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Alexa’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 04 Jun 2013

Location: Victoria, Canada

MapWell, it was two jam-packed weekends in a row, first the Swiftsure International Yacht Race, which was great fun watching the start of live and then the race-tracking map from the comfort of my warm living room. This last weekend it was the Oak Bay Tea Party, of which I primarily was interested in basking on the beach watching the quaintly awesome small-town air show.

First, Swiftsure. I'd been looking forward to this since I couldn't make it out here for it last year. I knew it was big, but I really didn't realize exactly how big, almost 200 sailboats! They dolled up the Inner Harbour perfectly by the Friday night before the race, which was the last of the sunshine for a few days. Turned out that it was also the last of my camera battery, so I don't have pictures of all those boats starting! Bummer. I'll have to do better for you next year.

Meanwhile, it is definitely worth checking out the video clip: http://2013.swiftsure.org/2013-start-video/. It is taken from Clover Point, where I was standing alternately cursing my camera and dreaming of being on one of those boats next year. The starting line is pretty much from the camera's placement out to the bow of the Navy ship, and there were four starts for the various classes of boats. When they pan away from the yachts and to the crowd, they're actually shooting the flags, which indicate the approaching start.

Then this last weekend was the Oak Bay Tea Party, Oak Bay being part of the greater Victoria area. The Tea Party takes place over the whole weekend with plenty of family friendly activities. I couldn't do both days, so as much as you all know I love parades, I opted to skip this one on the Saturday in favour of the air show on the Sunday. The weather gods agreed with me, raining on that parade but giving a great sunny day for the air show, which takes place at Willow's Beach. The air show was a perfect small-town type treat. It had a couple of rounds of parachutists, a stunt biplane, a couple of formation fliers, and a Navy rescue helicopter putting on a big rescue show.

I was particularly happy for the latter because there had also been one of those demonstrations after the start of the race the previous weekend. Unfortunately for me, I missed that because I was fully frozen solid after spending two hours out in the rain and wind admiring sailboats. When I couldn't feel my fingertips, I realized I couldn't wait for the Coast Guard to do their thing. Sigh.