Climb onto the driver's seat of an all-terrain vehicle and set out on a bounding exploration of the Callaghan Valley with the Call of the Wild tour. With one of Canadian All Terrain Adventures' experienced guides leading the way, guests will traverse the single-track terrain, enjoying sights such as the Northair gold-mine site, where the ghosts of ore deposits still roam. The valley is also haunted by the spirit of the 2010 Winter Olympics, which hosted its Nordic events among the alpine environs, waterfalls, and lookouts. Tours leave at 9 a.m.; shuttle transportation to and from the valley is provided. Together with 25 minutes of shuttle time each way, the journey lasts about three hours.
While man has not yet mastered a bird's ability to fly, we can approximate their effortless motion and unrivalled views through the glider airplane. Nestled in the Alberni Valley, the Vancouver Island Soaring Centre leads passengers on elevated journeys across the mountainous natural scenery. The VISC's fleet of PW-6U and PW-5 Smyk gliders are made of composite materials, making them light and ideal for sneaking up on cumulonimbus in the morning while they are still busy gluing on fresh cotton balls. In a Piper Pawnee plane, a pilot certified by Transport Canada leads each flight to a height of 2,000?6,000 feet before releasing the glider into the blue expanse. A separate certified pilot directs the craft from the back seat as the craft is kept aloft by thermal energy. Vancouver Island Soaring Centre can also record each blissful flying experience onto a take-home USB drive.
A waterfall surges into a subterranean river. Towering peaks dotted with evergreen trees loom on a distant shore. A fire pit billows wood smoke into the sky. At Horne Lake, guides spend each day connecting visitors with Qualicum Beach's natural splendour. Certified cave guides also lead a series of excursions through the natural majesty of Horne Lake Caverns, where a network of rocky passageways wind around a subterranean river and gleaming crystal compositions reach up to four stories tall under soaring gallery ceilings. They also conduct nature-based leadership programs such as team building and ropes courses.
• For $39, you get one admission to a 2.5-hour bear-watching tour (up to a $79 value, including a $5 fuel charge). • For $42, you get one admission to a 2.5-hour whale-watching tour (up to an $84 value, including a $5 fuel charge). • For $55, you get one admission to a 6-hour tour of Hot Springs Cove with whale watching (up to a $110 value, including a $5 fuel charge).
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 2?4 hours
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Whale Watching Tours
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Water whispers beneath the inflatable hull of the 11-passenger Zodiac as it cruises quickly through Ucluelet's inlets and bays. The low hull provides passengers a uniquely intimate encounter with the cool waters' many species of wildlife, including whales, porpoises, seals, and sea lions. But tour-goers should also keep an eye on the shoreline for bears and otters, and in the skies for bald eagles. Throughout the tour, the captain provides insight into this natural world and the history of human habitations, such as the arrival of the earliest settlers and the appointment of the first bear member of the Canadian Parliament.
Drifting lazily in the Inner Harbour Boat Basin, Aquamarine Adventures' Float House serves as the launching pad for summer whale-watching expeditions and year-round fishing charters. Seasoned docents lead
guests out to the sea to scope humpback and grey whales amid splendid Barkley Sound seascapes, which also feature indigenous seals, otters, and eagles posing for portraits as high-school mascots. Under the auspices of professional fishing guides, anglers can also take to the waters in a 38-foot luxury sport-fishing yacht to plumb the depths for salmon and halibut year-round.