Kayaking to 2nd Beach in Stanley Park - August 24, 2011

On this lovely sunny Sunday we were not just out for a fun paddle, we were actually using our kayaks as legitimate transportation. A friend was having a birthday in Vancouver’s beautiful Stanley Park, so we decided to paddle to the park rather than drive and try to find parking. I did some research in the days leading up to the event to find a good place to launch and the best I came up with was the boat launch at Vanier Park on the south side of False Creek. This is right beside the Vancouver Planetarium. There was a typical concrete boat launch for larger vessels and a sandy/gravely beach nearby that makes kayak launching pretty easy. The cost is not bad - $2 per hour for parking or $10 for all day.

Vancouver - Sea WallWe headed straight out from Vanier across to the North Side of False Creek to Sunset Beach near the Burrard Street bridge. Once we were out of harm’s way from the larger motor and sail boat traffic we turned west and headed along the beaches of English Bay and the sea wall to Second Beach for the BBQ.

The one-way trip took about one hour and on a beautiful day it was fairly easy paddling. There were a few bits of chop from boats in the bay but nothing bad. We did have to be careful for rocks, especially around Stanley park and 2nd beach where they are really big and are visible even in the deeper water. There was also a weird old cement and metal hazard about half way between English Bay beach and 2nd beach to watch out for if you take this trip. It was not marked and if the tide was a bit higher it would be hard to see and potentially dangerous. The Bay was pretty busy we saw a few other kayakers out as well as some paddle boarders.

2nd beach was super easy to land on. We got there by about noon and it wasn’t too busy and there was a lot of space to maneuver. We landed; hung out for the BBQ for a few hours and then got back in the water. We took the exact route back and the water was great and super easy to cut through.

Vancouver - City SkylineThe trip highlight was the beautiful scenery of the city and the beaches, plus you are close enough for some good people-watching along the seawall. We got a few pictures of the Burrard Bridge when we were heading back into False Creek, and some pics of Vanier Park which has the Vancouver planetarium and currently has their usual summer set up of tents for Bard on the beach (Shakespeare).

Challenge of the day:
Making our way back to the south side of false creek to the landing at Vanier Park. There was a pretty steady flow of boat traffic in and out of False Creek and we had to wait a while for a safe crossing. It wasn’t too bad, but we felt really small and vulnerable compared to some of the big sailboats, motorboats and mini ferries.

Vancouver - Krista paddling sceneryWhat we learned:
The great discovery of the Vanier Park boat launch which is great for kayakers. Take a look at Google map satellite and you will even see all the kayakers launching. The parking is really close to the water - there’s a cement boat launch with a small patch of sandy beach on either side, just perfect for kayaks. This will likely be a useful future launch point. It’s right at the mouth of False creek so we can head to and around Stanley park, stay on the south side and go to kits and Jericho.

When people see you paddle to a BBQ, you make a pretty cool impression and it’s an instant conversation starter!!!