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Trip 063 - August of 2013

Boundary Bay to Port Hardy

Flight in a Cessna 172

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We used to fly a Cessna 172 recreationally out of Boundary Bay airport (CZBB) located in Delta, British Columbia. Here is a story about our most memorable flight from Boundary Bay to Port Hardy (CYZT) via Sechelt (CAP3), which took place in August of 2013. Port Hardy is located on the Northern Vancouver Island.

43. It became clear that we would have to spend the night in Port Hardy. Fortunately, this is not a bad place to be stuck in. Located close to the Northern end of Vancouver Island, Port Hardy is home to 4,000 people (thank you, Wiki) and boasts many hotels serving numerous tourists who come to experience the wilderness of British Columbia. We locked the plane, walked out of the aerodrome, and looked back.

Outside View of Port Hardy Airport (CYZT)

44. Follow this road, and you'll see the hotel in ten minutes, told us a helpful local.

Road from Airport Port Hardy British Columbia Canada

45. Sure enough, ten minutes later there it was - Airport Inn, complete with a liquor store and a Japanese restaurant on premises. The lady at the reception was very friendly, and with regret informed us that, because there would be a ferry tomorrow, they had no rooms available. She then called other hotels and found a room, but said we would need a cab to get there, so she called for a cab and said that the wait time would be about twenty minutes. Ten minutes later the phone rang, she talked to someone, hanged up, and then said that she received a cancellation, so would we be interested in staying here tonight. Yes, please!

Airport Inn Port Hardy BC Canada

46. After such an eventful day, the grilled salmon from the Japanese restaurant tasted great, and did not feel as big as it looked.

Grilled Salmon Japanese Restaurant Inside Airport Inn Port Hardy BC Canada

47. Airport Inn turned out to be a typical small hotel, quite clean, fairly modern, and with several tasteful pieces of art in the public area.

Art Inside Airport Inn Port Hardy BC Canada

48. We went to bed about 10 PM feeling very, very tired, and hoping to sleep until about 8 AM. Yet, woke up at three in the morning.

Photo of a Room in Airport Inn Port Hardy British Columbia Canada

49. Ok, the plan is as follows: go to the airport and take off the minute pilots without a night rating are allowed to fly: thirty minutes before sunrise. Here is Port Hardy airport inside.

Inside Port Hardy Airport (CYZT) Northern Vancouver Island BC Canada

50. We did take off 30 minutes before sunrise, at about 0540 hrs. We tried to beat the fog, which usually forms in this area in the morning. The first ten minutes or so went well, but then the fog appeared below the aircraft, and started to obscure the ground. So, we returned back yet again, and started waiting for the clouds to clear. Took a photo of this DeHavilland Otter (C-FITS) seaplane of Pacific Coastal Airlines.

DeHavilland Otter Seaplane Port Hardy Airport (CYZT)

51. By about 11 AM, the clouds finally lifted up, and we started getting ready to depart Port Hardy for the third time. Tried lifting up the airplane's seat which we reclined all the way back to rest before the flight, and...the seat won't move! Ok, no big deal, because this is Port Hardy, where everything a stranded pilot needs is just around the corner. Pacific Coastal's repair facility happened to be a hundred meters away, and the mechanics agreed to fix the seat for a small charge. Here is our plane inside the hangar, with the front seat removed.

Pacific Coastal Airlines Hangar Port Hardy Airport (CYZT)

52. The mechanics turned out to be pleasant guys, and also knew their way around a broken seat. As for the payment...the taller mechanic and us drove to the liquor store attached to the hotel where we stayed last night, and we bought him a case of beer. He was very grateful.

Mechanics Repairing a Cessna-172 Seat

53. Also in the repair hangar there were these retired flying boats - Grumman Goose.

Pacific Coastal Airlines Grumman Goose

54. Took off again around 12:30 PM. This time without having to come back.

55. These are Discovery Islands, with Marina Island in the foreground.

Marina Island - Discovery Islands British Columbia Canada

56. To the right, beyond Hernando Island right below us, is the already familiar Savary (the boomerang) Island.

Hernando Island BC Canada

57. Here comes Vancouver.

Metro Vancouver Seen from the Air

58. Downtown Vancouver in the foreground, much of the rest of the city of Vancouver in the middle of the frame, and, in the background, is the neighbouring municipality - the city of Burnaby.

Vancouver and Burnaby BC Seen from the Air

59. Fraser River separates Vancouver from the city of Richmond, which borders Vancouver on the South (right side of the photo below).

Metro Vancouver British Columbia Canada

60. YVR tower directed us to cross the threshold of Runway 26 en route to Boundary Bay airport, so here we are above that threshold, with Vancouver International Airport below us.

Flying above YVR - Vancouver International Airport

61. A British Airways Boeing 747 has just landed on Runway 26 Right.

British Airways Boeing 747 After Landing at YVR - Vancouver International Airport

62. One more look at the Vancouver International.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

63. The last photo before landing at Boundary Bay about two hours after the takeoff in Port Hardy.

There have been other memorable flights, but so many adventures at once happened only during the flight to Port Hardy.

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