Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Inner Harbour By Water - Updated Google Earth Map

Robyn glides in front of The Empress Hotel. Hard to believe it is December huh?

Ever since we started kayaking we have wanted to spend some time exploring the Victoria Inner Harbour as we feel it is such a special place. Where do you get to see the world famous Empress Hotel, the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, and one of the busiest float plane ports in the world all within your field of view? 

We launched from the Ocean River dock (thanks guys) at 11:15am under cloudy skies but the water was absolutely dead flat and no wind at all. One of our quests today was to visit a local Inukshuk and share some knowledge with him. I also wanted to watch the Dehavilland Twin Otters landing and taking off right next to where we were paddling as I have a special interest in these wonderful aviation workhorses.

After passing under the "Blue Bridge" our timing was perfect to see a West Coast Air 300 Series Twin Otter taxiing out for take-off. I am involved in the the Viking Air 400 Series Twin Otter build and seeing this amazing aircraft fly and my contribution to the new program made me feel proud.

The Geocache hunter tracks down Inukshuk
Our next stop was Colvile Island, home of the Inukshuk and keeper of a Geocache. Landing on the island was a bit of a challenge as there really wasn't a beach so after circumnavigating the island I picked a spot where I could get out of my boat while Robyn took pictures of my visit. To my surprise the island was almost completely covered with Canada Goose squat and my trek to the wise one was very slippery. As promised by the cache information, this Inukshuk was wearing a backpack and the cache was inside it. Very cool!

I signed the log book noting his last visit was in September. Next time you paddle by the island take a close look at the Inukshuk and what he is wearing. As I started my trek back to where my kayak "was", Robyn was gently nudging my ride back to the island as it decided to gently glide away on it's own. I kinda thought this would happen but I knew Robyn would look after her for me.

We made our way over to the West Bay Marina to check out the RV park and boat launch for future weekend adventures. Most of the waterfront sites were full and why not with such a spectacular view of the inner harbour. If you decide to stay here it is an easy 20 minute stroll to the inner harbour or you can take the water taxis when they are running.

Being a Sunday, the float plane traffic wasn't very busy neither was the pleasure craft traffic entering the harbour. We scanned the skies for any aircraft on approach and none of the white strobe lights were on so we crossed the harbour entrance over to the Coast Guard facility and paddled to Fisherman's Wharf to check out some of the house boats and floating fast food facilities. One in particular had a "Paddle Through" window which we thought was pretty neat. I can only imagine how busy it must be in the summer.

Rounding Laurel Point we made our way into James Bay and past The Undersea Gardens. Here "we" were tourist photo central but we had amazing views ourselves of The Empress. We paddled our way back to Ocean River checking out the Flying Otter Grill and one cool paint job on a Turbo Otter decked out in the Jr. "A" Victoria Royals hockey club colors.

Did I mention that I fly the blimp at the Royals hockey games???

Another great day on the water and our first time paddling on consecutive days only today....... I didn't use my rudder :-). I am continuing my self taught process of using GPS Visualizer and managed to figure out the speed colourization for our track today. Update: Dec. 6th Well, I managed to figure out some of the editing features in GPS Visual with Google Earth and you will see below our direction, distance and a few reference points that I have added.

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