Trip: Circlepac starting from Tsawwassen, including a trip on the Mill Bay

Date: December 4th to 5th 2010

Objective of Trip: To ride the Queen of Chilliwack


Day 1:

   Well here goes, this was a seemingly random trip.  I got the idea on Monday the 29th of November and it evolved from there.  Both Nick and I have applied to the Canadian Coast Guard College hoping to be accepted into Marine Engineering, if we are accepted we will be moving to Sydney, Nova Scotia for a minimum of 4 years.  The way my summer might pan out I may not get to go up north and ride the Queen of Chilliwack, therefore I felt I needed one last ride before I lost my chance, and my opportunity was slowly slipping away.  So, Circlepac it was.

   I awoke Saturday morning around 0445 and jumped in the truck.  I cruised out to Tsawwassen to catch the 0700 sailing of the Spirit of British Columbia to Swartz Bay.  Along the way I was soaked $1.23/L for gas in Surrey, it was $1.05/L at home.  So I only got about 15 bucks, enough to get the truck to the terminal and back to another gas station.  Time was getting close, so I throttled up the V8 a bit and made it to Tsawwassen in time to run tot he ticket counter and be the last person to get a ticket.  I then dumped my duffle bag and tugboat in the carry on and ran to berth 5.

Sunrise looking south on the Straight of Georgia.

   I had realized the day before that I had never been to the breakfast buffet, so as soon as I was on board I went to the Pacific Buffet.  I was quite disappointed; I had been envisioning a nice heaping plate of ham, bacon and sausage.  I was disappointed to find there was no bacon and the sausage was the American style with no outer skin.  So, I ate a bunch of ham, eggs, and sausage anyways.  After breakfast I went outside to get some sunrise pictures, which was a little more complicated than normal.  The light meter in my camera doesn’t work anymore and the shutter sticks, but I guess after more than 70,000 exposures I don’t really blame it.  I managed to get some sweet shots though, and I am learning to shoot manual quite well.  It was still very dark and the sky was clear with little blobs of cloud here and there, it was cold, and the ocean was a bit choppy, but not enough to notice in the ships motion.

The massive funnel of the Spirit of British Columbia


The Queen of Burnaby makes her way across the straight towards Tsawwassen


Looking forward from the stern of the Spirit of British Columbia


Sunrise over Mayne Island

   As we entered Active pass I was excited to get some cool sunrise shots of the SOVI, I although found the Coastal Celebration coming around the corner.  I still got some cool shots, but not what I was hoping for.  When the ship arrived at Swartz Bay she did her usual maneuver into berth 1, this one was exceptionally perfect though, not a single bump to the wing walls.  I then made my way up the walkways to meet Nick and grab my baggage.  We then jumped in his truck and made our way out to his house to check and see if a Circlepac fare is cheaper than using the experience card.  Turns out a Circlepac is 4 bucks cheaper.

Passing the Coastal Celebration in Active Pass


The Coastal Celebration slips away from view


The Gulf Islands are quite spectacular 



Salt Spring Island 


Bow of the Spirit of British Columbia



The Mayne Queen Departs Pender Island 



Bridge of the Spirit of British Columbia


Island Sunrise


Swartz Bay Terminal with the Spirit of Vancouver Island on a much deserved vacation. 


   After we left Nicks we made our way out to Brentwood Bay to catch the Mill Bays 1000 sailing.  The ferry was late to depart as they had to wait for a relief master as the scheduled master was sick.  We did a little exploring on the Mill Bay, which doesn’t take very long.  Upon arrival we had a fairly hard landing at Mill Bay and bounced off the turning dolphin quite hard.  We then got some coffee at Tims and some gas for the truck and we were on our way up island. 

   We had time so we made a quick detour up to Mount Washington for a quick look at some snow.  They just opened Friday and have a 165cm base.  Then we meandered back down the mountain and made it to Little river just in time to get a Vehicle Circlepac and drive straight onto the Queen of Chilliwack for her 1430 sailing to Westview.  Once on board we took a quick walk around the ship and grabbed a real Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger with real fries, I was still tempted to get a Chillie Dog though.  We sat down in her forward seating area, I noticed she got a bunch of the chairs from the Queen of Prince Rupert; she used to have plastic chairs, now she has the nice steel ones that were originally destined for the Queen of the North.

Mount Washington Cross Country Chateau

Its beautiful at the resort

Queen of Chilliwack loading at Little River Terminal in Comox

It was a gorgeous day to be on the water, although it was a bit nippy

Queen of Chilliwack deck 5

The Queen of Chilliwack's bridge

   We then wandered around taking pictures; I was once again in documentation mode taking pictures of the most random of things.  I was even able to have an engineer who was working on a locker on the stern to take some pictures from the other side of the equipment, the side that faces the sea.  As the sun lowered in the sky a wonderful orange hue covered the ship and I again got some cool shots.  Nick and I stood on the bow of the ship as we made our way into Westview where the Ship came alongside the terminal quite like the Burnaby would except about 150m off and slowly crawled in sideways.

The North Island Princess makes her way to Blubber Bay on Texada Island



As the sun lowered in the sky a wonderful orange hue covered the ship


The Queen of Chilliwack loading at Westview terminal, Powell River



The Queen of Chilliwack arrive on her last sailing of the night at Westview Terminal, Powell River



The Queen of Chilliwack unloads at Westview Terminal, Powell River


   We went up to the Marine Inn and got ourselves a room, this time no waterfront view though, but it was still a fine room, and cheap - ended up being slightly over 80 bucks.  We got our stuff setup in the room and then we drove out to Powell Lake to play with my tugboat and the barge I threw together.  We then went on the great supplies hunt, we needed some snacks, coke and 2 glasses.  We went to the Safeway where they had coke and snacks, but no glasses, so we tried Canadian tire but they were closed.  Then I saw a sign for a Wal-Mart, so we went there, but the mall was closed and the entry to the Wal-Mart was on the other side of the mall, so we had to walk all the way around and then back again after we got the glasses.  After that we went back to the hotel and got some night shots of the Queen of Chilliwack.  Then we pulled out “the old black rum” and seeing as no-one was online to chat with we played a couple rounds of “Rise of Nations”.