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.
The nature enthusiasts at West Coast Outdoor Adventure Rentals supply sportsmen with Hobie kayaks and stand-up paddleboards to explore the protected waters of the Jordan River, Sombrio Beach, and Strait of Juan de Fuca. Needing no prior experience, single explorers or duos propel their vessels with paddles or fully adjustable kayak pedal systems, which leave hands free for photographing scenery, fishing, or manning the onboard crepe stations. Highlights include wildlife encounters with seals, otters, and eagles.
The pilots of Island Express Air ply the skies above the West Coast, armed with years of training and the latest XM satellite GPS technology. They nimbly manoeuvre compact aircraft to Abbotsford, Victoria, Tofino, Nanaimo, and Vancouver South, flying low to provide incredibly scenic views. They lend their services for chartered flights and also run regular routes for the frequent business traveller.
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.
The instructors at Rockfish Divers love scuba diving and sharing their passion with others. But they also realize that much of the appeal of scubaing is seeing the amazing natural sites. That's why the team teaches its students environmentally friendly behaviours, such as how not to upset delicate sealife and why pouring sugar into the sea doesn't make it freshwater. Through PADI open-water diving courses, chartered diving trips, and snorkeling, Rockfish Divers provides adventurers with a great way to see a different side of Victoria.