Ferry Advice - Port Angeles to Whistler

May 19th, 2010, 05:49 AM
  #1  
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Ferry Advice - Port Angeles to Whistler

As part of a 9 day trip to Seattle/Vancouver area, I am going to be travelling from Port Angeles to Whistler, and wanted some advice on the Ferry options. The day of travel will be on a Thursday (july 29) if that makes a difference. Travelling with my wife and two teens. I believe I am committed to mostly travelling by Ferry that day, going from PA to Victoria, and then crossing over to either Horshoe Bay or Vancouver. I have already reserved a spot on the 8:20 am ferry from PA to Victoria, and will arrive Victoria approx. 9:50 am. My question is, is it better to take the ferry from Departure Bay (Nanaimo) to Horshoe Bay, or to just take the ferry from Swarz Bay in Victoria to Tsawwassen? I would like to spend some time in Victoria, but it looks like if I took the ferry from Nanaimo, that would be about a 2 hour drive past Victoria. If I were to try and catch a 3 pm ferry, I would probaby have to leave Victoria by around noon. Otherwise, I could stay and catch a 2 or 3 pm ferry out of Swartz Bay, and have around 4 - 5 hours to site see in Victoria. Is the experience of having to drive through/past Vancouver to get to Whistler that painful to warrant the added drive up to Nanaimo?
russp3762 is offline  
May 19th, 2010, 06:39 AM
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My first question to you is why are you coming to Vancouver Island if your destination is Whistler? It sounds like you don't have any time to spend on the Island. Why don't you just drive from Seattle to Whistler. You will be spending your time on ferries. Please post again before we advise on your ferry options. For the amount of time you have it just doesn't make sense to come to the Island at this time.
traveller69 is offline  
May 19th, 2010, 07:16 AM
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traveller - my first two days of my trip, we are staying in Port Angeles visting the Olympic National Park. I know another option is to ferry from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island, and driving up from there - but coming from Kansas City, I thought the route taking the ferries across would be a fun experience and would provide some additional scenic views. Yes, I am not taking the most direct route - but figured sitting on the ferries for 90 minutes each would break up the trip, so it wouldn't be all driving and give us a different experience. Other then this "transition" day, we will be spending two days in PA, 3 days in Whistler area, 2 days in Vancouver, and 2 days in Seattle.
russp3762 is offline  
May 19th, 2010, 08:52 AM
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I understand your point about ferries, I enjoy the experience, too. That said, it does seem like to many destinations.

~Liz
elberko is online now  
May 19th, 2010, 02:15 PM
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Ok russp I understand what you want to do. I didn't know if you knew you could get to Whistler without the ferries. If that is the case certainly the most beautiful crossing is from Victoria (Swartz Bay) to Tsawwassen. You travel through the Islands and it is really beautiful. I would get the latest ferry that you can and still get you to Whistler in daylight as the rush hour in Vancouver is a bit hectic. It will be daylight until close to 9PM at then end of July. You will be traveling on a Thursday so there is a 4PM sailing. That would avoid a lot of the Vancouver traffic and still get you to Whistler before dark.
traveller69 is offline  
May 19th, 2010, 05:33 PM
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Thanks Traveller! I have booked two seperate reservations just to keep options open. I booked the 4 pm ferry from Swartz Bay that would arrive at Tsawwassem at 5:35 pm, and then I also have a reservation leaving Departure Bay at 5:20 pm, arriving at 7 pm at Horseshoe Bay. I posted a similar inquiry on the British Columbia forum, and a strong arguement was made to avoid Vancouver traffic and that Horseshoe would be the better option time wise. However, it sounds like you believe the view is significantly better going from Swartz Bay. If we do arrive at 5:30 near Vancouver, do you think that traffic will still be really bad?
russp3762 is offline  
May 19th, 2010, 05:52 PM
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The ferry from Swartz bay is much more scenic. arriving at Tsawwassen at 5:30 should be O.K. will still be rush hour, but you will be going in the opposite direction from the "rush". You will only have one lane going through the Deas island tunnel, so it may be a slow. It will take about 30-40 minutes to get to Vancouver and by that time the rush hour traffic heading north from Vancouver will be diminishing. It will be slow going over the lion's gate bridge but once you get to the upper levels hwy(hwy 1 I think) you should be fine.
leuk2 is offline  
May 19th, 2010, 07:16 PM
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russ There is no comparison between the two ferry crossings. You should definitely take Swartz Bay. By the time you desembark the ferry at Tsawwassen it will be going on to 6pm and as leuk says at that point you will be going against the traffic. By the time you get to the Lions Gate Bridge it should be quite clear. Thats why I suggested the 4pm sailing.
traveller69 is offline  
May 20th, 2010, 07:14 AM
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Thank you Traveller and leuk - I think our primary reason for taking the Ferries was for the experience and the views, so it sounds like the Swartz Bay option presents the best overall experience, even though it will probably result in a bit more traffic delays - I would guess we would be looking at arriving at Whistler around 8:30 or so taking this route, which would be fine with us.

Thanks again for you input!
russp3762 is offline  
May 20th, 2010, 07:48 AM
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russp - You are very welcome. I don't think you will have much of a problem with traffic at that time so just enjoy the ferry ride over. That route goes through the islands and it is really spectacular. There is one area (Active Pass) where it is very narrow and sometimes depending on the sailing you pass the BC ferry going in the other direction. If you are out on deck at that spot they do warn you to be ready for the ships horn blasts. So for someone from Kansas City I think it is a great experience. The crossing from Nanaimo is just basically on open water and there isn't really any scenery until you get closer to Horseshoe Bay.

Enjoy your visit!
traveller69 is offline  

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