BC Ferries: Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay

Diana Chan April 11, 2016 British Columbia, travel


Having a BC Ferries ride from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay at 6:30am in the morning is a pain. The sun isn’t out yet and you’re driving on the highway at full speed trying to make your reservation time.

We were headed to Tofino for the long weekend and 6:30am was the only sailing we could get a reservation for. We didn’t want to risk waiting a while, so we thought we would start our day early. Total sailing time is about 1hr and 40 mins.


To get to the terminal, just follow the signs from highway 1 and you’ll get there. Or turn on the GPS to guide you.


Once you get up to the gate, you can either give them your phone number or reservation number. You don’t need a reservation to get on the ferry, as long as there is enough space, you will have no problem.

Even with reservations, our sailing was 30% full…but it was 6:30am, so I can see why.


The first thing that everyone did when they got on the ferry was line up for breakfast at their Coastal Cafe.

Coastal Cafe is their self-serve restaurant and they have Bread Garden Sandwiches, Wraps and Sushi, Fresh Salads as well as White Spot Hot and Cold Entrees, Burgers and Pirate Paks.


For their morning menu, they have a few options. They also have waffles, oatmeal, baked goods, and fruit.


The line up was consistently long, but if you have to eat, then you have to endure the wait.


Everything is basically cooked to death, so it’s pretty much cafeteria style food.


We plopped everything onto a tray and paid for it.


M went with a odwalla smoothie and I got a cappuccino.


Traditional Breakfast I got the sausages, hashbrowns and eggs. It also comes with salsa but I think they forgot to put in on. Very mediocre breakfast but there aren’t any other options on board. The sausages have a very tough casing around the outside, so it is hard to chew. The eggs were very bland, but some ketchup can fix that.


All Aboard Breakfast gives you two choices of protein, so M chose bacon and sausages. It also has hashbrowns and eggs. They also forgot the salsa, or perhaps they just didn’t have any.


I came with 4 pieces of toast for each meal.


As we waited for the sun rise, it was actually quite nice. The golden sun just peering over the horizon hiding behind a few clouds.


It was a nice sight to see it slowly change. It was very windy up on the deck, so we could only stay outside for a short amount of time.


Make sure you bring a thick jacket and a scarf! Since it was early spring, it was still cold enough to wear a parka and a scarf.


You can also look at the sights from inside. The Queen of Oak Bay is an older model built in 1981, which is a few years older than me.

At both ends of the ferry, there are large seating areas where you can just stare off into the distance.


By the time we got to Departure Bay in Nanaimo, it was nice and bright outside. Cellphone data was spotting along the route, but it didn’t really bother us to much since we either took naps in the car, ate or roamed around the ferry.


About The Author

Diana started Foodology in 2010 because she just eats out everyday! She started a food blog to share her love of food with the world! She lives in Vancouver, BC and adores the diversity of food around her. She will go crazy for churros and lattes.

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