Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Travel: North to Nanaimo

We set out on one of our famous spur-of-the-moment road  trips last week, heading north to explore parts of Canada’s Vancouver Island.  We’d spent far too much time at home – it was time to sneak in a brief summer road trip and what better way to do it than on the water!

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We set our direction late Saturday and by Sunday  afternoon we were on the road heading some 130 miles north of  our Kirkland home, crossing the border into British Columbia and hopping the ferry from the mainland’s Tsawwassen to Nanaimo on the island’s east coast.

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Leaving Tsawwassen ferry terminal

We could have taken the passenger only Victoria Clipper from Seattle to Victoria but would have then needed to rent a car to see as much of the island as we planned to visit.

Or we could have taken the Washington State car/passenger ferry from Anacortes which would have deposited us in Sydney, B.C., also on the island's east coast. 

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But we were headed to Nanaimo – a bit further north; our gateway to the Pacific Rim Highway – the route we would take to the island’s reputedly wet, sometimes wild, west coast. The ferry was not inexpensive – the fare for the car and two passengers was $82.55. We'd also paid an additional non-refundable $18.50 to make a reservation, assuring ourselves of a spot on the gigantic boat. Not only did we not need to worry about getting on the ferry, we found ourselves the first car in line!  Now, how often does that happen?

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On the just more than two hour ferry ride, we paVancouverIs2013 012ssed a gathering of fishing boats, saw a stunning sunset and then watched that always amazing way ferries glide into their terminals; this one some eight kilometers outside Nanaimo.

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If you are in the United States or Canada, you are probably thinking that name, Nanaimo (na-NYE-moe, by the way) sounds familiar.  You recognize it as dessert bars – yes, Nanaimo Bars are named for this town. But there is so much more here than a famous confectionery creation! Come back next Tuesday when we’ll show you  “Nanaimo: Beyond the Bar”.

If You Go:

Map picture

B.C. Ferries:   www.bcferries.com

British Columbia tourism information:  www.hellobc.com


  1. Jackie and Joel,

    WISH I could be there with you, sailing along to such breathtaking shores, sienna coloured skies and deep blue seas! Thanks for sharing the magic!


    1. Oh Poppy, I think you would have loved this ferry - it reminded us of our favorite way to travel when in Greece: by ferry.

  2. I used to live just 5 minutes away from the Horseshoe Bay ferry - which links to Nanaimo. I do so miss the ocean and every time I get on a ferry I feel like I'm going off on a holiday. Hope you have good weather on your trip.
    We stayed in an interesting B&B on the water just north of Telegraph Cove - wouldn't be hard to find on Google. I remember enjoying the ambiance of the place should you make it that far north.

    1. We agree with that holiday/travel feeling you get when you board a ferry. We had wonderful weather - hit just the right window. Came home last week, so will put your B&B recommendation on the futures list for next year! Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Jackie, how ironic! I still have to finish writing my post on the side trip my step father took me on to Vancouver Island in 1984. Your post brought so many great memories with the pictures. Thank you! :)

    1. I am looking forward to reading your post, Mike. Stay tuned for more from the island on this blog as well. Thanks for your visit!


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