Vancouver Island Ferry

Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 10:35 AM
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Vancouver Island Ferry

There is a ferry route shown on my BC map that goes from Brentwood Bay on the Saanich Penninsula to Mill Bay.

Is this a car ferry? If so, is it more efficient to take this rather than driving down Rt 17 to pick up Rt 1 to head towards Nanaimo?
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Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 11:10 AM
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Yes, it is a car ferry. More efficient? It's hard to say and depends on where you're starting from. It sounds like you might be starting from Sidney way.

Pros:
- It bypasses the Malahat part of the highway and is a pleasant, short ride.
- If there's an accident on the Malahat, it can be blocked for hours. You'd miss all that.
- The dock is in a picturesque bay so it's not a horrible place to wait.
- Sitting on a ferry is a nice break if you're doing a lot of driving.
- Can be safer if there is fog or ice on the Malahat.

Cons:
- It bypasses the Malahat part of the highway which means you miss that scenery.
- There have been times the ferry hasn't run, though I haven't heard of this lately.
- You have to sit and wait in a ferry line up.

That said, I usually just take the highway. For me, it would depend on where I was going, where I was starting from and what time of year it was.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 10:37 PM
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The highway route is the most efficient way to go. If you have lots of time to burn than by all means take the ferry for a relaxed and pretty trip but it will take you much longer than the highway.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 08:15 AM
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Thanks for the comments April and Stanbr.

We will be coming from Friday Harbor to Sidney and heading to Tofino on a Monday in August. So from what you've said, driving does appear to be our best bet.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 08:24 AM
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Oops! Forgot to ask another question.

I don't have a very detailed VI map yet, but going by the one I have, is this the best route from Sidney to Rt 1?

Rt 17 to McKenzie to Rt 1 or is there another "fool-proof or tourist proof" shortcut?

As I said this will be a Monday in August. I think the ferry arrives in Sidney around 11 am.

Thanks again for any suggestions.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 10:28 AM
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I don't know that it saves time but I hate to backtrack. I prefer to turn off at Royal Oak. Turn right off the ramp and follow the road through the lights onto Wilkinson Road, continue straight onto Helmcken Road past the hospital, then get ready to turn right onto the highway.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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Mon Aug 6 is B.C. Day and a very busy day on the ferries and roads. Is that the Mon you're referrig to? I'll leave it to the Van Isl experts to help you here, but I'd go very early on either the ferry or highway to try to beat some of the crowds that day.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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Oh dear...another oops.

We are actually going to Friday Harbor on Monday and arriving in Sidney on a Thursday. I was concerned when you told me about BC Day, BowenLinda, but that shouldn't affect us.
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