I will update this later, when I’ve had some sleep. It was a long day that started around 4 am, and now it’s past midnight. Let’s just say it was a long time to be on a ferry without the Internet. Lots of photos to come.
Updated on Highway 19, south of Courtenay
Tammy’s got the wheel, so I’m posting about yesterday. The whole trip is anchored by the Tour de Victoria on the tail end and the ferry trip from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy on the front end, so how did it go?
The short version: it was a 16 hour ferry ride. For anyone who has travelled by ferry with Ian, that means:
- Walking around on the outer decks until you’re cold
- Come inside and do something for a while
- Repeat (sometimes with a meal thrown in)
Whereas on a Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen run, that cycles about 2-3 times, for a 16 hour ride it was innumerable. Since my Apple Watch is out of commission, we have to consult Tammy’s: she got about 70 flights of stairs climbed.
The morning was early, but everyone was up and ready to go by the time everyone’s iPhones’ alarms went off at 4:45. A toasted bagel and coffee at the hotel’s complimentary breakfast and we were packed and out the door. We were at the ferry by 5:40, but Ian was chewing his nails to nubs as the line moved so slowly. We were supposed to be checked in before 6:00 or our reservation wouldn’t be valid! We were only about 10 cars deep, but our line was the slow one and we didn’t get our turn until 6:10. When we got to the booth, we understood why: the fellow taking reservations and selling tickets was very sociable. As it turned out the ferry was only about 80% full so there was no cause for worry, but we didn’t know that. Then we were the last car on, thanks to Miranda’s bike on the roof.
From there, the stress was off and we could just take it in. We watched Prince Rupert disappear, and the Northern Adventure docked after we left. Watching the cranes unload containers from a container ship was fun when we passed.
We had pre-paid for the buffet breakfast and dinner. The breakfast was excellent, with so many good things to eat. The kids were all over the dim sum (go figure) as well as waffles, peach-coconut pancakes, three-cheese omelettes, hot and cold cereal, etc. Tammy got creative and tempted me with a croissant that she filled with whipped cream and strawberries.
Stuffed full of food, we settled in. We found a spot near the kids’ play area where there were available plugs and few people. The only kids playing for a long time was a family of Dutch kids. That entertained Tammy for a long while: trying to figure out what germanic variant they were speaking, because it was different enough from German that she couldn’t understand them.
The scenery outside was amazing, if somewhat one-note: rugged islands with trees and ocean. There was plenty to look at. The highlight of the trip was seeing a pod of humpback whales in the channel south of Bella Bella. They were too far away to photograph with an iPhone, but we got to watch.
As the day wore on, even Ian was feeling it. Sometimes we would just go outside and sit together on a bench with him leaning back on me and snoozing. We still were all smiling, though.
By the time dusk came and the boat was out on the Queen Charlotte Sound, everyone looked and felt tired. The ferry docked a bit early in Port Hardy and it was only an 8 kilometer drive to the Providence Place Inn where we showered and crashed.
Almost literally: the overhand at the front of the inn was lower than I was expecting and Miranda’s bike was on the roof. I was only rolling slowly and realized what was about to happen just as it did. The bike bumped against the roof, but no serious damage done. It could have been disaster, though.
It seems I should put in a word here about the quality of the hotel in Port Hardy. Let’s just say that Tammy was not impressed. It’s a good thing we were unconscious for most of the time spent there.