Back on Solid Ground

At dinner last night, they let us know that the breakfast buffet would be closed today and that instead we would have breakfast at 7:15 in our main dining room. So we set our alarm for 6 so we could get everything ready and be completely out of the room when we left for breakfast (you had to be out of your room by 8:30).  The doodle was very tired and did not wake through any of the preparations, so we finally had to drag him out of bed at 7:05. I had planned to just take him to breakfast in his jammies, but he insisted on getting dressed, so we did that and headed down.

After breakfast we found a lounge to wait in for our luggage tag to be called (we were in the purple Minnie group). The debarking process is considerably smoother than on Royal Caribbean (honestly, everything was better, but well, this in particular was much more reasonable.) They don't allow you to queue up til they call your group, and they only call your group when the previous group has completely cleared the customs process. We waited about an hour before it was our turn to file off the ship, through customs, claim our bags, and then the rest of the way out of the terminal. We caught a cab to our hotel and, wonder of wonders (it was only something like 10am) our room was actually available. So we took our stuff upstairs, packed a backpack of water bottles, and headed off on foot to Stanley Park and their aquarium.

On the way to the aquarium (once we hit the park) we saw one of several little playgrounds and stopped for a bit so the doodle could play. Then we headed onward toward the fish. Let me just say the Vancouver Aquarium is incredible. It has a rainforest area with tons of butterflies (several species I don't recall seeing before), birds, snakes, basilisks, and even a sloth and two of the crocodiles that have the name I can never pronounce (caiman? something like that). It has a whole frog exhibit with more species of frog than you would ever imagine. There are the usual fish, but then also the local fish regionally through BC (that was very cool.) We had lunch there - and they use containers that are all compostable for their cups etc., I thought that was neat. Then we got to see the dolphin show.

The dolphins they have are the Pacific White Sided dolphins - and they make a point that all of their animals (the dolphins, seals, otters, and beluga whales) are rescued, nursed back to health, but deemed unreleasable. I can't help but think this is the way to have these beautiful things in captivity - since it benefits everyone. The show is really much more based on their research into understanding the behaviors of the creature (vs. just getting them to do cool tricks), so that was fun, too.

At this point, the doodle was hitting major meltdown, so we headed back toward the hotel. When we finally got back (it was a long, hot walk - not sure why it felt so long, but we were all just beat), we put the doodle down for a short rest and Tim and I ended up falling out with him for about an hour. Tim and the kiddo headed out for pizza while I stayed in the room for office hours, and then when that was done, we walked the two blocks to Dairy Queen for some ice cream. Now we're in for the evening and revising our plans for the last few days of the trip (I actually looked into changing our tickets to just go home tomorrow, but it was going to be close to $800, which is half again what we spent to come in the first place, so we'll just tough it out and have quiet days mostly at the hotel in Seattle. The kiddo is done.) Though we all had a blast, I think we're also all ready to be home and back on some kind of schedule.

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