A flight across the water

This article was published on August 3, 2014 and could contain information that has since changed or become out-of-date.
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Houses along the beach in Tsawwassen.
Houses along the beach in Tsawwassen.

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to take a short flight across the Strait of Georgia in a small Cessna 172 Skyhawk courtesy of my brother. Since it’s the long weekend, we left early to avoid the possibility of encountering too many other aerial enthusiasts from filling the airspace around Vancouver.

Flying in a single-engine aircraft is a very different experience from commercial aviation. There’s no security, no limits to what you can bring on, no line-ups, and you can use your phone and other electrical devices during take-off and landing. I did, however, get the traditional safety instructions, complete with the lifejacket in the little pouch underneath the seat.

Additional benefits include being faster than BC Ferries — 50 minutes, one-way, from Boundary Bay Airport in Delta to Qualicum Beach Airport on Vancouver Island as opposed to taking the ferry from Tsawwassen to Duke Point at 2 ½ hours one-way.

In the air, the ride at 4,500 feet is smooth and breathtaking. Once the initial fear of not being on the ground had gone away, I was out snapping photos as we ascended over Tsawwassen and Point Roberts. It really is amazing to see parts of the region from a different angle and you get an idea just how big (or small) everything really is. I also got to see how the smog just floats over Metro Vancouver.

The flight path we were cleared for took us south across Tsawwassen and Point Roberts, west towards Active Pass, and then north along the Gulf Islands and over Nanaimo to Qualicum Beach. The return trip had us follow the same route, but in reverse.

You can view my trip through the collection of photos available on Gallery.

Boundary Bay Airport Lower Mainland Parksville
Beach Silty Spirit of Vancouver Island


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