Thursday dawned and it was time to say goodbye to Thistledown House and Vancouver. We were heading to Vancouver Island and Victoria. As with our previous visit to Vancouver Island in October 2012, we took the BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Departure Bay, Nanaimo.
The ferry terminal is very easy to reach from North Vancouver as it is a short drive along the Trans-Canadian Highway, with it having its own exit. After check-in and paying the remainder of our fare (we had previously booked and paid our deposit before we left the UK), we joined the lines in the marshalling area.
Our ferry was Queen of Oak Bay, which we had seen the previous evening when we visited Horseshoe Bay. The layout of the ferry terminal means that the ferry is not clearly visible whilst waiting. Boarding was speedy with two lanes on the upper deck and two lanes on the lower deck loading simultaneously. We were soon on our way into Howe Sound.
Shortly after turning to pass round the south of Bowen Island, the ferry from there – Queen of Capilano – passed by heading for Horseshoe Bay.
The journey from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay is around 1 hour 40 minutes. Approach to Departure Bay is heralded by the sight of Brandon Islands.
At the Departure Bay terminal two ferries were moored awaiting their next duty, Queen of Cowichan and Bowen Queen.
All to soon we were approaching the left-hand berth for off-loading,
As we were close to the front, we did not wait long to drive off the ferry and head south from Nanaimo to Victoria.