…and we’re sat at a ferry terminal waiting to go to an island.
No, we haven’t taken a massive wrong turn and ended up in Portsmouth to go back to the Isle of Wight (still confused the fuck out of Jo), but we’re actually at a ferry port in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, and we’re heading for Vancouver Island.
The ferry port is massive and – as far as I can tell – it has three docks for ferries; one to Nanaimo, one to the Gulf Islands (including Vancouver Island), and then a multitude of different routes to several different ports in BC. The cost of our trip is $75 (one way) for both of us and the SUV. That’s approximately £40 for a 1 hour 45 minute ferry journey in comfort on a massive boat. Take note Wightlink Ferries!
Once on the boat, for the first time in my life I feel myself becoming a snob.
A ferry snob.
The Spirit of Vancouver is 167.5m long, weighs 18,747.44 tonnes, and travels at a speed of 19.5knots (roughly) using 21,394bhp! It carries 470 cars and has a passenger and crew capacity of 2100, and to entertain all these people there are shops, cafes, a kids area with tv and toys and a private lounge for those wishing to pay $12 to sit up front and receive a complimentary paper and meal. It also took us all of 15mins to fully load the ferry and leave for Swartz Bay, making a mockery of the IOW’s services.
The journey lasts almost two hours, but the scenery is such that it flies past and you’re left wanting to go around the islands again. Crossing the Georgia Strait you can see the Gulf Islands through the mist ahead, and as you approach you can see heavily tree-lined hills which often rise to impressive heights.As the Spirit of Vancouver passes between the islands of Galliano and Mayne a bay opens up before us and the Pender and Salt Spring Islands’ present themselves.
Seals occasionally break the surface of the water, and my attention becomes caught between trying to spot them and gazing at some of the houses that peek through the trees and dot the shorelines of each island. (I urge you to check this one out – 1601 Treasure Crescent, $949,000).
A fishing trawler breezes past us and I can see several oil tankers in another bay, and I find myself completely unsurprised when I overhear someone nearby me comment that people who live in the Gulf Islands very seldom move to another city or area. The views are spectacular.
We disembark at Swartz Bay and it’s a 25mile drive south to Victoria.
It takes us almost an hour to get there through the traffic, and at the end of the hold-up we see a very glum-looking man watching his car being towed away as a policeman writes him a ticket.
Our first task in Victoria is to find somewhere to stay (we’re so unorganised), and the pamphlet Jo picked up on the boat recommended a place called Marketa’s B&B. We found it on Superior Street with very little trouble and were soon booked in.
Marketa was very friendly and it turned out she used to live 50miles away from us in the UK, along the coast in Brighton! And I feel that there must be an honoury mention for the guests’ lounge, complete with old style tv and VHS player surrounded by old tapes! Very vintage and rustic!
After putting our luggage in our room we strolled into town (which took under 5mins), but as it was late in the day everything was in the process of closing so we scouted around and loosely planned out our next day’s activities.
We found an old bank converted into a Scottish-themed bar… so that’s fish and chips in a Scottish pub, while booked into a B&B owned by a woman from Brighton. Who says the world isn’t a small place?
I feel I should mention the barmaids of the Bard and Banker. They wear kilts and most of them look like they’re auditioning for Hooters. It’s now my favourite bar in the world. Shame it’s 4500miles away!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my body clock is completely fritzed so I gotta hit the sack.
But only after I’ve jumped in the rooms’ jacuzzi!