BC Ferries – Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) to Nanaimo (Departure Bay).

“Remember to be at the bus stop by about 11:30 and catch 257 Horseshoe Bay express. Bus leaves from Georgia Street, cross Street is Granville”. My friend Simone had messaged me.

I’d been given pretty clear instructions yet after my flight from New York, and arriving at my hotel at around 3am – or 6am New York time – I was really tired. I was nervous I’d not find my way to this bus stop or worse still sleep through and miss it! Amazingly though, I managed to get up at a decent hour and grab some breakfast then caught an earlier bus for the 40 minute ride to Horseshoe Bay. I was heading to Vancouver Island to visit Simone and her family for a week and I was very excited.

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Horseshoe Bay, BC, Canada

Arriving early gave me a little extra time to relax in the town of Horseshoe Bay. Located in West Vancouver it has a small community of around 1000 people, it’s also the third busiest ferry port for BC Ferries giving it a lot of business from those passing through.

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Seagull eyeing off my chips!

It’s a quaint little town and being such a beautiful day, I grabbed some hot chips and a cider and headed down to the waterfront. The seagulls watched me, intently, eyeing off my chips.

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Hot chips and cider on the waterfront

To be honest, I’m wasn’t that fussed over the chips which I smothered in vinegar, but the New Zealand cider was a real treat – hey I’m on late afternoon time and on holidays!

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Feeding the gulls

They’re bold and nimble these gulls. I watch them hover above a man then dive in take chips from his hand. I headed back to the office to purchase my ticket which was CA$17.45 and hung around the departure area waiting to board.

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Queen of Cowichan arriving from Nanaimo

My ferry, Queen of Cowichan, arrived on time from Nanaimo and pretty soon the cars are loading up and the walk on passengers, myself included, were making their way on board. She is a decent sized ferry at 6,500 tonnes and carries up to 1500 passengers and crew.

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Departing Horseshoe Bay

The ferry set off at 12:45 for the 1hr 45min, 55 kilometre crossing to Nanaimo, leaving the small town of Horseshoe bay behind. As we departed, the captain informed us there had been whale sightings on the previous two crossings so everyone was excited in the hope we would see one.

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Crossing the Salish Sea between mainland Canada and Vancouver Island

I wandered around on deck, hoping for a whale sighting. It was windy outside and pretty cool but being such a clear day, the views of the snow capped mountains were spectacular and I remembered how much I love the Canadian scenery.

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Crossing the Salish Sea between mainland Canada and Vancouver Island
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‘Highway 1’ Between Mainland Canada and Vancouver Island

Unfortunately there was no whales to be seen so I headed back inside and wander around. There is a cafe and a self-serve restaurant and prices seemed quite reasonable. By this stage I’m thinking it might be wine time, but cant find any on board for sale. I later learn as the Ferry is part of Highway 1 across Canada, they don’t sell alcohol on board.

We arrived on time and after the unloading of cars, bikes and trikes, I walked off the ferry. It was a really nice trip, this [art of the world is so very scenic and I couldn’t wait to start seeing Vancouver Island, thank goodness I made that bus!

FreakyFlier Paid for the ticket independently.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Hehe those seagulls and chips! And did you have a Nanaimo bar? They’re delicious but so sweet!

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