Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sea Bus

A pleasant way to travel from North Vancouver to downtown Vancouver is to take the sea bus.  It's neither quiet nor smooth but it is fun to be out on the water cruising past freighters, watching seaplanes take off, hoping we're going to miss an errant log or duck that may drift across our path.

We're leaving behind the north shore mountains as glimpsed through the door windows. 
But what do those little signs on the windows say? 
Let's look a little closer...

Doors can open suddenly.  Doors can open suddenly?!
That can't be good when we're out in the middle of the harbour, can it?

Ships that pass in the night, or sea buses that cross paths by day. Just keep a safe distance,
and be sure to stay well back from those doors because this is what lies outside.

But here we come to safe harbour at last, after about 10 minutes afloat, pulling into the seabus dock next to Canada Place. 

As we walk along the covered overpass from the seabus dock to the station there's a great view of the trainyards below.  I have a bit of a nerdy fascination with trains, I have to admit.  What struck me about this scene was the building block aspect of the box cars, shipping containers and distant buildings; plus the line of the tracks drawing the eye in. 

Those bright sleek train cars on the right make up a commuter train that goes into town from the boonies in the morning (I can hear its hoot across the water when I'm lying in bed at my mother's place) and returns in the afternoon when all the busy bee workers are returning to their hives.  I'd love to take a ride on it but I'd have to find a place to stay overnight out in the sticks and I just don't want to ride on it that badly.

This is another view from the walkway.  I like the linear aspect of the buildings, windows, and parking levels and how they contrast with the organic shapes of the trees just peeking into the picture.

So, here we are at today's destination, which has landed us right in the heart of Gastown.
Maybe I'll take you on a little tour of this tourist area next time...unless I get distracted by another bright idea
or other shiny objects.
It's been known to happen


  1. Did you ever take the old ferry that was predecessor to the Seabus? It bore the romantic name of Vancouver Ferry #5.

  2. Anonymous17 May, 2011

    Louciao, I love your pictures of Vancouver. They bring joy to my heart and tears to my eyes! I took the seabus many, many times to go shopping at Lansdowne Quay (THE best blackberries could always be purchased there!). I don't recall DCW's Vancouver Ferry #5, but I love the name of it!
    Please do post pictures of Gastown - I very much enjoy looking at your photos and reading your commentary.

  3. Ok - that sea bus has me scared too!

  4. I like to take the Sea Bus when the Cruise Ships are in port, starting in May.
    You get up close and personal when passing them in all their glory. I look longingly at them, remembering the fun trips to Alaska, Mexico and Hawaii. It is a bonus included in the very small price of a ticket to ride on the little, but so efficient Sea Bus.

  5. What a wonderful town. I love the colorful boxes and the lines in the railyard. Just looking at those scary doors on the boat made me seasick...

  6. The doors that could open suddenly are to allow passing mermaids to jump on board, that seems clear to me. Or to allow unruly passengers to be ejected ?

    Hmmm, don't recall hearing of your nerdy fascination with trains before... (and what is nerdy about that ???) Methinks you may have to track down some old Al Stewart tunes in which he mentions trains, there are a few. And another line in one of his songs says something about, "For all the jackdaw reasons", in reference to your being distracted by bright or shiny objects. Was just playing "Roads to Moscow", at my daughter's request, in which he sings, "and I listened to the clicking of the train wheels as we rolled across the border"...

    Thanks for the visit that takes us across the water and close to Gastown. Gosh. Gastown ? Does that have anything to do with beans, or bean counters ???

  7. Anonymous17 May, 2011

    As I was more than longing to travel, many thanks for this journey; even though being afloat makes me feel more afraid, than being in the air.

    Always a safe ride for you ahead and a good Wednesday too.

  8. A sea bus?! That sounds pretty scary! But you made it!
    Your post could be seen as a tribute to Piet Mondrian, the geometric artist! However, the train track layout--as you noted--creates a trompe l'oeil oval, and the skyscrapers are softened by the life forms of trees along with the sky-and-clouds reflection. To me, this is a utopian city in every way, from the sea bus to the geometric building reflecting the blue sky and white, fluffy clouds. Beautiful! xxox

  9. DCW,
    No, I don't remember such a ferry. We didn't move to the north shore till the mid-60s so didn't have a need to ferry cross the Mersey, so to speak. By the time we moved there, there was one bus from Deep Cove that went into town in the morning and came back in the late afternoon and cost a whopping 50 cents each way.

  10. Audrey,
    It makes me feel very happy to know that my little offerings bring you such pleasure. I love shopping at Lonsdale Quay...well looking at everything, anyway. One summer when we'd moved back to N.Van from the east coast so that I could finish my fine art degree, we picked masses of blackberries growing wild in the woods behind our apartment building. Well, that is to say Pierre did--I merely reaped the benefits. I will be sure to post the Gastown pix next, though I don't have many.

  11. Lulu,
    You may feel slightly reassured to learn that there are personal flotation devices cleverly tucked beneath each seat. Or, I guess you could bring your own, just in case.

  12. Shirl,
    I've never been in Vancouver at the right time to experience that. I'd love to pull up in the humble little seabus beside those big cruise ships. Or maybe to take it just when the ship is pulling out. Either I'm moving back to Vancouver (choice no. 1) or I'll have to visit during the summer--which is also a good option.

  13. jann,
    Have you never taken the ferry from the Italian mainland to Sicily, or the other way round? We wanted to take the ferry from Reggio di Calabria to Sicily but the trains were on strike that day so we couldn't get to Reggio from Tropea, where we'd been staying. Another good reason to return to Italy!

  14. Owen,
    The thing about the doors is that they can open suddenly. Suddenly! And I'm sure BC transit wouldn't let any hitch-hiking mermaids on board without a ticket, which would be soggy if they'd been waiting in the water --if they could even get a ticket in the first place. So, ixnay on the ermaidmay. Sorry.

    If you have to ask "What's nerdy about that?"...well...Maybe it's no coincidence that we're related after all.

    okay, so I'm listening to Al Stewart singing Roads to Moscow as I'm answering here. "the dream is over"... When your daughter asked you to play this song, did she mean you with your guitar, or a recording of Al Stewart? Isn't it great when one's child discovers the music that was important in one's own youth? Interestingly, the chorus in Moscow reminds me of that in Paul Simon's "All Gone to Look for America."
    You've been having a lot of trouble with all that bean consumption lately...kind of a has bean situation. Rest assured, Brother Owen, this too, much like gas, shall pass.

  15. Robert,
    I'm glad you overcame your fear of boating and joined in on this brief journey. If you sit in the middle of the seabus and read a book, you won't even know you're on the water...although some days it does get a bit choppy. Best to take the regular bus then. Isn't it nice to have an alternative?

  16. Margaret,
    Ah, Mondrian with his lines and cubes, so oddly satisfying. I guess I like making this sort of an image with my camera because it is so far removed from what I do with my own art. Vancouver is a lovely city mostly due to the beauty of its natural setting but it does have all the big city problems as well. Still, I think the pluses outweigh the negatives. Geometry and nature: a fine balance.

  17. Ah, may it pass quietly then, and with no lingering odors...

    Your wisdom warms me...

  18. BrOwen,
    Are you saying I'm full of hot air or telling me that, as the old saying goes, "now I'm cookin' with gas"? Well, I guess nothing heats quite as well as gas, so that's okay. But whaddya say we clear the air once and for all and move on to another topic.

  19. Olá!

    Passei para uma visitinha... porque fiquei curiosa quando vi a imagem do seu perfil... imaginei que você é um artista plástico e vejo que não me enganei.
    Suas fotos são muito bonitas... e eu nem imagino do que você está falando porque onde eu moro não tem mar.


    °º✿ Brasil
    º° ✿✿♥ ♫° ·.

  20. OOH, I would never have picked you as a train spotter! I used to work for Railways here by the way so I can be trusted to drag out the old 'lines' about keeping on the right 'tracks' while you're travelling about with you kit and 'caboose-all' (see what I did there??) or you will set tongues wagon (did it again)...

  21. I think that seabus would freak me out. It looks too much like a recurring dream I have had.

  22. Magia da Inês,
    Olá! Lovely to have a visit from a Brazilian artist.

  23. Saj,
    I would be a train spotter only there aren't many to spot here. It's a real big deal if I happen to be in town when the passenger train is pulling in, either on its way east in the morning or west in the afternoon. The woodchuck and I had a great time in Italy when our little room had a perfect view of the train station. We got to know all the trains, when they were due and where they were heading. It was such a thrill to actually take a local train to other nearby towns. So, did you get have special train-ing for your job? (see, I can do it too!)

  24. Keith,
    I think I've had that same recurring dream. I may have spotted you in it--were you wearing pyjamas?