Flying Canada's Largest SEAPLANE Airline!
Such a unique experience, taking off in a seaplane I've only ever done it once before. It don't matter if the engine conks out, we're gonna float anyway because we've got these bad boys. Welcome to the Vancouver Harbour flight centre, here in Vancouver, in Canada. It's the busiest seaplane port in Canada. And in the middle of Summer they have up to 150 flights a day coming or going from right on these docks behind me.
Today, we're going to be taking a ride with an airline that's based here called Harbour Air and they fly these little float planes out to the remote islands off the coast of British Columbia and we're going to be getting on board one and taking a trip to find out what it's like to fly on a floatplane here in BC. I'm really looking forward to this, let's go down and get on board. The Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre is the busiest water aerodrome in Canada, and is home to several floatplane airlines, the largest being Harbour Air.
[Clerk] Hi, how are you? Alright, so checked in for my little ride over to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, off the coast of BC. Very nice people here, very friendly. They have a little lounge, you can get a coffee. All included, sort of thing. Before you go and get on the flight. We're on a de Havilland Otter today, not a twin Otter, just an Otter. Which is a single engine variant of it. So, I am looking forward to that, never been on one of those before.
Should be a good flight, I'm looking forward to it. Aside from the Otters, Harbour Air operate Beavers, Twin Otters, and Cessna Caravans. [Airline staff] I'll just collect this one keep that one, okay? [Noel] Thank you [Airline staff] Come say hi after. [Noel] I will do, see you later.
Alright, here we go. Walking down to a dock to get on a plane. This is a unique experience, isn't it? (laughs) My ride over to Nanaimo today was this de Havilland Turbo Otter, delivered new to the US Army in 1960. In the 1990s she was converted to a floatplane, and fitted with the turboprop engine, eventually moving to Harbour Air in 2010 [Noel] Hey. [Crew member] Welcome aboard,
watch your head, watch your step, as you go in. [Aircrew] Morning. [Noel] Hey, how are you? [Aircrew] Good.
Right, so on board. I have to say, it's a very strange experience, being sitting on a plane, floating up and down and bobbing in the water. (laughs) Very unique. [PA Announcement] ... push the hatch outward and exit.
Headsets must be off during takeoff and landing. There is also a fire extinguisher beside the pilot. There are five exits in this Turbo Otter. The door you entered, and the one across the aisle are opened by lifting the handle up, and pushing the door outward. (Engine noise over the pilots' conversation) (Turboprop whine intensifies) (Engine roars as it gets up to speed) My first flight today took us West out of Vancouver to cross the Strait of Georgia to Nanaimo Flight time today was 21 minutes, cruising at 1,000 feet.
Harbour Air offer flights all across the BC coastal region, on their fleet of floatplanes. They even recently started an international flight down to Seattle, and also operate a seasonal flight to Kelowna as well. This is so bloody awesome, isn't it? Such a unique experience, taking off on a seaplane. I've only ever done it once before back in Florida, many years ago. And, it never gets old. Such a cool experience. The windows are like massive bubble windows, so you can see right outside, it's absolutely amazing, the view.
And the scenery here in Vancouver is just phenomenal. So, we've got about a 20 minute ride over to Nanaimo on the Vancouver Island just off the coast here. I'm going to enjoy every minute of this, I really am. It's so cool. So, we're cruising at just 1,000 feet above the water. Which, in a single engined aircraft is something that, of course, I would never do in the PA-28, or any land based aircraft for that reason.
But, then you have to get your mind into the mindset that, it doesn't matter if the engine conks out, we're going to float anyway. Because we've got these bad boys on the side of us. It's a very unique feeling. Being so low over the water.
And thinking, 'ah it's fine, we're not going to have any issues' Before too long, the town of Nanaimo came into view, and we started our approach into the harbour. Right, so welcome to Nanaimo on the island of Vancouver Island, here in BC. This little thing is so cool. It's just brought us all over here from downtown Vancouver. I've got a few hours now before I get on another one of those back to Vancouver so, shall we go and have a look around at what's here at Nanaimo. It's quite a pretty little place, this, Nanaimo.
Some really old buildings and stuff. The old courthouse up there. And other bits and pieces up and down. It's quite a nice little place, actually.
A complete contrast to Vancouver which is a massive bustling city, as beautiful as it is, and this is a little town square around here it's so cool that you're only a 20 minute ride away from this when you're in downtown Vancouver. It's amazing. I'm trying to find somewhere to go and eat. Look at that view over there. Wow. It's such an absolutely beautiful part of the world, this Nanaimo. Again, just like Vancouver, I'd never really thought of coming.
I never really knew what was here. I just always imagined it as a big sprawling metropolis of Vancouver and never even imagined there might be these beautiful little islands with pine forests, and lakes, and seaplanes, and boats, and stuff. It's just so cool, and I never expected it.
Maybe I'm just weird, because, of course Vancouver is famous for seaplanes but you never really imagine how much that is true until you come and visit it for yourself. But, just look at this, it's just stunning isn't it? Such a beautiful part of the world. I'm trying to find somewhere that sells Fish and Chips. I'm imagining they do Fish and Chips here.
I've got to find a Fish and Chip shop that's open, because it's Monday lunchtime, and it seems that most of them are shut. Because, apparently lunchtime isn't the time to have Fish and Chips. So, let's see if we can find somewhere that's actually going to sell us some Fish and Chips. And we can have some Vancouver Island Fish and Chips, fresh from the sea, over there. Ah ha, I think I might have found somewhere let's go and see if we can get some. Nanaimo's best Fish and Chips. That sounds good.
That sounds good for me. Right, let's see how we can get in. Down here I think. 'oooaaaah' look at that! Fish and Chips. That is absolutely amazing. You've got to do it, haven't you? Fresh Nanaimo fish (batter crunches) (sighs) Those Fish and Chips were really nice. Very full up now, so the flight back to Vancouver is probably going to be that little bit heavier.
So, I am going to head back down to the seaplane place, here on the harbour front and we'll try and get back across to Vancouver. Right, all checked in and ready to go back to Vancouver Ooh, airplane. I don't have sea legs at all and these docks that wobble as you walk on them, I don't think I could live in this part of the world.
(laughs) When they rely so heavily on boats and stuff. So, let's head down to where we need to be. I think it's odwn here. She said come down the dock into a little building, let's have a look.
Oh yeah, I remember this bit. Okay, cool. Maybe it's not this way. Hmm. Oh yes, I know where I need to be. Back up there. Back up there. That looks about right. I mean, as departure lounges go, it's not a bad one, really is it? Just smelling the fresh air here, as well, it's just incredible.
Amazing part of the world, this is. Right, planes here. Just arrived from Vancouver, and about another 10 minutes or so I think we'll be getting on board and getting back to Vancouver. It's another DHC-3 Otter today, a Turbo Otter. So, all good. [Noel] Hey, how are you? [Aircrew] Hi there, good how are you? [Noel] Good, thank you.
[Pilot] Welcome on board, my name's Nathan 20 minute flight over to downtown Vancouver Before we get going I've just got safety briefing video for everybody to watch it explains all about the aircraft and all the safety features on board. So, if I can have your attention for a few minutes while I play that and then we'll be right on our way [PA Announcement] Welcome aboard Harbour Air Seaplanes. We need to go over the safety features this de Havilland Turbine Otter (Engines get up to takeoff speed) My flight back to Vancouver, then, took us back East across the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Harbour. Flight time was 19 minutes, cruising at 500 feet. Right then, airborne from Nanaimo heading back to Vancouver.
This aircraft is just so blooming cool, isn't it? Incredible, and the fact that you can just sit here and have this massive view out of the window, as well. It's just amazing. One thing I forgot to mention on the way out, with this being both a plane and a boat, effectively. It's one of each. You know? It's not only a plane, it's a boat as well. You have to have a life vest on throughout the flight. Which is why... aside from the seatbelt, you've got your life vest. And the life vest is attached to the seat and if you need to get out of the plane in an emergency you just stand up and it rips away from the seat and you've got a life vest on you then, for when you get out into the water.
Hopefully that's not going to be needed today. As we make this 20 minute flight back across the strait into Vancouver Harbour. (floats splash down) My round trip to Nanaimo cost me £102 or around about $140, working out at a cost of £1.32 per mile Now, whilst that does sound pretty expensive, I actually thought it was pretty decent value for money for the short hop across to Vancouver Island and it's certainly a cool experience.
As always, I'd like to say a big thanks to my Patreons. You can join them at the link on the screen now for access to my Whatsapp group. Live weekly Zoom calls with me, and much more. [Noel] Thank you. Thanks very much. Oh, that weird feeling you get when you step off a boat onto dry land.
(sighs) I haven't got sea legs. You can tell that, can't you? Well here we are then, back at Vancouver, seaplane, floatplane hub whatever it's called, I can't remember now. But we're back here anyway, great couple of flights with Harbour Air over to Nanaimo and back, really enjoyed that having Fish and Chips over on Vancouver Island. Back in time for my tea now in Vancouver downtown itself. You should really check out Harbour Air they are fantastic, if ever you are in Vancouver.
And you want to get a ride on one of these things well, they're not too expensive. It's quite a nice, easy day out as well, from here in downtown Vancouver. So yeah, check them out. Harbour Air, and you can have a great ride on a floatplane too. But in the mean time, I'd love to hear what your thoughts are about Harbour Air, whether you'd come and have a ride on one of these cool, little floatplane things let me know down in the comments.
In the mean time, as always thanks for watching. Take care, and I'll see you on the next one. Bye for now.