We Have No Idea Where We Are!

Trip Start Jul 19, 2013
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Trip End Aug 15, 2013


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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Saturday, August 3, 2013

Briefly, we made the ferry on time . . . and it was a pleasant 13-hour ride! We were up in plenty of time in PR . . . kind of drizzly, although it was not raining.  We got a cab to our ferry ride . . . and got checked in efficiently . . . great food and great ride.  More later . . . on the ferry ride.

When we got to Port Hardy it was dark . . . and the getting to the town part form the ferry terminal . . . I suspected was going to be a bit of a challenge . . . well it was!  They had one cab, and because we had to get bags, that wasn't going to work.  What's the back up plan?  Well, they have an old school bus with a few seats out in the back . . . into which they load people and bags . . . and stop at all of the hostels, campsites, and hotels between the ferry and the town site . . . we were the last ones on . . . holding out for a cab . . . no luck.  So we piled in.

There were a whole bunch of people who had no idea where they were or where they were going.  The fellow driving the bus did not speak good English . . . so when he announced the stops . . . the passengers had to figure out where we were . . . we were on the very end of the run.  We did get to our hotel about 11:30 p.m. (the ferry got in at 10:30 p.m.) . . . we have a room . . . and it is time to check grades on my class (it ended tonight).  And make some brief entries in this blog.  More after we get to either Victoria or Port Angeles . . . tomorrow (8/4) is our all-day bus ride to Victoria . . . at the southern end of Vancouver Island . . . .

More later.

Getting to the BC Ferry and Riding the Ferry

We were up way too early for the checkout routine to get to the BC Ferry terminal . . . we waited in the hotel lobby . . . chatting with the night clerk, Jason, . . . waiting for our taxi . . . that I ordered up the night before . . . .  He is from the area . . . and I asked about cruise ships coming to Prince Rupert . . . and he said not as much . . . the city was asked to upgrade their facilities . . . and they didn't until the ships started going somewhere else . . . they haven’t come back yet!!  The cities like PR and those along the coast of the Inside Passage of Alaska, Ketchikan, Haines, Juneau, etc., have a love/hate relationship with the cruise ship industry . . . they like the money they bring, but they literally crap up the waters . . . and the jobs are only in the summer.

The taxi did not arrive . . . so Jason called another . . . and bingo, in 5 minutes we were loaded and on our way to the BC Ferry terminal.  I had verified the routine the following day . . . and it was pretty easy . . . everything was 'in the system’ . . . so a short wait and we were ready to board.  They give you baggage tags so you can put your own bags on little dollies . . . that get rolled onto the ferry with a small tug (tractor) . . . then you retrieve them on the other end.

At the drop-off point for passengers to enter the ferry terminal, I saw this huge box . . . about 24" X 24” X 96” . . . it arrived sort of strapped to a car . . . with it tilted upward from the trunk to the rear window to up over the roof . . . lots of tape on it . . . the next thing I know it is on the walk into the terminal . . . interesting, but I thought it was probably something to ship . . . well, there will be more to this story later!!!

Once on board, we had to queue up for the key to our ‘state room’ . . . yes, this is a ship!!  Its capacity is 750 passengers . . . after we got going I’d judge it to be about half to two-thirds full.  And, we got keys to the state room, and the same key (it is like one of those plastic card-type hotel keys with a magnetic strip) . . . lets you into the Aurora Lounge . . . a special seating area with a view of the bow of the ship . . . and comfy seats that kick back . . . we dropped the few things we had in the state room and then went off to find the Aurora Lounge . . . and there were two people seated in ‘our seats’ . . . do you have a number for these . . . er, ah, no, and they got up . . . come to find out . . . there are two entrances to the lounge . . . and the door was not closing on the other side . . . so any ol’ riff-raff could drift into this controlled area!!  LOL!!  I reported the defective door (whadda’ butthead, I know!).  After they thinned out the people who didn’t have access to this area (ie, they hadn’t paid the extra fees ($35 @) ), the place was fairly empty.  Carol spent quite bit of time in the tilted back lounge chair and enjoyed watching the Inside Passage drift by.

The state room had two bunks . . . sort of like twin beds . . . and a nice window . . . more than a port hole like on a cruise ship . . . and . . . get this . . . our own TOILET and SHOWER . . . pass on the shower . . . but . . . well, that was nice!!

We had breakfast on the ship as it pulled away from Prince Rupert . . . cooler and overcast . . . ready to leave PR behind!!

We rotated between the room and the lounge . . . and I went up and down on the 7 decks to get pictures . . . it was comfortable, but a jacket was nice when on the front of the ship . . . off the back, people were sunning themselves . . . apparently the Canadians think the sun will not come out again, so they take advantage when they can!!

We had dinner on the ship . . . a nice buffet . . . almost like a cruise ship but without the crowd . . . and massive dessert display, although it was very nice.  The sun was actually too bright seated on that side of the dining area!!!

Again, the ferry was about to 2/3 full . . . by my guesstimate . . . some of the facilities were not open . . . one that was . . . was the gift shop . . . when we got our ‘keys’ . . . we also got two certificates for 15% off in the gift shop  . . . we used just one of them!!  We are so proud of ourselves!!

We rested and waited for both our next port to show up and watch the sun go down.

[Some of this repeats . . . ]  We got queued up to get off the ship when we got into Port Hardy . . . the routine for getting to the hotel . . . is a little uncertain . . . I was told they had a ‘shuttle’ and there would be taxis . . . .  Well, the area where the queue begins and the baggage is delivered is chaos . . . but we get our bags . . . and the one taxi has departed . . . but there is an old school bus . . . that is loading with passengers and bags . . . so I asked the guy what the drill is . . . and this is the shuttle that drops us at our hotel . . . for a small fee . . . so we are the last ones to board . . . and our bags are piled on top of all the rest . . . there are probably 20 people on the bus . . . all ages . . . and lots of different languages . . . lots of Europeans in this group . . .  Scandinavians and French or Swiss . . . young and not as young (like us!).

They stop at every campground and hostel on the way into town (the terminal is about 4 kilometers from the actual downtown) . . . and the North Shore Inn is the last stop on the run!!!  AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!  How could we be so lucky!!

But, we get our bags and trundle up to the desk/lobby area . . . the room we have been assigned is on the second floor . . . and no elevator . . . more stairs and more bags up the stairs.  A very pleasant, very young oriental girl checked us in . . . and explained the location in proximity to the bus terminal . . . .  Good thing, because next morning . . . there was no one around the desk area when leaving.  She arranged for another of these cabs to pick us up (more on this later).  The ferry got in promptly at 10:30 p.m. . . . but we were not into our room until Midnight.


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