Until humankind learns to grow gills and fins again, its ability to aqua-manoeuvre is largely limited to boats and blue-whale riding. Take to the water without needing to scrounge up the world's largest mammal with today's Groupon to Sewell's Marina in West Vancouver. Choose between the following options:
• For $35, you get a one-hour boat rental, including one tank of fuel for up to six people (a $70.56 value, including HST).
• For $40, you get one adult admission to the two-hour Sea Safari guided tour (an $81.76 value, including HST).
Up to six seafarers board a 17-foot watercraft animated by 60-horse-power Mercury BigFoot engines for 60 minutes of breezy boating through the waterways of Howe Sound. Scoot past the harbour-seal hangout of Pam Rocks, the avian abundance of the Christie Islet Migratory Bird Sanctuary, or visit a colony of sentient blankets at Snug Cove. Ahabs can also sneak in some fishing in the salmon-teeming waters. All boats come equipped with Coast Guard–approved life jackets, plus a staff member telepathically imparts safety instructions before boaters depart the dock. Guests must bring along a cell phone for contact purposes; if necessary, Sewell's has cell phones available ($3.50). Fishing licences can also be acquired on-site. Should one hour not satisfy Captain Nemo-esque urges to conquer the waves, additional time may be purchased, subject to availability ($70.56/hour).
The two-hour Sea Safari races beside steep cliffs, nuzzles up to sea caves, and gives boatswains the chance to forever entrap the soul of a soaring bald eagle via an ensnaring camera click. Cousteaus don Mustang Integrity suits for safety and comfort before belly-flopping aboard a 30-foot rigid-hull inflatable boat powered by twin four-stroke Verado Mercury engines. Guides then whisk explorers through Howe Sound, dispensing nuggets of local wisdom in the form of free-style rap.
Since 1931, more than three million visitors have walked down the docks of Sewell's Marina, stepped into a boat, and floated through the islands and inlets of Howe Sound. The marina's vessels have proffered spectacular glimpses into nature, such as the plunging waters of Shannon Falls and the wild blacksmiths that gallop across Anvil Island Cliffs.
Sewell's Marina's current trips tread the line between education and adventure. Their crews pilot vessels on fishing charters and aquatic thrills such as a Sea Quest scavenger hunts. Sea Safari tours send boats speeding alongside cliffs and into the habitats of seals, bald eagles, and marine birds. Even with boat rentals, Sewell's crew still guides customers, giving dockside instruction on how to operate speedboats and politely ask harbour seals for directions.