|Spotting in Parksville Qualicum Beach|
A spotter, by British definition, is one who looks for or observes a particular thing as a hobby or job. Aviation and Marine Spotters have been around for decades but they were known as "people who like to watch specific things". Slowly, spotting is catching on with all ages in every industry from aviation to marine to vehicles to even animals such as birds and whales.
Spotting is something that can be done all year long in any kind of weather. Spotting can be done with something as simple as a camera on a mobile phone to a top of the line camera. The main thing about spotting is location, location, location. Also, remember to abide by the local bylaws and don't go on to property without permission unless it's public property.
The Parksville / Qualicum Beach area is perfect for aviation spotting, marine spotting, classic vehicle spotting and sometimes depending on the time of year, even whale spotting (the old term being whale watching). With Mount Arrowsmith to the west and the coastal mountains on the mainland to the east, you are bound to get some great pictures regardless of where you are in the area.
The Parksville / Qualicum Beach area is great for aviation spotters because it's in between the Qualicum Beach Airport which has helicopter charters and regularly scheduled flights arriving or departing pretty much every hour and any flights to or from places along the west coast will fly over the strait. Even flights headed to or from Alaska and almost every country in Asia will pass over the strait.
If you are unfamiliar with the area, ask the local residents where they think the best place would be to set up your photography gear, or you can go to the Community Beach. Just be careful not to take pictures of people without their permission first.
Nanoose Bay (south of Parksville) is a naval training base. Sometimes you can get lucky and spot a boat as small as a Zodiak or a ship like a U.S Navy Aircraft Carrier or even a submarine in the bay.
While spotting in the Parksville / Qualicum Beach / Nanoose Bay areas, if you have a broadband scanner, be sure to turn it on and let it scan every frequency. You will pick up pilots in the area, marine traffic and even the air traffic controllers based at Vancouver International Airport. It also helps to listen to the weather frequencies so you know what kind of weather is coming at you. The last thing you need is to be caught in some bad weather.
Contrary to popular belief, scanners ARE NOT illegal anywhere in Canada providing you can not broadcast to other people (communicate) on them. That was told to me by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer when i asked if scanners are illegal anywhere in Canada. So don't be scared to pull one out and start listening in.
There is never a shortage of air traffic and marine traffic in the area. You will definitely spot something that will spark your interest. Abide by the laws and bylaws. Be careful and happy spotting everyone!
I have attached some pictures that I took when I was spotting down by the beach in Parksville on July 25, 2018. The camera I used was a Nikon D3100 with a 300mm lens.
Posted By: Chris Ritchie on Aug 3, 2018