Sunday, 21 August 2011

Vancouver Island by Seaplane

There are some strange anomalies when it comes to aeroplanes. Everyone has a strange fascination for watching them take off and land, but few people actually want to live near an airport. However there is a unique exception to that rule when it comes to seaplanes. It seems that the added attraction of water brings with it a whole new dimension to flying and indeed watching take offs and landings. This certainly appeared to be true in Vancouver and even more so in Victoria, where most of the most expensive hotels, restaurants and apartments sit right alongside the harbour where the seaplanes regularly take off and land. I must admit that there is a certain romance in watching these small planes skip along the water that somehow resurrects images of a bygone era. Living in the days of big global airlines, it’s nice to see the small plane rule the skies and indeed the waves in this part of the world. My enthusiasm for this mode of transport is probably heightened due to lack of exposure to them in most parts of Australia, but in these parts it appeared to be the transport of choice for longer distance travel. After days of watching the tiny planes come and go, I decided to surprise Jules by booking a trip on one for a scenic flight around Vancouver Island. So on a perfect sunny evening, we hopped on board our De Havilland DHC-3 Seaplane and made our way slowly across the water to the runway point. As we motored along, we could see people on the shore taking photos, once again confirming my thoughts on their popularity. Once in the centre of the harbour and facing out to sea, the pilot pushed forward on the throttle and we were skipping across the water before quickly making our ascent. Staying at a reasonably low flying level, the views around Vancouver Island were wonderful, highlighted by many inaccessible coastal inlets that you wouldn’t normally see unless by boat. Soon we were back and making a graceful touchdown, much like a pelican might when it hits the water. Our seaplane adventure was over, but it had been quite a memorable experience and certainly a very different way to see the scenic beauty of Vancouver Island.

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