I realised something the other day. I might have to do some major re-jigging if BC Ferries change the schedule, as the one we want to catch only goes once a week and at the moment it’s on a Thursday. When the new schedule comes out at the end of the year I’m hoping to find that this ferry still goes on a Thursday. Let’s pretend it will for now, ok? The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.
So, on Wednesday morning, bright and early we’ll be leaving Ucluelet and making our way back to the east coast of the island taking the Pacific Rim Highway to Port Alberni (where it becomes the Alberni Highway) and then to Qualicum Beach. We might stop for a break here or push on, taking the Inland Island Highway north. Seeing a place called Fanny Bay along the route really makes me want to pause but I think my wife will insist on driving past. Either way we’ll have to stop for provisions and loo breaks as it’s over 6 hours to Port Hardy (I do hope she wants to share the driving).
Everything I read about Port Hardy told me to book in advance as the hotels/motels get booked up quickly when the ferry is due to leave so I booked us in The Quarterdeck Inn for the night. It’s quite near the ferry terminal but after that long on the road I think all I’ll want is a couple of drinks in the pub and my bed.
The ferry (going by this years schedule) leaves 10:15am and you have to be there a couple of hours before departure apparently, but I’ll check that nearer the time. It takes about 13 hours to get to Bella Coola and you travel through some amazing scenery, so I think I’ll be spending a lot of time on deck with my camera in my hand.
We arrive in Bella Coola at around 11pm and so will have to find our hotel in the dark. That should be fun. We’re staying at the BC Mountain Lodge which I have to say looks great. We’re booked for three nights as we wanted time there to do a bit of exploring and most importantly of all, go Grizzly Bear watching.
The Lodge organises this and this is the highlight of the holiday for us (you might say actually it’s the whole reason I arranged this trip). You go upstream from the bears and then float past them in a boat and from the looks of things I’m hoping to get some amazing photographs (although perhaps not like the one above).
The day after our Grizzly experience we hit the road again and begin heading back to Vancouver…..slowly.