Film enthusiast Roland Fernando entered the movie-rental industry more than 30 years ago, building Video Express into a movie emporium that carries hard-to-find and vintage films, independent releases, and blockbuster hits. Walls lined with blue neon tubes evoke a retro movie theatre, leading customers along shelves stocked with children's movies, dramas, horrors, comedies, documentaries, and Woody Allen's napping nook. The store also stocks video games for Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360, and offers one or two-day console rentals.
If there’s a whale breaching on the protected waters of the San Juan Islands, there’s a good chance a passenger on Mystic Sea Charters’ 100-foot vessel will see the splashy spectacle. The company’s five- to six-hour tours have an impressive track record when it comes to spotting the gargantuan mammals, introducing tour-goers to different species of whale up to 99% of the time. Onboard the ship, a naturalist divulges facts about ocean life as passengers watch for whales from the heated cabin or from the deck, which has 4-foot railings so guests can hold on if whales start singing and dancing to the hit song “Rock the Boat.” The company promises that voyagers will see at least one gray, orca, humpback, or minke whale, depending on the season. If not, they’ll receive a follow-up whale-watching tour for free.
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.
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.