This was a road trip we’d been putting off all summer. Mostly because of logistics. Do we rent a car in Vancouver and take a ferry to the island? Do we catch a seaplane and rent a car on the island? Do we take the ferry over and rent a car on the other side? For some reason planning, this little adventure seemed difficult. In the end, we opted for rental in Vancouver and to drive onto the ferry.
I also knew this would probably be our last trip to Vancouver Island for a very long time… now that Papa has passed on. This made the trip rather bittersweet.
Logistically, driving to the island is rather easy. There are two ferry terminals on the mainland that feed the island: Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen. Both go to Naniamo and Tsawwassen goes to Victoria. You can reserve your spot online on the BC Ferries website for a fee; or cross your fingers, head over to the terminal, and hope you’ll make it on the ferry. One of my co-workers had no trouble with the second option. On the day we travelled, only reserved passengers made it on the ferry. Everyone else had to wait.
Horseshoe Bay is the closest to downtown Vancouver but it is also the busiest. We did the 30-minute drive to Tsawwassen and the park-car-get-coffee-play-in-park-wait with everyone else. It’s not so bad and the coffee is rather good (from Salt Spring Island). At least they have something for people to do while waiting. I had visions of waiting for endless minutes with an impatient-hungry-how-much-longer child.
Once on the boat, there is plenty to do, see and enjoy. And, if you’re lucky you’ll see orcas or a dolphin or two.