[Tweeters] Report back on ferries to Victoria

Jane Hadley hadleyj1725 at gmail.com
Sun Jan 13 13:07:53 PST 2019

Hello Tweetsters - On January 12, I asked for advice and opinions for
which ferry I should take for a June trip from Seattle to Victoria. I
mentioned specifically the Port Angeles -Victoria ferry and the
Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route. I had forgotten about the Anacortes-Sydney

I heard from eight Tweeters people with great comments and information.
I also then did some research of my own. Here's how it all shakes out.

There are three ferries we could take to get to Victoria: 1. Port
Angeles to Victoria (Black Ball Ferry Line, a private company); 2.
Anacortes, WA to Sydney, BC (Washington State Ferries); and 3.
Tsawwassen, BC to Swartz Bay (BC Ferries).

Reservations are definitely recommended on all three routes in June and
are required on the Anacortes route.


The Port Angeles ferry is a small vessel compared to the Washington
State or British Columbia ferries, so depending on the weather, the boat
can rock and roll. Most people deemed the Port Angeles ferry to be
reliable and a good service.

Several thought the Port Angeles-Victoria ferry would have better
birding than the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay ferry.

Those who live south of Seattle viewed the Port Angeles ferry as a way
to avoid driving through Seattle. Also, the Black Ball ferry arrives
directly in Victoria, whereas the Anacortes and Tsawwassen ferries
arrive at terminals about a half hour outside Victoria. Also getting
through the border check is thought to be faster via ferry than by car
at the Peace Arch (Blaine).


(This is a round-trip figure for six people in a minivan leaving from
central Seattle. It includes gas for driving and ferry costs. Remember
that there are two ferries involved in the Port Angeles route. I
converted the Tsawwassen ferry costs to US dollars.)

Port Angeles: $428
Tsawwassen: $309
Anacortes: $251  (There is a senior rate for passengers which helps. 
There is no reservation fee, unlike for the other two routes. Also, cost
to get to the departure terminal is less than for the other two routes.)


Includes driving time, waiting time at departure terminals, border
crossing time,  sailing time. (I figured half hour for border crossing
at the Peace Arch vs. 15 minutes for Victoria/Sydney, probably all
optimistic estimates. I estimated 1 hour waiting time at departure
terminals, except 1/2 hour for the Seattle-Bainbridge Island ferry.)

Port Angeles: 6 hours   (two ferries involved)

Tsawwassen: 6 hours   (lots of driving to get to Tsawwassen, border
crossing perhaps longer)

Anacortes: 5 hours 50 minutes  (ferry ride is the longest of the three


Port Angeles: 3 x day  (8:15am, 12:45pm, and 5:20pm)

Tsawassen: hourly, about 16 x day

Anacortes: 2 x day  (8:25am, 2:50pm)


All of the routes take about the same time: 6 hours. But those hours are
spent in very different ways.

Biggest advantage of Tsawwassen is that it has hourly departures.
Biggest advantages of Anacortes are cost and also least amount of time
getting to the departure terminal. Biggest advantage of Port Angeles
route is for those who will avoid driving through Seattle. Those who
live in or north of Seattle don't reap this advantage. Also birding may
be better on Port Angeles ride.

Biggest weaknesses of Port Angeles route is the ferry ride can be rough,
depending on conditions. Also it is the costliest. Biggest weakness of
Anacortes is it has only two sailings a day. Biggest weakness of
Tsawwassen is the 2 1/2 hours it takes to drive to the departure
terminal plus the probable 1/2 hour to 1 hour border crossing at the
Peace Arch.

If we can get reservations on the Anacortes-Sydney ferry and if either
of the two departure times fits with our schedule, I think it would be
our best bet.

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