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A Whale of a Time


Our zodiac surfs ocean swells and moves in sync with the engine’s continuous drone. Sunshine floods through the vessel’s windows, its warmth embracing me like a wool sweater on a winter day. Rocked like a babe, I feel totally relaxed. Tension diminishes, joints loosen, and my head flops forward with each dip as I drift into a semi-comatose state. In my mind’s eye I recall the succession of events over the previous two days that I’ve shared with my thirteen year-old son and his best bud.

Although not traveling far afield, this whale watching package and two night stay at The Delta Pacific Resort has provided us with family fun and an ocean adventure that we’ll always remember.

We booked into one of the spacious Signature Club suites, where an adjoining room would provide a separate sanctuary for the boys – or so I thought. Territorial claims were quickly declared and following a democratic vote, you can probably guess who willingly retreated to the smaller quarters…and without a single complaint, might I add.

By the time I had unpacked and re-entered the teen’s shrine, the two were living the life of Riley. Both clad in snowy white robes, they were propped up in bed and tuned into the resort’s Nintendo games while they munched on the array of provided goodies. I was relieved to find out that they hadn’t discovered the great in-room-dining menu!

Burning energy was not an arduous task during our stay, with the help of the resorts three pools, one of which the boys repetitively slithered into after two hundred and twenty five feet of sliding. For little tykes there was a junior slide attached to this shimmering playground, a kids camp, an outdoor jungle gym and a creative centre where crafts and toys would fill any playtime void. For us older kids, the fitness centre, mountain bikes, tennis and squash courts would do the trick followed by an instant massage in the hot tub.

And when it came time for re-fuelling, there were lots of options. In addition to filling up on kid pleasing favourites at Reflections Restaurant and the bountiful Sunday brunch, I treated the boys to a special dinner at the legendary Suehiro’s Japanese Restaurant. Koi-filled ponds led the way to this authentic replica of a Japanese Samurai home, where our own personal chef provided entertainment while preparing exquisite cuisine right before our eyes. By twirling his butcher knife like a parade baton, he sliced, diced and created the mouth-watering specialties like Yamato Chicken and Hokkaido Salmon. Heavenly? You bet!

Just a ten minute drive away, we were transported back in time while visiting the historical fishing village of Steveston. Creaky boardwalks led us past gift shops and restaurants to where pungent fishy smells trailed from the dockside vendors. Early morning purchasers thronged to holding tanks where live crabs clamoured over one another and the fresh daily catch lay waiting for their imminent sale.

It was from within this busy hub that we boarded Vancouver Whale Watch’s, Explorathor, and looked forward to the promise of being at one with nature. While our domed pontoon rider created a comfy barrier from head winds, the more adventuresome suited up in survival attire and paralleled us in their open-faced cruiser. And both promised a whale of a time!

Indeed it was! The roller coaster ride en route was a freebee and so were the scenic island views that we shared with seals, eagles, and porpoises while trolling Active Pass.

But the height of excitement came when we spotted the first signature dorsal fin, followed by another and another. “There are three pods of Killer Whales that come to this region every year to feed on the salmon,” our naturalist informed. “And all of them can be identified by their specific dorsal fin and saddle perch,” she continued.

They seemed like friends to Candice, as she was even able to label a few by name. For us, their titles didn’t matter that much. It was their splendour and beauty that tweaked our curiosity. The way a mother and her calf arched in unison over the water’s surface, then dipped beneath it, their jet-black carriages looking like partially submerged hot air balloons. The baffling medley of sounds that came from blow holes as they came up for air and, when within close range, the resonant odour from last night’s salmon dinner. It was truly the worst halitosis that one could imagine!

“Mom, wake up, we’re back!” Aroused by my son from the sweet-dream state, I find that we have returned to our pre-boarding dock at Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a destination that was once home to fourteen canneries and one where the crowds continue to swarm to – not only for the fresh daily catch of the day, but also to enjoy a whale of a time.

Whale Watching & Accommodation Packages can be booked through: Delta Pacific Resort and Convention Centre 10251 St. Edwards Drive Richmond, BC V6X 2M9 Phone: 604-278-9611 Fax: 604-276-1121 Toll Free from North America: 1-800-268-1133 Web Site: www.delathotels.com

Vancouver Whale Watch #210-12240 2nd Ave. Steveston, BC V7E 3L8 Phone: 604-274-9565 Fax: 604-274-9575 Web Site: www.vancouverwhalewatch.com

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