The BC ferries were as much a part of my childhood as trick-or-treating at Halloween or opening gifts at Christmas. My birthplace, Powell River, wasn’t accessible by road until I was almost five. As the crow flies it’s less than 150 km north of Vancouver, but even today the trip takes about four and a half hours and involves two ferry rides. In the early days, the road across the peninsula between Earl’s Cove and Langdale was a narrow, winding one. Riding the ferries was a welcome break from carsickness and boredom brought on by the long drive.
Perhaps if I’d spent my entire life at the coast and continued to ride the ferries regularly, I might be as ho hum about it as many passengers are but for me, the ferry is still a thrill. I can’t simply hunker down with a book or my laptop as many passengers do. Regardless of the weather, I have to walk the outer decks and stand at the bow with the wind whipping through my hair. There are usually a few others who join me there.
It’s been several years since we last made the trip to Powell River but our time at the coast this summer did include riding ferries. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the ocean as calm as it was the day that we crossed over to Vancouver Island to spend a few days visiting relatives of Richard’s at Port Alberni and Nanaimo. Though Richard was one of the many who sat inside the entire way across, after we’d eaten lunch in the onboard restaurant on the return trip I did manage to get him to join me outside where he took a few photos of me reliving childhood memories and enjoying one of my favourite modes of travel.