Vancouver Aquarium and the Capilano Bridge

Back down the mountain and into the city and it feels a little bit, ‘back to reality’ really… traffic, shops, malls, office buildings, sirens, buses. NOISE!  I’m missing the Aspens on the mountainside already.

Nevermind, we have beautiful Vancouver to explore before the forecast rain sets in for the week and then we will be driven to indoor pursuits.  So the first cab off the rank is Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium (you know, mostly for the otters).

The Vancouver Aquarium is divided into several zones – the Tropics, the Amazon, the Pacific Coastal (and they don’t mean the South Pacific), the Frog exhibitions, the outdoor Marine animals and of course the obligatory and unusually extensive gift shop zone… We started off in the Tropics and had a feeling we would move through this area pretty quickly. I could not count the number of people who seemed to be here just to see the Nemo Fish.  Poor little things will never be known as Clown Fish ever again…  “Look at the Nemo Fish, Jackson. Isn’t he cute?”  Thanks, Disney. Last time I was here there was a surprising display of a wobbegong shark.. he doens’t seem to live here anymore. After whipping through all the familiar Tropical displays we went for a wander through the Amazon rainforest area.  Which is a huge greenhouse of trees, flowers, birds, boa constrictors, alligators, frogs, and even a resident, (though somewhat camera shy), sloth.

Piranhas… look pretty harmless, maybe they just have a bad reputation.  These ones also look pretty meaty – I wonder if piranha is tasty?Tiny poisonous frog… highly advise against eating these. From there we meandered into the Pacific Coast area – which is nothing like the Pacific Coast area we are used to.  Anemones in a multitude of colours (thank fuck for Grammarly – I’m still half asleep and can’t spell right now, which probably means I should put off writing until later, but I’m not gonna so bad spelling and typos ahoy!).  I particularly love the bright green and strawberry coloured northern Pacific anemones.They have some seriously impressive jellyfish display – this aquarium has some of the best jellyfish displays I’ve ever seen, they’re so serene, I could watch them for hours.  In fact, I’d love to have a huge wall of jellyfish at home.  Today the Teenager learned that the collective noun for jellyfish is a ‘smack’.  He told me this very proudly, to which I responded off-handedly, ‘Yes, I know.’ Which caused a slightly disappointed expression… sorry kiddo, it’s hard to teach your mum new words*, you can take it home and dazzle your English teacher though.
(*Qualifier: unless they’re made up, bullshit words from the Internet.) Strawberry anemones… my favourite – this photo does not do them justice at all.Laid-back and cruisey looking starfish that I swear would speak like Alison Janney if it could, you know, talk. Outside to the Marine animals area – dirty big seal. Lesser dirty big seal – Northern Fur Seal if anyone is actually interested. (Complete with annoying lens aberration that I am going to have to investigate when I return home. Grrr.).   Sea otters.  I won’t bore you with the multitude of bad otter photos and videos I took in the poor lighting conditions today… but this guy picking his nose was a highlight.
I must have watched them for half an hour while the guys took advantage of the free wi-fi. I hate it when my phone is taking better photos than the camera… sometimes it’s just way more forgiving of crappy lighting conditions. Then around the corner to see some endangered South African Penguins. These little guys weren’t very animated and I felt sorry for them living in this enclosure – the penguins we saw in the Falklands seemed much happier, huddling, and nesting and hatching and waddling across the sand.  

Anyhow, onwards and outwards via the gift shop – someone in their t-shirt ordering department has a cute sense of humour… We seriously don’t need it, but I was really close to buying this fishy cribbage board for Mr K, made by a local artist named Andrew Riddle.

After the Aquarium, we drove around to the Stanley Pub to meet up with Jay-Cuz ( 😉 yeah, that’s your new nickname) who lives in Vancouver.  We were off to see the Capilano Suspension Bridge gets all lit up for the holidays.  I came here in mid-summer about five years ago, so I was keen to explore the place again, only this time at night.  I was surprised, being local, that Jay-Cuz would want to come with – but apparently, she’s never been to the Capilano Suspension Bridge before, so it would be a new adventure for most of us.
The suspension bridge has a huge long history that I probably wrote about last time I was here, but in case I didn’t and in case you’re interested, here’s the Wiki-link.  The most interesting thing to note about it is that it is 140m long and 70m above the canyon floor and 800,000 people walk across it every year!  Mr K was not so keen, being wary of heights, but we made it across.  🙂  On the other side is the tree top walks in among the enormous fir trees. Half arsed selfies seemed to be the order of the day.  Among the tree tops. As it got darker, my photography got wonkier! A little cabin near a pond… where’s my tripod.  :'(  Further into the Adventure Walk was a lovely area that was filled with these large lighted globes of varying sizes that had been artfully arranged throughout the trees.  It created a wonderful fantastical space that was heightened by it all being reflected in a still pond. We had timed our visit so that it would be fully dark by the time we were walking back (all of 4:30-5:00pm) and the bridge all lit up looked very cool. The canyon floor – shot handheld, at night from a rocking suspension bridge!  😛  I love these fuzzy night photos.  🙂

The Capilano Bridge complex has a pretty nifty gift shop too – full of outdoor wear, local crafts, jewellery, toys and souvenirs. And the whole places smells like maple fudge, and maple cookies, and maple butter, and maple flavoured goodness in general.  Naturally, we acquired some fudge, a souvenir pin, and a small gift for Gran (no, we didn’t buy her the bristly fox). AND – very excited – I finally found myself a fantastic Woolrich lumberjack flannelette shirt.  Last time we were here, I searched high and low for one, but maybe they just don’t sell well in the summer season?!  Very happy with my wash.

Once we left the bridge, we decided to take Jay-Cuz home to Richmond, which she warned us was quite the long drive from North Vancouver, but we got to have fun conversation in the car, and she had promised to take us to dinner somewhere that was NOT more burgers or pizza! (So sick of bad food – after a week of fatnastic sushi in Tokyo!)  So, we ended up in her local village, a really cute seaside area called Stevenson at a restaurant called the Kove Kitchen.  We had a delicious meal (they have fantastic seafood chowder!), which was a wonderful end to a huge day.

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