The BC Ferry:
In the beautiful
province of British Columbia
, we have a small amount of water separating our landmasses. That is to say, there is an island. Vancouver Island, as a matter of fact. Interestingly enough, a small tinge of it should belong to the United States. Then again, Alaska isn't exactly connected to American soil
. Lets call this diplomacy. Regardless, here's what you'll want to know. Departure points are Duke Point and Departure Bay, in Nanaimo, or Tsawassen as well as Horseshoe Bay, on the mainland. Victoria has the Swartz Bay route, but I've never taken it personally. I hear that the experience is roughly the same, though. Tickets run you up about $10 for foot passengers and with your average vehicle, it'll cost about $20-$30, depending on the number of people in the vehicle.
Back to these boats. Weighing in at about 6000 tonnes with a massive 19 knots as a traveling speed, running the Sunshine Coast, we have your average BC ferry. Each one can carry
about 300 vehicles and fewer than 800 passengers.
Like most travel boats, they are "fully stocked". A good majority of the BC fleet is equipped with arcades for our gaming pleasure. More often then not, these will be filled with kids (and on rare occasions, their parents). Be warned, not the greatest company
can be expected. People will pay more attention to their game than whomever they are stepping on.
Food is available, in one way or another. There is a cafeteria on each boat, but the line-ups can become horrifying. My advice is to go there first thing if you even feel hungry. They have a decent assortment of meals, including vegetarian cuisine
. If long line-ups and full meals aren't your thing, they have a snack bar. It may or may not be open for the full voyage. Regardless, you can grab chips, pop or candy bars at the vending machines.
Seating on these is almost always amazingly open
. You'll often be able to have a few spaces between you and the next person, if you so desire. This changes a bit in the holiday season, but only slightly. Rare have I ever been stuck in an uncomfortable situation, where I was forced to ask a woman that her children could kindly be a bit quieter.
If you get mildly seasick, you'll never get to sleep
on these ferries. Yes, they rock. Yes, they tilt. And yes, if you can get over that, the sleep is very nice. In fact, I find the rocking very soothing. Reminds me somewhat of being in a comfortable rocking chair
. With other people...
Not once in my entire ferry-riding career have I ever had something taken from me while I was asleep. This may be due to the fact that there is nowhere to run
. It also may not happen because people are decent human beings
. That fact keeps me happy, some days.
You won't be able to lie down, unfortunately. This is just something you'll have to deal with. People generally get upset if you move the seats (they come in groups of fiveish). So, you'll just have to curl into a ball of some sort or awkwardly lay across the space between two seats.
If you get to sleep, congratulations. You've got a good two hours before you need to wake up.
I bring many things with me for my trips
. A Gameboy
, books, pads of paper, pens, a chess set and usually a pillow. You can use the arcade. Or you can read the many booklets they have for free, if you desire. Personally, I know enough about where I live and where I'm going to not feel a great desire to have it rehashed.
If you don't want to bring something or buy something or read something, there is always the chance that you'll be able to strike up a conversation
with someone. People often get bored on a ferry and they might feel up for a chat.
If your ferry is leaking, be wary. Holes in boats
never turn out well. But they do have a nice sundeck which is pleasing, during the warmer weather.