New Mid-Coast BC Ferry: Central coast open for paddling
This is an article from WaveLength Magazine, available in print in North America and globally on the web.
The coast of British Columbia is one of the best loved paddling areas in the world. Vancouver Island and the waters of Georgia Strait are world famous for a wonderful range of open ocean and protected island paddling. But the coastal area to the north of Vancouver Island has remained largely inaccessible and unpaddled...until now.
Previously, paddlers seeking the wilderness of BC's mid-coast had the options of the Queen of the North, serving only Bella Bella and Prince Rupert, or private charter floatplane. But this year the government-owned BC Ferry Corporation has launched a new ferry service to the mid-coast area, opening up more of this fascinating area for paddlers to explore.
Now kayakers will be able to board the Queen of Chilliwack in Port Hardy, at the north end of Vancouver Island, and travel to five coastal communities set in a maze of islands and inlets -- dubbed by BC Ferries the "Discovery Coast Passage". Alternately, they can access the route by road from the interior of BC, through Bella Coola.
The Queen of Chilliwack is a working freight boat, serving the needs of local communities, allowing paddlers to access such gems as the Hakai Recreational Area or to paddle between communities, hooking up with the ferry at any of its ports of call. The Ferry Corporation is working with these small communities to ensure a range of appropriate services is available.
BC Ferries' is also accepting bookings for a range of (mostly non-paddling) excursions in these communities, including archaeological tours, traditional salmon barbeques, native dancing, marine sightseeing expeditions, and historical walking tours.
See page 7 of the June/July '96 issue of WaveLength Magazine for a BC Ferry Coupon entitling the bearer to FREE PASSAGE of a canoe or kayak on any Discovery Passage ferry trip!
Let BC Ferries Help Plan Your Adventure
BC Ferries and the communities in the mid-coast have put together a number of "Excursion Packages". Phone B.C. Ferries Reservation Center and talk to their customer service representatives to plan your itinerary. They will help you plan and budget your adventure, give you additional information about the area, and inform you of other interesting things to see and do on the Discovery Coast.
Information and Reservations
Reservations for the Discovery Coast can be made through BC Ferries' Reservation Center from 8 AM to 10 PM daily at 1-800-663-7600. Information about the communities can be obtained from the "Cruise BC" office in Nanaimo at 604/753-2723 from 8 AM to 5 PM weekdays. For more information about the Discovery Coast Passage check out the BC Ferries' Home Page.