Friday, April 10, 2009

A Trip On The BC Ferries

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.

28 comments:

Avril Fleur said...

My husband and I took one of the ferries over to Vancouver Island about 3 or 4 years ago. We went to Victoria and Nanaimo. Beautiful! On the way back to the mainland we saw a whale! Well...my husband saw a whale while I was in the washroom. lol! Darn bladder!

Patricia Torres said...

Happy Easter to you!!! Are you off to the islands?? It sounds lovely!! I've got family in Vancouver... so I'm surely planning a trip after reading all your posts!!

scarlethue said...

Now I want fish and chips. Yum.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Beautiful photos! Mike was from Seattle and we made many a ferry trip, and one of my favorite photos of us is on the deck of one going from Seattle to Bainbridge Island.

Wow, wish we'd done an overnighter on one of those lovely luxury ones though...never knew they existed!

Deb said...

looks like fun, love the seals, have a happy Easter!

Leslie: said...

We're going to have to do that trip one day in the summer - you know, the there & back without getting off thing.

And YES, readers, those ferries ARE ships!

The Bug said...

That looks like a lot of fun! How long of a trip is it?

Paula Slade said...

Your ferries are so much bigger and more elegant than the ones we used to take when we lived on Martha's Vineyard. Also the dining experience is vastly different! ;-) Hope you have a wonderful weekend and a happy holiday Jo!

Arley said...

Ferry.....any ferry we took in Boston was about the size of one of those little boats in your first picture. I would call that a cruse ship! I've never seen a ferry with 5 restaurants, a playroom for kids, or even a bathroom. Wow, must be nice. Count me in on a ride!

Lorna said...

Jo, you do good publicity for Vancouver. I am intrigued by those ferries!!
Sounds like a lovely experience.
:-)

by the way, the other night i made my own tempura cod: so so delicious.


~Lorna

TheChicGeek said...

Gorgeous pictures! You should be a tour guide, Jo :)
I think we Americans should adopt the 4-day Easter weekend, Yes, Most Definitely...LOL

Have a Wonderful and Perfect Holiday!
xox
Kelly aka TheChicGeek :)

DUTA said...

I'm not very happy with water or air travel. Always prefer land travel and think of trains as a grea invention.

jackc50 said...

what a great way to travel, so relaxing. have a wonderful easter and enjoy the days off...jack c

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Wow, you really do good PR work! Made me remember crossing the Cheasapeak Bay by ferry as a child. That was before the bridge/tunnel was constructed--long, long ago.

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

Jo, your talent for sales is remarkable... you've made BC Ferries sound so wonderful that you've actually made me want to take a ferry trip to the mainland -- oh! the luxury! Ha!

Have fun while you're on the island. Fingers crossed that the weather stays sunny and lovely!

A human kind of human said...

You must really love Vancouver and Vancouver Island. The way you always write about them makes me want to be there and experience it with you. Usually people become so used to the place where they live that they do not enjoy the beauty and exitement of their surroundings but you really do see and experience the uniqueness of your city and the island.

Veronica said...

Happy Easter Jo! Love ferry trips and overnight ones are the best - a 'mini cruise' is such fun with the excitement of a new place to visit in the morning! Your part of the world is so beautiful - and Lorna is right; your publicity for Vancouver is tops... you've certainly inspired us to want to visit. Enjoy your Easter holiday! Warm wishes to you, Vxx

Canarybird said...

I remember the ferry boat sailings to Vancouver from the old CPR dock in Nanaimo, when we sailed on the Princess Elaine and I have a painting by E.J.Hughes hanging here on my computer room wall in front of me of Nanaimo Harbour, just as I remember it when I was a girl. Going to Vancouver on the boat was a big trip then and we had to buy a new coat, wear white gloves, a straw hat, long white knee socks and black patent shoes. LOL! Sharon.

KathyB. said...

I love the Ferry rides, my husband and I took the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria on our honeymoon. Everyone should take that ferry ride, for the beauty alone!

mrsnesbitt said...

Wow! HUGE! We will be going on a teeny weeny ferry on June 7th to the Isle of Man! Wehey!

Happy Easter,
Dxx

Beyond the Nest said...

One of the things I now miss most about living in BC are the ferries! I thought I would never say that, with the waits and schedules to constantly have to work around. We lived in Powell River from April 03 to January 05 then Vancouver through August 06. Those ferry rides to and fro the island, Powell River or Vancouver were always the best. We could eat the good food you speak of (loved the clam chowder, too), read a book or the newspaper or just peer out the window or from the deck watching for seals, dolphins or the occasional whale. Since we were not in control of our arrival we found the trips so relaxing-almost like a mini-vacation. We lived a street up from the ferry terminal in Powell River and could watch the ferries come and go from our balcony and bedroom window. It was magical! Thanks for bringing back some great memories for me! Happy Easter!

Russell said...

Okay... I confess... I was the guy who had no idea how BIG the BC Ferries are!! Heh!!

My experience with ferries is limited to traveling with my mother and grandmother back in 1970 to visit an uncle in Vermont. We took a ferry across Lake Champlain. There were a couple of guys who took our money and we drove our car onto this boat.

I think there were about 10 other cars. The fellows put a chain across the boat deck and we went into a little sitting room. The crossing took, I think, 20 or 30 minutes. I don't remember for sure.

I just checked their current website and they now have boats that will take up to 50 cars. The BC Ferries, I think, can take over 500 cars at a time!

So... I sure enjoyed seeing these pictures! The BC Ferries go across ocean water and travel for a few hours -- a bit different than ferries a few cars across a lake...!

I am looking forward to riding one of these boats some day soon!

Carla said...

Oh wow! I would love to take a ride on a BC ferry. You live in a gorgeous gorgeous place!

Happy Easter, Jo.

Lover of Life said...

We went on one of the ferries last fall and we amazed at how large and nice they were. Can't wait to visit your beautiful island again......soon!

Jo said...

Avril, well, please come back, and I promise you will see a whale -- lots of them. :-)

Patricia, you must come to Vancouver. You will love it!

Scarlethue, yes, with salt and maple vinegar. :-)

Teri, there is also a wonderful ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria. I enjoy that one too.

Deb, Happy Easter to you too!

Leslie, yes! One nice summer's day. But remember -- there's no beer. LOL.

The Bug, it takes about two hours, and it's a wonderful trip.

Paula, Happy Easter, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

Arley, yes, it's very easy to get lost on one of those stips. They are big.

Lorna, tempura cod! Yum! Send me the recipe. :-)

Kelly, I didn't realize you folks did not have a four-day weekend too. Goodness! Happy Easter. :-)

DUTA, I absolutely despise flying, and I wish I could go everywhere by train. LOL

Jackc50, you have a wonderful weekend too, and Happy Easter.

Kathy, Cheasapeak Bay is one of the places I have always wanted to see.

Kimber, *heh*. The new "C" class ferries are gorgeous, aren't they?

A Human Kind of Human, yes, I tend to get "used" to my surroundings too, and then I look at it again with new eyes.

Veronica, next year will be the Winter Olympics here in Vancouver. Perhaps you should pop over to Vancouver for a visit then. Vancouver will be rolling out the red carpet.

Sharon, oh, gosh, yes, I remember the Princess Elaine and the Princess Patricia. They were gorgeous ships, weren't they? And yes, I remember having to "dress up" to go on those ships. :-)

Kathy, yes! The ships are much nicer now, but the scenery is still the same -- gorgeous!

Denise, I would LOVE to go to the Isle of Man. Have a wonderful time!

Beyond the Nest, I lived in Powell River for a few months, too, and I could see the ferries as well. Powell River is beautiful (!) but it was just a bit too isolated for me at that time. It is the most beautiful part of British Columbia along that coast, though. Gorgeous.

Russell, the only small ferry I have ever been on is the one to Bowen Island. It's teeny compared to the big ferries, but it's just as much fun. The big ones go across the Strait of Georgia, and you will see lots of whales and seals -- but no ice. LOL

Carla, we do indeed live in a gorgeous place, and we take it for granted sometimes.

Jo said...

LoverOfLife, you took a trip on the BC Ferries? Wow! It's a wonderful trip, isn't it?

CTVicky said...

I would absolutely love to go to Vancouver Island. My boyfriend told me about the place a few months ago. It sounds like such a magical place, teeming with life. The ferries look lovely.

CTVicky

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