We stood on the dock, having played on the wooden play boat on Granville Island for an hour. Cameron had looked a little confused as we walked right past where the False Creek Ferries were boarding, to meander between big boats. “Are we going on a boat?” he asked me, the skip gone out of his step. This was new stuff, and he wasn’t sure. “Yep,” I answered. “Remember? We’re on an Adventure.” I did my best to make that capital A audible. He asked me where we were going, and I answered, “A place called Bowen Island.”
On our epic walk home on Thursday I saw an ad for the Granville Island Express Water Taxi service, and tucked the information away in my head. What a neat idea for a sunny weekend day! This small company runs boats between Granville Island and Bowen Island, one of the Gulf Islands located close to Horseshoe Bay. Sure, there is a car-ferry that runs between Horsehoe Bay and Snug Cove on the island, but that’s not easy to get to if you don’t have a car. Their boats seat twelve passengers inside, and make the trip in a little under an hour. Adults are $25 round trip, with children under 12 riding half-price.
Cameron sure was excited as we got on board. He practically launched himself into the first bench-seats he saw – but knowing the sights we were going to be passing, I guided him to seats on the starboard side. Once the boat was loaded up, off we went, going slowly until we’d gotten well out into the bay. Cameron pointed out various places he recognized – the planetarium, the beaches we frequent. His eyes widened as the bow of the boat lifted high once we picked up speed, and we started plowing through waves, sending large splashes up to either side. He was easily distracted though. We went between freighters, and chatted about what they might be shipping out, and how we’d seen them from the beach. We watched sailboats raising their sails, and later jibing with smooth grace. The best part for him clearly was seeing the lighthouse as we passed by Lighthouse Park. Then the drone of the motor and the rocking motion lulled him into a nap that lasted maybe a whole ten minutes.
Bowen Island is a quiet little place. I’ve only been there a handful of times, and never with enough chance to explore, so this glimpse was nice. We had a snack the Snug Café, just a short walk up from the harbour, then meandered down to the beach and paths. Cameron has convinced himself that bears reside in all woods, so my mission was to get him on a path through woods this afternoon. So we alternated play on the beach with forest walks. The first he held my hand tightly and requested in a small, polite voice that we return to the beach. The second he stayed close, holding my hand, looking nervous. The third? Ah, he let go. For a heartbeat. On the beach we climbed on small rocks, poked at seaweed, dug in sand, and built whatever creations he felt like. We watched seal heads pop up here and there, eagles dive to snatch fish, and talked about the boats we saw coming and going.
Too soon, it was time to go back. I bought a lollipop for each of us, and down we went to the docks. We met the water taxi at 3:45, and were back at Granville Island by around 4:30. Cameron needed a cleanup after the lollipop, we bought fresh local-ish veggies from the market, and we headed home. Later in the summer we may head back over with a bike (and seat for Cameron of course) for a more wide-ranging exploration.