay in my beloved kayak, I have routinely encountered seals, herons, cormorants, and eagles. Last summer, to the great delight of all paddlers and nature enthusiasts, a humpback whale frequented our local waters, thrilling those fortunate enough to be near during his regular visits.
English Bay is a busy waterway, and paddlers must exercise caution. Dwarfed by massive ocean freighters, one can easily feel small and insignificant. However, this unique perspective from the sea reminds me of the power and importance of the ocean. How extraordinary!
Anytime is the right time to paddle, but sunsets on English Bay are phenomenal. Winds tend to die down later in the day, and an evening paddle is a perfect way to unwind, decompress and experience a sunset like you never have before – Vancouver style!