Lunch Cruising on Indian Arm, Vancouver’s Glacial Fjord

Indian Arm from Bedwell Bay, BC

Among Vancouver’s greatest charms is its proximity to real wilderness.  Within minutes of leaving downtown, you can be trekking through undeveloped West Coast rainforest, exploring the snow-capped flanks of 5,000-foot Coast Mountain peaks or – one of the most interesting options – cruising up one of North America’s most southerly fjords, Vancouver’s stunning Indian Arm.

Carved by glaciers during the last ice age, Indian Arm extends some 12 miles from the Pacific’s Burrard Inlet, slicing through heavily forested mountain slopes that descend steeply down to the water.  Avid adventurers can opt to explore Indian Arm by canoe or kayak, but for casual daytrippers one of the most pleasant options is an afternoon lunch cruise.

The four-hour journeys, offered by Vancouver’s Harbour Cruises, begin downtown at scenic Coal Harbour.  Against a backdrop of gleaming, high-rise towers, the ship motors deep into the Burrard Inlet.  After cruising for an hour, the vessel turns into Indian Arm and the scenery undergoes a dramatic change.  Sheer granite cliffs and dense dark forest stretch for miles in every direction.  Herons and eagles, seals and salmon and sometimes even black bears can be seen in, on and around the water.

Photo Credit: Remy Scalza

Buffet-style lunch is served on board, and there’s also a full-service bar if you want to really turn the experience into a pleasure cruise.  The trip culminates with arrival at Silver Falls, a shimmering cascade tucked away in a protected cove and accessible only by water.

The Indian Arm Luncheon cruise ($64.95 a person) is offered most days during the summer.  The ship boards at 10:30 a.m. from downtown’s Coal Harbour.

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