On our trip to Tofino, we were on an older ferry from BC Ferries. The Queen of New Vancouver was our ride in both directions. I am not an expert on BC Ferries but this boat clearly looked a lot older than the majority of the fleet. That’s because she is. All of her sister ships have been scrapped but she was refitted around 2007 for another ten to fifteen years. (Wikipedia is my friend.). I guess that means her days are numbered. I am not sure whether she is used regularly but I did hear that another ship was in maintenance. Maybe that is why she was in use. Anyway, here is the old girl. We rode on one of the newer ships a while later and they are definitely better equipped for the passengers. Maybe she still has some time to go though.
Our ferry ride to Swartz Bay was on one of BC Ferries larger boats. There were multiple decks to explore and a great view to watch passing by once we got in amongst the Gulf Islands. We also saw a few other ferries as we went. The ferry running the opposite service to ours passed us by as we made our way through one of the narrow passages between the islands. While not identical, it was a similar size to our boat.
The smaller islands also have service. Since they are not generating anything like the traffic that Vancouver to Victoria generates, the ferries are a lot smaller. We saw some docked up as we passed while others were making their own crossings. The waterways were pretty busy with ferry traffic for a November weekday. I wonder how many were tourists like us and how many were people going about their normal business.
To get to Victoria for our visit, we took the BC Ferries route from Tsawwassen. This route crosses some open water but then it weaves its way through the Gulf Islands. This makes for a really picturesque journey. On the day we crossed, it was a cloudy day but the beauty of the islands and the waterways between them was more than enough to compensate for the gloomy skies. Some of the passages are really narrow so you find yourself very close to the shore and looking at the houses and woodland areas along the water’s edge.
If you don’t mind being blown about a bit, standing out on the deck rewards you with great views. The only problem is you can only see to one side at a time. You need to nip through the boat to the other side periodically to see what is passing on that side. Not such a relaxing way to sightsee!