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Trip 221 - July 12 & 16, 2021 (Monday and Friday)

BC Ferries Trip

Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo - Departure Bay (and back)

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Location of Departure Bay Ferry Terminal: City of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

Liked: Fine water and mountain views.

Of Note: Very windy on the sun deck in the front of the ship, the cost of the ride is expensive, sailing waits are possible (unless you have a reservation, which costs extra).

Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Backroad Mapbook (5th edition) Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal Coordinates: Page 11 (North Vancouver) A6.

Vancouver Island Backroad Mapbook (9th edition) Departure Bay (Nanaimo) Ferry Terminal Coordinates: Page 19 (Nanaimo) C2.

Related Websites: BC Ferries - Official Website, Queen of Cowichan Ferry Info - BC Ferries.

Other Ferry Trips: Francois Lake Ferry Trip, Bowen Island Ferry Trip.


The first two pages of this trip report cover the sailing from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo - Departure Bay on BC Ferry Coastal Renaissance. This page shows the return sailing we took on July 16th on BC Ferry Queen of Cowichan, which is an older ship.

50. It's now Friday, July 16, 2021, and we are back at Nanaimo - Departure Bay Ferry Terminal for our return trip to Horseshoe Bay. Nanaimo also has Duke Point Ferry Terminal with service to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta.

Approaching Departure Bay Ferry Terminal Nanaimo BC

51. We did not have a reservation, so had to wait for the next sailing. Which turned out to be ok, as we have already sailed on Coastal Renaissance (the ship we just missed), and the next ship was an older Queen of Cowichan, and it was interesting to compare the two. Here we are boarding the Queen of Cowichan.

Departure Bay Ferry Terminal

52. It's a somewhat complicated boarding procedure. Just past the entry point, a crew member faces the traffic and points to his left or to his right. To his left (your right) is a vast area, and it's easy to see where to go. But, to his right (your left), there is a ramp right next to the wall, and the ramp is not very obvious at first as it makes a right hand curve and soon disappears out of sight, so there was some confusion when he pointed us that way, but we figured it out. Something to remember when boarding Queen of Cowichan.

Boarding Queen of Cowichan BC Ferry

53-55. Leaving Departure Bay. See ya!

Leaving Departure Bay Ferry Terminal

Here is our video of Queen of Cowichan Leaving Nanaimo-Departure Bay.

56. Let's check out the inside of Queen of Cowichan.

Queen of Cowichan BC Ferry

57. Turned out to be rather uninspiring after Coastal Renaissance. If what's inside the ship is important to you, Coastal Renaissance is definitely the ship to take. Queen of Cowichan felt more cramped and not as well designed or decorated. The progress is obvious with Coastal Renaissance.

Inside Queen of Cowichan BC Ferry

58-59. Checking out the upper vehicle deck.

BC Ferry Queen of Cowichan Vehicle Deck

60-61. The views turned out to be much better sailing back to Horseshoe Bay, perhaps because the sun was shining in the right direction.

View from ferry en route to Horseshoe Bay

62-63. Speaking of Coastal Renaissance.

Coastal Renaissance BC Ferry

64-65. Closer to the end of the sailing, we got this fine zoomed photos of downtown Vancouver and the Lions Gate Bridge.

Downtown Vancouver Zoomed View from a BC Ferry

Lions Gate Bridge Zoomed View from a BC Ferry

Here is our video of Downtown Vancouver seen from Queen of Cowichan.

66-68. Here is one of the more peculiar places to live in Metro Vancouver - Passage Island. You need a boat to get here, and then pretty much have thousands of people look at your house on a daily basis as they pass by in all kinds of ships and boats.

Passage Island

Houses on Passage Island British Columbia Canada

House on Passage Island British Columbia

69. A busy sea: our Queen of Cowichan, a sailing boat to the right, a tug with a barge to the left, and Queen of Capilano (Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island) BC Ferry straight ahead.

Here is our video of this area.

One More.

More ihikebc videos are on our YouTube Channel.

70-71. Gulf Islands looking good.

Gulf Islands British Columbia

72. Approaching Horseshoe Bay.

Approaching Horseshoe Bay on a BC Ferry

73. Docking at the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal next to Queen of Surrey.

BC Ferry Docking at Horseshoe Bay Terminal

74. And we are back on the road.

Leaving Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal

If you have an option and would like a better overall sailing experience, Coastal Renaissance is the ship to take. But, if you just want to check out the views and/or get from point A to point B, either one of these ships will do the job just fine.

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ihikebc.com Trip 221 - BC Ferries Trip (Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo - Departure Bay and back) Page 3 of 3