Tuesday, December 30, 2014

GCA XIII: Sea to Air

Waterfront

Tater has an uncle on Victoria Island and during his last visit there, he took a sea plane to visit him. And from that experience, he strongly-encouraged us to do the same. So KH got tickets with Harbour Air and packaged it with a whale-watching company at Victoria Island. Got off the Sky Train at Waterfront station and had a simple breakfast panini from Pepe. Walked over to Vancouver Harbour that was located right next to the Vancouver Convention Centre. Only after checking in did we realize that they served free pastries and coffee to passengers.

YWH

Harbour Airport

Our flight used a Sea Otter and could seat twelve passengers. Luggage is stowed in the pontoons. Very different taking off from the water. But taxi-ing out to the open waters was quite a slow process. Take off was smooth and view was amazing with no turbulence. Our altitude was low, so we were rewarded with a great birds eye view of the islands. Further out we could see how salt water and fresh water mingled judging by the dual color of the water.

Cockpit

View from a Seaplane II

View from a Seaplane III

View from a Seaplane I

Fresh Meets Salt

Arrived at Victoria Island in about an hour and the landing was smooth as well. With such a small plane, one would expect things to be bumpier. Upon arrival, we checked in with the whole watching tour. Our vessel was the King Salmon and there around thirty other people in our group. Half sat inside while the other half sat outside catching the rays and sea spray. We shared a table with a British couple who brought their baby along. Our guide loves to joke that the baby was 'whale bait'. Kinda contradictory when she was later trying to portray the orcas as gentle creatures. The whale watching companies share information with each other, constantly updating whale sightings.

Vancouver Island Harbour

On the Harbour

Orca Bait

We travelled out quite a bit before seeing our first Orcas in the distance. Just caught glimpses of their dorsal fins. From the markings, the guides can identify the pods. Was supposed to do a rotation from inside the boat to the top, but we preferred to stay out of the sun, wind and spray. Good enough looking out from the back of the boat and enjoying a jot cup of tea. LOL. For the whole trip, we kept a respectful distance and finally headed back.

Lookout

Orca II

Orca I

Orca III

The recommended thing to eat there was Red Fish Blue Fish, a small fish and chips joint. Unfortunately, the queue was long and the throughput was as efficient as the government service counters back home. Fed up with waiting in the scorching sun, we went into town first. Shopped a little at The Bay before trying our luck again at 3:00 PM. We ate the Albacore tuna tacone, halibut fish and chips and a green curry clam chowder that hastened me to the toilet later. Walked around at Market Square and some misc shops to while away the time. Found an all year round Christmas shop that sold ornaments from all around the world. Interesting, authentic and expensive trinkets.

Q for Fish

Red Fish Blue Fish

Market Square

Our flight back was graced by an handsome Canadian in super tight business wear (let's call him Otter Oswald). More breathtaking views. Back in Vancouver, we had a Ramen dinner at Menya. Not very impressive, except for the kid (let's call him Bubble Barney) with the bubble butt sitting a few tables away. LOL. Look at how it stretched his sweat pants.

View from a Seaplane V

View from a Seaplane IV

Bird's Eye View

In-flight Snooze

Sleeping on a Seaplane

Shio Ramen

Bubble

2 comments:

Hdaran said...

OMG! How amazing was it to see the orcas??!! My first memories of NatGeo were of the whales and do we even need to get started on Free Willy?

Twilight Man said...

Oh God!! You damn lucky devil having flown in such aircraft to view the fabulous city and waters!