Vancouver, British Columbia
March 5, 2003
If a beach could have a "split personality," this beach does! On the harbor side, where luxurious new yachts lie at anchor beside rusty, beloved old boats, there is a lively bar and restaurant. The Boatyard Bar has music, games, sports, booze, full meals, and light snacks. If you are looking for excitement and beautiful people, this is the place to be. A hemp rope marks out the bar's stretch of beach, and there are floating rafts and inflated toys inside the buoys for the bar patrons in the water.
On the other side of the rope and buoys, there is nothing but a long, silent stretch of soft white sand and pale blue sea. On this quiet side, there are old buildings--for sailmakers, riggers, and drydocks--dating back to the 1800s and earlier. These stone-and-wood structures are slowly falling to pieces, and plants are taking root all over them. A few of the old dock buildings are reputed to be 300 years old.
To reach the lively side of the beach, go to the bar. For the peaceful side, just walk between the old buildings and suddenly you are on the beautiful beach. We swam there twice: once in midmorning, when the sun was scorching, and again in the late afternoon, when the sun was setting. It was a wonderful experience. The sea was clear and warm and, when we were there, there were only gentle waves and no strong currents. One note of caution: watch out for sea snakes. We saw one, and, although they are supposed to be harmless unless provoked, I think I broke an Olympic record for swimming to shore. I don't know what provokes a sea snake and I don't ever intend to find out!
From journal Panama Canal Cruise