The premise of this book is that I visited the southern part of Vancouver Island and 6 of the Gulf Islands on foot. I caught buses in the places where they were available and took ferries on certain routes between islands. Foot passengers don’t have to book ahead on BC Ferries and are allowed on to the boat before the cars. This book is for people who don’t drive cars or ride bicycles.
My route was as follows:
Canada Line Skytrain to Bridgeport station.
Bus 620 from Bridgeport to Tsawwassen, a journey of 35 minutes.
The Ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay takes 100 minutes.
The bus number 70 was waiting to the right of the ferry terminal to take people into downtown Victoria via Sidney. This journey took 30 minutes, but the return took 60 minutes. I caught the bus back to Swartz Bay from the stops between the Royal BC Museum and the BC Parliament building.
The ferry from Swartz Bay takes 35 minutes to reach Fulford Harbour on Saltspring Island. The Bus Number 2 waits for the ferry and takes people to Ganges, which is the central hub of Saltspring Island. From here buses run to the other ferry terminals on Saltspring Island at Long Harbour and Vesuvius, where ferries cross to Crofton on Vancouver Island.
The ferry from Long Harbour goes to Tsawwassen via North Pender Island (Otter Bay), Mayne Island (Village Bay) and Galiano Island (Sturdies Bay), taking two hours to get to Galiano, which is where I disembarked.
After visiting Galiano, where there is no bus service, I caught the ferry from Galiano to Otter Bay on North Pender Island via Mayne Island, a journey of 1 hour.
My hotel on South Pender Island had a shuttle bus, which picked me up and dropped me off at the ferry terminal.
After Pender Island, I was scheduled to return to Vancouver Island and catch a bus from Victoria to Nanaimo. However, this bus was cancelled so I had to make a ferry detour from Swartz Bay back to Tsawwassen and then over to Duke Point near Nanaimo.
The ferry from Otter Bay to Swartz Bay took just over 40 minutes and you don’t have to buy a ticket for this ferry.
The ferry from Tsawassen to Duke Point takes two hours.
In Nanaimo, there are two small ferry services in the harbour, which are not operated by BC Ferries. These ferries go to Protection Island and Newcastle Island with a journey time of 10 minutes.
The ferry from Nanaimo to Descanso Bay on Gabriola Island takes 20 minutes. Gabriola Island has the GERTIE bus which goes around the whole island a few times a day and is scheduled to meet the ferry, however the ferry is very often delayed, but the bus will meet the late afternoon ferry, regardless of how delayed it is. When returning from Gabriola Island, there is no need to buy a ticket.
From Nanaimo, I caught the Tofino Bus from the bus station at the Departure Bay ferry terminal to Tofino, and then to Ucluelet and finally back to Parksville where I caught a different bus up to Campbell River.
At Campbell River, I caught the ferry to Quadra Island, a journey of 15 minutes. Again there is no need to pay on the return journey.