Leg 3: Port Hardy, BC to Prince Rupert, BC
5 July 2022
At 4:45 we woke up to a bright Canadian Tuesday and headed to the Port Hardy ferry terminal. At the terminal, we viewed various license plates: British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta. We also observed many French speakers (most likely French Canadian?), but what seemed liked only a few fellow United Statesians (Maine & Cali license plates).
We set sail around 8 and explored the ship! The boat had a cafeteria called the Canoe cafe (throughout the day it served breakfast lunch dinner and snacks), a restaurant (closed…for covid?), and a gift shop. The ship also had three outdoor decks that we could explore — one with a solarium.
After taking in the sights, we both napped (a trend throughout the day):
listened to music, and did some people watching. There were retired couples on vacation, truckers, young families speaking German (at least two) and French (many), bikepackers, motorcyclists, and RV-ers. And us!
I spent several hours good on the top deck reading the Alaska Milepost travel planner and taking notes for the mainland portion of our voyage while keeping an eye on the water for wildlife. I ended up seeing three dolphins swimming and jumping together and missed two whales! Corbin saw one of the whales!
Intermittently over the loudspeaker, a prerecorded voice would tell us about points of interest along the way and we ended up waving to one of the lighthouse keepers they mentioned. Corbin wondered aloud how lighthouse keepers stay sane amid so much solitude. Maybe we’ll find
out for ourselves after spending some time in Alaska!
Over the course of the journey, the crew only let us down to the car deck every few hours for 15 minutes at a time. Since pets weren’t allowed upstairs, dog owners had to rush down and take them out every time the car deck opened up.
All together, the ferry ride took 16 hours and made one stop along the way to Bella Bella, BC. The scenery outside was beautiful, yet monotonous. The forest and mountains alongside the passage are largely untouched, meaning the view rarely changes. Water, trees, rocks, and seagulls. Water, trees, rocks, and seagulls!
Around 8 pm I hit a wall and was trying hard to stay awake because I knew we still had to drive a bit after leaving the ferry. Corbin held us together though, and finally, at midnight, we docked and drove into Prince Rupert.
We arrived at the Pioneer Inn to find that our $60 room was in fact a closet with a mattress, hostel-style, with a shared bathroom. Corbin was not impressed, but I found it quite charming. Either way, within 10 minutes we were both sound asleep, resting up before our long long drive north.