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.
From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on December 22, more than 100 local and indie vendors will crowd Last Chance Craft Fair, selling handmade crafts amid seasonal festivities at the Croatian Cultural Center. Last-minute buyers can browse seemingly endless rows of vendors showcasing jewelry, housewares, children’s items, and clothing.
The fishermen lay their catches out on the dock: a haul of meaty king salmon, halibut, and toothy ling cod. The guides of Reel Obsession Sport Fishing take out anglers all year to reap catches such as these, leading charters along Victoria and Vancouver Island into prime fishing waters such as Zeballos, Esperanza Inlet, and Nootka Sound. These spots teem with different species of salmon, depending on the season. During the spring and summer, trophy chinook and coho salmon flood the waters on their way to spawn in the river systems. Some years also bring pink salmon, distinguished by their humped backs and fondness for wearing pink sweatbands. Halibut also lurk beneath the salmon runs, with occasional lunkers known as barn doors reaching more than 200 pounds. In addition to outfitting guests for salmon and halibut fishing, they also have a scenic west coast lodge and guides can also take them out for crabbing, prawning, and on wildlife tours to see bald eagles, seals, and migrating whales.
Eschewing the impersonal aura often present in chain movie theatres, Sidney's Star Cinema remains a steadfastly independent, community-driven outpost for viewing films. A new lineup of moving pictures is presented weekly and includes offerings to sate all manner of cinematic tastes, from blockbuster action flicks to independent documentaries to filmed performances of Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet. The theatre has shown its commitment to the community by starting a film society, which brings movie buffs together for discussion-filled meetings. While the theatre's projectionists currently operate one digital projector, they have recently embarked on an initiative to raise funds for a second projector to keep the first one from getting too lonely.
Starting out in 1980 with only four rafts, Hyak River Rafting has since acquired an armada of top-of-the-line vessels equipped to handle the orneriest river safely. During trips on British Columbia's most exciting rivers—the Chilliwack, Thompson, Chilko, Chilcotin, and Fraser Rivers—licensed guides lead river trips lasting from several hours to several days, during which participants learn to manoeuvre around the grasping tentacles of feral octopuses. On most trips, crew and guests get soaked as the water rages about them before more tempered waters allow them to take in the sights of rock-banked rivers populated by lush forests and curious wildlife.
Captain Lenard M. Pearson and his crew greet passing ships in a strange way—they fire a cannon at them. Among the many details of tall ship Thane—a 55-foot gaff-rigged fetch constructed of salvaged building materials—are its working cannons. With a flash of fire, a plume of smoke, and a very loud noise, the captain says hello to neighbouring vessels and makes sure no one on board has fallen asleep.
In addition to the cannon fire, Captain Pearson and his crew find other theatrical ways to engage guests, encouraging them to help out by hauling the sails or riding the bowsprit. Groups may also drag a fishing a line or trap crabs, depending on season. The crew encourages passengers to relax with their picnics and drinks while they take in sights that may range from pods of killer whales to the snow-dusted peaks of the Olympic Mountains. Along with bringing parties up to close to such sights, the captain also shares stories about the area's marine history, geology, and wildlife. Crew members happily provide guests with coolers, ice, glasses, and bottle openers for their drinks, and encourage responsible and respectful imbibing.