Easter Weekend is always one of the busiest weekends for people going to Vancouver Island (or for folks on the Island to come to the Mainland). It's a four-day weekend in Canada, so people take the opportunity to travel. As of 8:00 this morning, there was already a one-sailing wait to board the ferry. I was chatting with a friend of mine last night about the BC Ferries, and he assumed the ferries were just little walk-on boats that sailed across to the Island. It's hard to explain to people just how large they are, so these pictures might give you some idea.
This is a picture of the ferry pulling into the ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay on the Mainland side of Georgia Strait. If you look at those little, tiny boats in the marina, they are all good-sized 20 to 30 foot boats, so it will give you an idea of the size of the ferry. This is one of the older vessels. The newer, larger ones like the "Coastal Renaissance" are almost like cruise ships.
Some of the ferries on the overnight runs do in fact have staterooms, and people come from all over the world to take this trip. On March 22, 2006 the "Queen of the North" sailed off course, ran aground and sank while going through the Inside Passage. Unfortunately, there were two loss of lives, but any sort of accident with the BC Ferries is a rare occurrence -- thank goodness.
BC Ferries now has three "C" class ships, "Coastal Renaissance", "Coastal Inspiration", and "Coastal Celebration". They have the capacity to take 1,650 passengers and 400 vehicles. There are five restaurants and coffee shops, gift shops, a video room, and computer carrels, children’s playrooms and observation decks. The food on the BC Ferries is great -- or maybe it just tastes that way, out there in the middle of the Georgia Strait. The clam chowder is the best -- anywhere -- and so are the fish and chips. Oh, and the hamburgers...
I have spent my life going back and forth between Vancouver Island on these ships, and I always love the trip. If you are ever in this part of the world, you must take a trip to Vancouver Island on the BC Ferries. I know you will enjoy it. And be prepared to wave at the seals on the rocks through Active Pass, because their favorite pastime is waving at the ferries.
Whatever your plans are this weekend, have a Happy Easter, everyone.