Monday, May 02, 2022


M/V Coho arrives in Victoria's Inner Habour 

With Washington State Ferries canceling its Anacortes to SidneyBC route this spring and summer due to crew shortages, it will be more challenging to get to Vancouver Island from my home state of Washington. Oh sure, you can drive north of the US/Canada border to Tsawwassen and take BC Ferries to Swartz Bay, north of Victoria. The Victoria Clipper V ferry makes the nearly three-hour trip between Seattle and downtown Victoria, and Kenmore Air has daily 45-minute float plane service between Seattle's Lake Union and Victoria. But for folks like me living on Whidbey Island, a better and less expensive option is taking the Black Ball Ferry Line from Port Angeles on Washington's Olympic Peninsula to Victoria, BC.

I've taken the Black Ball's MV Coho several times in the past few years; once with my vehicle and another time as a walk-on. I prefer the latter. The Coho was built in Seattle for $3 million in 1959, and at the time it was the most expensive and largest privately funded passenger and vehicle ferry built in North America. 

The 90-minute sailing across the Strait of Juan de Fuca provides wide-open views of the Olympics, with plenty of wildlife sightings, including eagles and whales. While onboard, enjoy the comfy interior lounges, solarium, pet-friendly zones, cafeteria, gift shop and duty free store. The ship docks in Victoria's Inner Harbour and if you walked on instead of taking your vehicle, many of the hotels, restaurants and attractions are within walking distance. For more information, visit Tourism Victoria's website. 
BC Parliament Buildings in Victoria's Inner Harbour 

Black Ball Ferry Line has a variety of hotel partners within walking distance from its Victoria terminal in the Inner Harbour. And when two adults travel with a hotel package, up to two children ages 11 and older may stay and sail for free. In addition to hotel packages, Black ball also offer various attractions such as Butchart Gardens, the Royal BC Museum, IMAX and a traditional afternoon tea. Here are two of the hotels that are offered, both of which I've enjoyed over the years. 
The Oswego Hotel
The Oswego Hotel is a boutique hotel located steps away from the Inner Harbour and downtown Victoria. The hotel features a modern design and luxury amenities. All suites have gourmet kitchens, while the elegant bathrooms include soaker tubs and separate showers. The onsite Bar500 serves authentic West Coast Italian cuisine. Room rate per person including ferry: From $126 USD.
Inn at Laurel Point
The Inn at Laurel Point is located in downtown Victoria on the edge of the Inner Harbour, within easy walking distance of the Parliament Buildings, Royal BC Museum, Beacon Hill Park and downtown shopping. The inn prides itself in being a haven for travelers wanting an authentic West Coast experience, offering opportunities to reconnect with nature. Their newly landscaped award winning gardens are now open. Room rate per person including ferry: From $142 US. 
The Butchart Gardens 

Black Ball Ferry Line also offers Day Trip Packages, for those not spending the night. One of the more popular ones is The Butchart Gardens, 55 acres of floral displays spanning a century. The package, from $108 USD per person, includes: 
  • Black Ball Ferry fare
  • Admission to The Butchart Gardens
  • Round-trip shuttle from downtown Victoria to The Butchart Gardens 
The MV Coho arrives in Port Angeles, Washington

Click on for schedule/reservations/packages

Port Angeles Terminal
101 E. Railroad Avenue

Victoria Terminal 
430 Belleville Street


Effective April 1, 2022, pre-arrival COVID testing is no longer required for fully vaccinated travelers entering Canada. 
Please Note: Filling out information on ArriveCAN is still required, and must be filled out within 72 hours of entering Canada and prior to arriving at the Port Angeles, WA terminal. Visit Black Ball's COVID-19 requirements for more information. 

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