I had a work day up in Vancouver. I finished up in the office at the end of the day just when rush hour traffic would be at its worst. The sun was out and the temperature was still nice so I figured I might delay my drive home for an hour or so and head to Stanley Park. It is a nice place to hang out, there is always plenty going on in the harbor and the floatplane departures might have factored in to my decision making.
There is a bit of an evening rush of departures but, with the days getting shorter and floatplane operations being a very visual thing, I figured they wouldn’t be going out too late if they were to be back before dark. I was actually pretty lucky as there was a wave of departures shortly after I got there and then, when I thought it had all wrapped up, another burst of flights headed out. Meanwhile, there were arrivals coming overhead for landing. It killed a bit of time and made for an easier drive home when I headed back south again.
I walked along the harbour shoreline in Victoria to go and see some of the floatplanes in operation. The planes have to take off and “land” in the outer area of the harbour so they are a bit away from the easiest spots to watch things from when they are most active. I saw a couple of planes making their approach. They came in through the entrance to the harbour before making the turn to line up for landing. A nice arc to final approach and then touching down to be at water taxi speed by the time the entered the restricted area of the harbour itself. Fun to watch and I could have spent plenty of time there on a sunny afternoon!
Harbour Air is the big player in the Victoria floatplane business. Most of their airframes were in standard colors but one of them was painted up in a nice Canadian Flag color scheme. I first saw it moored up against the jetty but later, when walking down near the water, it taxied out for departure. The takeoff run is a bit far out but I got some shots of it as it went on its way.
A few years ago we spent some time in Victoria on Vancouver Island. Victoria has a lot of floatplane activity and, at the time, an airline called West Coast Air was operating with a large fleet of Twin Otters. Since that time, West Coast was taken over by Harbour Air. Harbour Air is the dominant operator at Vancouver. However, while we were there, we saw only one Twin Otter. A check online seems to suggest that they have focused more on the Otters and Beavers and reduced the Twin Otter fleet. I assume they are not so economical for the type of operations they undertake but, if anyone has any more information about what happened, pleas let me know.