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North America Topics specific to Canada and USA/Alaska only.
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  #1  
Old 28 Dec 2010
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Seattle to Vancouver Island by Ferry

Hi,

I'm going to travel up to Alaska on the PanAm. How expensive / easy is it to go from Seattle to Vancouver by ferry? Is it possible to do this for non-US / non-Canadians with their own vehicle?

Bjorn
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  #2  
Old 28 Dec 2010
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Has nothing to do with nationality; it's a passenger-only ferry. And the PanAm does not go to Alaska, or anyplace close.
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Old 28 Dec 2010
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There is a vehicle ferry from Anacortes, about 1 hour north of seattle. It only runs once a day during the winter.
Route Maps

The other option is to take the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge island, ride to Port Angeles and take the ferry from there.
Black Ball Ferry Line . MV Coho, Victoria, BC - Port Angeles, WA. Ferry. Passenger and Vehicle transportation

Either way, you will need a passport...
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Old 29 Dec 2010
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Thanks for the ferry pointers.

Markharf: well... I guess I just call it the PanAm even if it turns into other names & finally into the Alaska Highway ...after all, it goes Alaska to Ushuaia
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  #5  
Old 29 Dec 2010
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Why not ride? It's only a couple of hundred miles to Vancouver and then over to Nanaimo via BC ferries.
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Old 29 Dec 2010
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It is, in fact, just 130 miles to Vancouver. Not the world's most interesting drive, but easy enough. You'd pass right by my house and we could discuss the naming of the world and all its contents.

FWIW, if you refer to the PanAmerican Highway anyplace north of, say, Nogales you'll get only perplexity in response. That's because, unlike the two dozen countries to our south, we do not as a rule recognize our interdependence and shared humanity with the rest of the world. Even the word "PanAmerican" suggests connection, commonality, relationship. "Interstate 5" suggests shared interests within, but not without, our national borders. It's a NorteAmericano thing.

Back to the subject at hand, if I was going to have a quick look at the North Cascades (recommended, but only in season) or a ski at Mt. Baker (recommended during the other season) I'd drive I-5 to the border and ferry to Victoria from Tsawwassen. Otherwise, think about heading for Port Townsend and Port Angeles, with maybe a side trip to the Hoh Valley, Olympic National Park beaches, and/or Hurricane Ridge. Ferry to Victoria from Port Angeles.

I'm going to leave it to you to look up the schedules and fares. It's easy, and Google is your friend.

Mark
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Old 29 Dec 2010
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Hey Bjorn,

Markus writing here from the UK. I would ride up the 101 to Port Angeles and take the ferry to Nanaimo, it's beautiful along the 101, unlike your experience on the Ruta 38 which I just caught up on, yikes that was deep sand.

Take care,

Markus

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Old 29 Dec 2010
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Hi Bjorn,

First of all a few "corrections". The ferry from Port Angeles goes to Victoria, not Nanaimo. Nanaimo is about 1.25 hours north of Victoria. There is a ferry to Nanaimo from Horseshoe Bay just north of Vancouver, but you'd have to ride through Vancouver to get to it. If you're into cities that might be a good option. Otherwise, it's basically a city with the usual traffic issues unless you hang out for a few days. Then it's actually a great city.

Ferries are:

BC Ferries www.bcferries.com (from mainland BC to Vancouver Island and the Gulf islands and the Sunshine Coast, all within BC)

Washington State Ferries (google it) Operates the ferries near the Seattle area for the Olympic Peninsula as well as the ferry from Anacortes, Washington to Sidney, BC just north of Victoria.

Coho Ferry Black Ball Ferries (From Port Angeles, Washington ...Olympic Peninsula to Victoria, BC)

If you decide to come over to Vancouver Island and wish to continue north to Alaska you basically have two options:

Head back to the mainland via Nanaimo or even back via Victoria.

or

Head to the tip of the island at Port Hardy and take the 16 hour ferry to Prince Rupert and carry on from there. It's supposed to be quite scenic but of course does not involve any riding :-)

If you come to Vancouver Island be in touch. I live just outside of Victoria and I'd be happy to show you some nice rides around the south Island.


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Old 12 Mar 2011
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Bjorn:

As others have pointed out above, it would be much easier, much more practical, and much more "normal" to just ride from Seattle to Vancouver on the highway. There is no need and certainly no benefit to attempting to cover this route on a ferry.

I am wondering if perhaps you might have confused Vancouver (the large city on the mainland) with Victoria (the provincial capital of BC, which is located on Vancouver Island). If you want to get from Seattle to Victoria, then you will need to take a ferry. Michelle has addressed all but one of the various possibilities for doing this in her post directly above.

The one additional possibility would be to take the Washington State Ferry Service ferry from Anacortes, WA to Sidney, BC. This is a pleasant but pokey little milk run of a ferry. Although it is slower and smaller than all the other choices that Michelle presented, it is probably the most scenic of the bunch.

If you choose to take this ferry, send me a private message - I live in Sidney, BC, which is the small town on Vancouver Island where this ferry arrives.

Michael
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Old 12 Mar 2011
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Smile Vancouver BC

Thanks Michael for finally clearing up the Vancouver Island vs Vancouver issue? A detour to the island is well worth the visit if you are so inclined, but I was trying to figure out why anyone would want to take a ferry from Seattle to Vancouver since it is a 3 hour drive. Bjorn we live just outside Vancouver in Port Moody BC if you need help. Sara
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