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Monday, May 26, 2014

Hiking the Stawamus Chief

Last weekend I joined my friend Marina and her brother for a day hike up in Squamish. We decided to hike to the first peak of the Stawamus Chief and back, which was approximately 5 km. The trail for the Stawamus Chief begins not far from Shannon Falls, a location I had previously visited with my dad.

Both Marina and I brought our cameras to document the experience. Marina has a blog of her previous research experiences, which she plans on updating now that she's here in British Columbia. She was kind enough to let me feature some of her photographs in this blog post, which is so kind of her since some of these pictures are breathtaking.

The journey to the first peak was entirely uphill. The trail had us climbing stairs, boulders, ladders, and even the exposed rock of the mountain. There were people of all ages, sizes and abilities hiking up the mountain, and I'd encourage anyone to give it a try. It was exciting and refreshing to tackle the challenge, and I'd like to hike the more challenging trails to the second or third peak in the future. 

Without further ado, here are some photographs on the experience.

Photo by Marina Steffensen 

Photo by Marina Steffensen 

Photo by Marina Steffensen 

Photo by Marina Steffensen 

Photo by Marina Steffensen 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Whale Watching in Vancouver

This past weekend was a long weekend here in Canada and it was the most exciting time I've had in Vancouver so far. A friend who I met during my undergrad at the University of Guelph was in the city. She had been travelling around small towns on Vancouver Island to set up research stations, and was excited to have Saturday off in downtown Vancouver. While here, she wanted to do something touristy that Vancouver was renown for, so we ended up going whale watching.

We took the tour with Wild Whales, and their boat took us from Granville Island in Vancouver into the Georgia Straight. The tour lasted 6 and a half hours, and we covered a large distance. We spent a lot of time in the Straight of Georgia, and went down along some of the smaller islands of Vancouver Island. We even at some point crossed Boundary Pass into America and were technically in Washington. However, it was worth all the travelling, since we saw several porpoises, seals, sea lions, and a magnificent humpback whale.

These are stellar sea lions, and they were making such loud barking noises when we arrived. Definitely the noise neighbors on this rock, but they paid us absolutely no mind. 

Further down on the rock were much quieter harbour seals. These guys were adorable, and look at how well they blend in with their surroundings!

There were also several bald eagles that could be seen while our boat was near the small islands. These iconic birds are apparently doing very well out here in British Columbia. I've seen them every time I've been on a boat to or from Vancouver Island.

Another species of sea lion: the California sea lion. They probably would have been as loud as the stellar sea lions, except most of them were napping on the warm rocks. 

We then headed back into the open water after the captain got news that a very friendly humpback whale was rubbing up against another whale watching boat. We weren't disappointed when we got there. They identified the whale as a young humpback named Windy, who had a reputation for being very curious with boats and people. 

The humpback whale was really breathtaking to see and it got surprisingly close to our boat when the captain turned off the engine.

After about 30-40 minutes of observing the humpback, it clearly became time for the whale to take a nap. As we were preparing to leave back for Vancouver, the whale rolled its whole body over while floating along the surface of the water. It was such a beautiful and large animal, and I'm glad my friend decided to ask me along for this adventure. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Vancouver Fan Expo 2014

I'm a little late with this post, but I figured I couldn't let these pictures go unseen. During the weekend of April 18-20 Fan Expo Vancouver took place here in Vancouver. I chose not to cosplay this time around seeing as I just wanted to get an idea of how big the event was here, and I wasn't disappointed!

The event was very similar to what I've experienced at Ottawa Comiccon and Fan Expo. There were Q&A panels, activities, sales booths, photo ops and signings with celebrities, and a costume competition. So, without further ado, here are the photos. 

Of course, I also got some pictures of cosplayers. It wouldn't be a Fan Expo without some amazingly made costumes. (By the way, if you're a cosplayer featured below please email me if you'd like to be credited or would like the picture removed.)

There was also an after-party for Fan Expo that night at the club Five Sixty, which was hosted by a local group called the Ghostbusters of British Columbia. This was new to me. As far as I know, Ottawa's events have never featured an after-party. It was an amazing experience, with so many people at the club still dressed in their costumes.

This would definitely be something that the Ottawa events could do in the future. It was an exciting way to end a day spent nerding out.