U.B. Diving's founder Sean Smyrichinsky and his team of experienced scuba divers create scenes of underwater adventure every day from their fully stocked shop and on-site dive school. Their scuba charter boat, equipped with hot showers and a heated cabin, travels to areas such as Chrome Island or Flora Islet so divers can frolic with giant octopi and six-gill sharks beneath the water's surface. A PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Sean also teaches classes that grant novices their first dive into open waters, taking the most committed students to Dive Master levels or preparing ocean walkers for careers as ambassadors to Atlantis. Additionally, Sean and his crew rent out gear by the day and contract themselves out for deep diving and wreck exploration through their commercial division.
Discovery West Aviation's commercially licensed pilots sail passengers through the air on charters, private lessons, and tours above urban and rural areas sprawling out toward the horizon. In private flight or commercially based lessons, flight instructors put students at the controls of Cessna C-172 or C-150 planes, explaining flight basics before teaching their protégés how to hide from gravity. During charters, professionals take the helm of the winged craft to soar over sites such as downtown Victoria with its watery inlets and architectural outcroppings or high above the banks of Campbell River with its snowy mountain peaks and views of eagles slicing through neighbouring clouds. Discovery West recently purchased Island Pacific Flight Academy, acquiring some of their fleet as well as a greater understanding of avian sign language.
It's unclear why whales jump and splash on the surface of the ocean. It could be to get attention from potential mates, or a way to lose the parasites on their backs. But it is also possible that the whales are simply having fun. From the vantage point of a 65-foot whale-watching vessel, guests of Jamie's Whaling Station & Adventure Centres can observe grey and humpback whales in their natural environment, while forming their own hypotheses about their mystifying behaviour.
In addition to whale-watching trips, Jamie's leads bear-watching tours, tours to Hot Springs Cove, kayaking adventures, group hikes, and sunset cruises to find out where the sun really goes at night. A portion of proceeds from all tours supports local wildlife research and rescue programs.
It's hard for Andrew and Christine Edwards to remember a life without scuba diving. From an early age, they both would plunge into the depths of Vancouver's waters, gazing across underwater landscapes where wolf eels swam and octopi stretched their sneaker-covered tentacles across a carpet of strawberry anemones. These experiences stuck with them, and in 2007, the couple opened Ocean Planet Adventures to share their life's passion with others.
From Discovery Scuba classes to advanced PADI certifications, Ocean Planet Adventures' instructors guide their students at dive sites peppered across Clayoquot Sound and Barkley Sound, a UNESCO biosphere. During these expeditions, instructors and groups feast their eyes on jungles of aquatic plants and animals, including whales. Aside from open-water diving, the staff teaches specialty courses such as wreck diving, which lets divers explore shipwrecks or polish the hoods of sunken automobiles.
Based along the wave-lapped shores and lush topography of Tofino, Ocean Outfitters grants guests an intimate and informative exploration of majestic West Coast flora and fauna during environmentally responsible tours. With the salt-laced air tousling their hair, the company’s quintet of seasoned skippers pilots a fleet of meticulously maintained vessels about area waterways, letting loose their wisdom on the region’s wildlife and geology. Keels skim along the craggy, mist-laced coastline, granting guests a chance to snap scenic pictures or request autographs from whales whose songs have appeared on countless new-age albums. Ocean Outfitters' dedication to environmental stewardship is why the company strictly adheres to the guidelines for responsible whale watching, and supports local wildlife research and rescue programs through donations of a portion of its profits.
Big Bear Salmon Charters' Grady White 282 Sailfish, affectionately named Big Bear, is part of a fleet that ferries fishermen into the aquatic playground of trophy salmon and halibut. The quiet rumble of its twin 225 hp engines spreads across Ucluelet, a habitat filled with fish, whales, and more squid than an ink factory's payroll. Once in the water, guides use all-digital E-Series Raymarine electronics and sounders to track fish, and specialized rods await the familiar tugs of halibut and salmon at the ends of lines. The world-class team stows fish on salt ice before they clean and optionally smoke each catch. The crew also invites anglers to take breaks from fishing in their comfortable cabin, outfitted with an audio system spitting out groovy tunes. Additionally, Black Rock Oceanfront Resort partners with Big Bear Salmon Charters to provide accommodations and create on-land relaxation.