Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween on Gabriola

Under clear skies, Gabriola celebrated Halloween this evening - with bonfire, fireworks and its very own 'golden mile'.  For one night only, the tunnel (North Road's tree-canopy) attracted a constant stream of families driving at walking pace enjoying the spectacle of hundreds of carved pumpkins flickering in the dark. Our own offering joined a small, select group marking the start of the display.

For a short while, the line of traffic was vaguely reminiscent of that other 'golden mile' in north-west England. The difference?  In Blackpool, the illuminations don't get eaten by the deer!

Flying in the face of reason

We're always being told that flying from Vancouver is expensive - but it seems that's only if you start your flight in Vancouver. Take a look at this price comparison -  based on the same Air Canada flight from Vancouver to London Heathrow and back.....

The basic price - including taxes - is $1,126 for a return flight from YVR to Heathrow. That's $545 in fares and a massive $581 in taxes.

But we're also told there are great deals for flying out of Seattle, where the taxes are lower.... or are they? Let's have a look:

.....yes, that's a full $350 saving on the same flight if you make the journey to Seattle before boarding your Air Canada flight from YVR.  But just look - the taxes are only $6 less than flying from Vancouver - but the round trip fare has dropped to just $187!!!  Now far be it from me to ask why.....

Mind you, you don't have to look that far before you find similar "deals" for local flyers.  Have you noticed that Tofino Air's Silva Bay flights now continue to Nanaimo?  And that a flight from YVR to Silva Bay is now $82 + taxes?  

Not bad, you may think - but did you realise that if you stay on the same plane for the extra 15 minute flight into Nanaimo, you could save yourself nearly $20 each way? Even with the cost of a ferry ride, that's still a round trip saving of more than $30!!

Someone's taking us for a ride.........

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A visit to Seattle's Museum of Flight

Time to spare in Seattle?  Down opposite Boeing Field is the Museum of Flight - a great place to while away a few hours, with an awesome collection of aircraft from more than a century of aviation.

Mister Boeing's Airplane Company has recreated the original woodworking benches in the "Red Barn" on which the first production airplanes were handcrafted

Meanwhile, across the road are some of the icons of modern aviation - including the prototype 747 Jumbo Jet, Air Force One - the presidential aircraft used by Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, and one of the world's 18 remaining Concordes, donated to the museum by British Airways.

Reflected in the windows of the Museum's latest addition, the new space gallery (opening soon), this magnificent aircraft has lost none of its magic.

In the Personal Courage wing are fighters from World War I and World War II 

Ten fighter planes from World War II 
represent all the major combatants.

Iconic images at every turn - like this Lockheed Super Constellation of Trans Canada Air Lines

and the Douglas DC-2 of Trans World Airlines.

Just look at that for luxury - real curtains!

Among the 'flying' exhibits in the Great Hall is this lovely DC-3 of Alaska Airlines

And, not to be forgotten, the ubiquitous deHavilland Canada Beaver DHC-2. Designed as a bush plane, many were subsequently fitted with floats.  A museum piece, maybe,  but with more than 1,600 built between 1947 and 1967, it's amazing to think that there are hundreds still in daily service along Canada's coastline today.

Dozens of DHC-2 Beavers still ply the islands and inlets of the BC coast - a tribute to the rugged simplicity of the original design.

This Tofino Air Beaver flies regularly to and from Silva Bay on Gabriola.

Read more about this fascinating museum at