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.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's centre, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
A menagerie of abandoned cars, piled barrels, and pillboxes litter the ground at TNT Paintball, providing just enough cover for players to hide from their opponents and catch their breath before beginning their assaults. Open for drop-in games on weekends, the business hosts group matches that are moderated by trained referees on five distinct fields.
Adrena Line's trained guides lead individuals and families of adventure seekers through high-flying explorations of more than 100 acres of temperate West Coast forests. Each two-hour tour forges adrenalin bonds between guides and groups of up to 10 in a quest through treetop canopies of Sooke Hills, featuring revealing peeks into the secret lives of mountains and ocean. Proper footwear protects the bottoms of newly tattooed feet as they reach up to 60-kilometre-per-hour speeds on eight steel cable zip lines extending 150–1,000 ft., launching from platforms up to 150 ft. above the forest floor. ATVs transport guests to the top of the zip course with a 10-minute ride at the excursion's start and extreme swing dancing lessons on two suspension bridges break up constant zipping. Throughout each tour, treetop teachers regale guests with historical facts and tales about the local wildlife, ecology, and mail fraud regulations. Tours typically depart at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. but may leave at other times depending on schedule.
Kayaks were originally built by hunters hoping to sneak up on their prey. On A Paddle in the Park Kayaking’s guided tours, passengers use the boats for a similarly furtive purpose, sneaking up on wildlife such as harbour seals and mute swans—but nowadays, the goal is usually to snap candid pictures of the diverse flora and fauna.
Photography is encouraged on the scenic tours, which explore the archipelago of gulf islands near Sidney, British Columbia, surrounded by clear shallows, kelp gardens, and plentiful wildlife. The varied tours range from a sunset trip, which showcases views of Mount Baker, to a full-day tour that highlights impressive rock formations rather than the most common rock formation, a pebble stuck in a shoe's heel. Kayak rentals complement the tours, allowing for independent exploration, and lessons cover topics from paddling basics to self-rescue.
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.