The waters of False Creek reach into the city of Vancouver like an arm. For years, the passage of water was used for industrial purposes, but all that changed in 1980 when the city of Vancouver decided to develop Granville Island. One of those developments was False Creek Community Centre.
Today, the centre fills False Creek with an array of recreational boaters, including kayakers, canoeists, dragon boaters, and whale surfers. Back on land, the facility boasts a pottery studio, a fitness centre, tennis courts, a water park with a large kid's area, and a talented staff of instructors who teach programs and classes for kids and adults alike.
Before reaching the Sloquet hot springs or the Skookumchuck hot springs, which are also called the T'sek hot springs, water travels for miles through Earth’s mantle, warming itself by means of geothermal heat and collecting minerals that help promote wellness. These natural hot tubs spur visits from travellers to this tranquil and remote area. The team at BC Hotspring Tours shepherds visitors there to take advantage of the water’s beneficial properties, offering scenic, round-trip transportation. The team also runs full-day sightseeing tours of Fraser Valley with many scenic stops that include Chilliwack’s Vedder River and White Rock’s beaches.
Apollo Athletic Club spans nearly 45,000 square feet of body-moulding fitness facilities enhanced by a stereophonic sound system, an abundance of natural light, and a layout designed to facilitate availability of equipment. The one-month membership requires no contract or crop-sharing arrangement, bestowing upon members a pass card that grants unlimited access to all of Apollo's fitness areas. Facilities include the weight room, outfitted with Hammer Strength and Cybex equipment, a 25-foot lap pool and three hot tubs, squash and racquetball courts, two steam rooms, a basketball court, and designated seniors- and ladies-only areas. Approximately 40 classes per week harness the power of group motivation and wind energy of simultaneous jump roping with strength training, Zumba, and six senior classes, such as Osteo-Fit, designed for those living with osteoporosis.
If there’s a whale breaching on the protected waters of the San Juan Islands, there’s a good chance a passenger on Mystic Sea Charters’ 100-foot vessel will see the splashy spectacle. The company’s five- to six-hour tours have an impressive track record when it comes to spotting the gargantuan mammals, introducing tour-goers to different species of whale up to 99% of the time. Onboard the ship, a naturalist divulges facts about ocean life as passengers watch for whales from the heated cabin or from the deck, which has 4-foot railings so guests can hold on if whales start singing and dancing to the hit song “Rock the Boat.” The company promises that voyagers will see at least one gray, orca, humpback, or minke whale, depending on the season. If not, they’ll receive a follow-up whale-watching tour for free.
Contact Ogden Point Dive Centre and Cafe for specific class dates and times; groups of two or more can be typically be accommodated outside regular class hours with reservation. Open-water dives take place several times per month.
For the Hanke family, it seems like Puget Sound Express has always been part of their lives. Raised in the Puget Sound his entire life, Pete Hanke honed his seafaring abilities alongside his father, Pete Sr. Together, the two started leading weeklong sailing adventures across the Pacific Northwest in 1981 and eventually started whale tours. Today, the business still remains a family affair, with grandparents, children, and grandchildren working side by side. Sherri Hanke, Pete’s wife, feels this is the company's biggest feature. "We have three generations of captains, so there is a wealth of knowledge there."
In addition to their family members, Puget Sound Express's crew is well acquainted with the area's 88 resident killer whales, which naturalists can identify based on their markings and slick leather jackets. Tours also pass into the habitats of other wildlife, often spotting humpbacks, sea birds, and bald eagles. The Hankes' most popular voyage tours the San Juan Islands, pausing at the fishing village of Friday Harbor. According to Sherri, this region is well known for its weather. "We refer to it as the Blue Hole, because it is like this circle of sunlight. It could be raining in Seattle and extremely sunny here."
The Hankes take adventure-seekers out on the M.V. Glacier Spirit, a modern, 70-seat vessel with open-air viewing decks and large windows allowing sightseers unencumbered views. Additionally, an on-board hydrophone listens in on whales' vocalizations to see which songs are currently stuck in their heads.