As a Samba Days Sambassador, I recently used one of the Samba Days gift cards to go on an Sea Safari Eco-Tour with Sewell’s Marina out of Horseshoe Bay. The Sea Safari tour is a two-hour boat adventure that takes you all around Howe Sound to view the beautiful coastal scenery and ocean wildlife just off Vancouver’s shores.
To start the trek, we put on our Mustang survival suits, received a briefing from our guide, and then hopped into the 30 foot inflatable. The boat itself sits twelve (four rows of three people). Each row of seating has sidebars so it feels safe and secure, and the seats are comfortable. The boat also has a lot of power – 450 horsepower to be exact – which our guide made good use of throughout the day as we zipped around the ocean. I had my 6 year old along for the ride and his favorite part of the trip was when the guide was doing tight doughnuts in the water or punching it over the wakes of other boats, lifting our inflatable into the air.
Once we were underway, we followed the shore to the south, getting great views of some of Canada’s most expensive real estate – the waterfront houses of West Vancouver. We stopped to peer into a small cave, and then carried on to Point Atkinson (Lighthouse Park).
We then moved west into the Straight of Georgia, getting views of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, and skirted the south side of Bowen Island. We then went north into Howe Sound, stopping at Hutt Island, Gambier Island, Pam Rocks and Christie Island – before finally heading to Lions Bay and following the Sea to Sky highway back south to Horseshoe Bay. The scenery was amazing along the whole trip.
The guide did a great job of pointing out interesting bits of history of the area and the names of the islands and wildlife. I learned a lot of new things about the area, and saw birds I’ve never seen before, even though I’ve grown up around Vancouver.
The mouth of Howe Sound itself is between West Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast. The sound then extends 42km north all the way to Squamish. Like its neighbor to the east – the Indian Arm – Howe Sound is a glacial fjord that was carved out by a massive glacier thousands of years ago. Currently there are several islands in Howe Sound, with Bowen Island being the most populous, and Gambier Island being the largest.
Over the 2 hour tour we saw eagles perched in trees and flying overhead, harbour seals peering at us curiously, cormorants nesting on cliffs, and harlequin ducks and a heron resting on tiny islets. The most impressive wildlife, however, were the surf scoters. There was a flock of thousands of them ahead of us taking flight. Collectively, the sound they made is hard to describe.
Overall, we had a great time on the Sea Safari. Whether you were a tourist in Vancouver or lifelong resident, I think the trip is worth it to see the area from a new perspective.
And if you haven’t heard of Samba Days gift cards before I definitely recommend them too. They work like any gift card, except that instead of giving someone a card for a retail store, you choose a theme pack (like Adventure, Getaway, Golf, Gourmet, etc), and the end user can choose from a big list of experiences they want to do from theme (like the Sea Safari!). Its a really neat idea, and I think a better gift than regular gift cards.
You can see all my photos from the Sea Safari here.