Anacortes to Sidney, BC
Vancouver Island had been on the “bucket list” for quite a while so when we arrived in the Seattle area, we decided to elebrate our wedding anniversary and Linda’s birthday (which fall within 2 days of each other in the middle of May) in Victoria, which lies in the South East corner of Vancouver Island.
This is of course Canadian territory and is part of the province of British Columbia. In other words . . passports were required!
To get there from the US requires a ferry ride from either Port Angeles at the top of the Olympic Peninsula, or from Anacortes, just west of Seattle. We picked the ferry ride from Anacortes as that route passes through lots of islands and we figured it would make for a more intesting trip.
Any Size Vehicle
While the ferry is large enough to accommodate our 42ft motorhome, we decided to leave it at the RV Park in Anacortes and make the trip with our tow vehicle. Linda had found a romantic B&B in Victoria so we headed off with great excitement for a 3 day “getaway” on the island.
We pre-booked a spot on the ferry as we did not know how busy (or how large) these ferries were. The service is managed by the Washington State Department of Transportation and they run a website with timetables and booking options.
Checking in was a breeze, all they needed was our name to find the reservation, then they needed to see our passports as we were heading to a different country The ferry was HUGE. I’m guessing it could easily take some 200 vehicles – of any size! We saw trucks, 5th wheels and motorhomes of all sizes drive on board. The center of the ferry is huge and could easily accommodate the height of trucks and RVs with lots of room to spare! For smaller cars, they have seperate 2-lane “corridors” which is where we were located.
These ferries are so-called “Double Ended” as they have ramps on both ends. That way, they never have to turn around to let cars on/off you simply drive on and drive off.
Once on board and parked, you have the option to stay in the car or get off and go upstairs where you can hang out in any of the many sitting areas or go outside onto several observation decks to enjoy the views as the boat makes its way first to the San Juan Islands for the first stop and then to Sidney, BC on Vancouver Island. The whole trip was super enjoyable and relaxing. There is a cafe on board and you are free to walk about from deck-to-deck and even go downstairs to your car. The views are of course spectacular. Interestingly enough, you still had cell phone coverage and we followed our progress using the “maps” app on our iPhones. Very cool, but when you enter into Canadian waters, we received the message that data roaming needed to be turned on to continue. As this can be VERY expensive, we declined, opting to limit our cellphone use to calls and texts while in Canada.
Boarding the ferry.
The ferry ride
The whole trip took about 3 hours and that included a stop at the San Juan Islands to let some cars off and others to come on. We have arrived on Vancouver Island.