Sunrise to Sunset Traveling the British Columbia West Coast Water Highway

The Government of British Columbia and its fine west coast island citizens are in agreement that something has to change to sustain one of the most beautiful water highway systems in world. There is not agreement on how this system must change however. User fees are going up and usage is going down. With the expected total tariff revenue shortfall of about $40M by the of March 2016, there are proposed service cuts and tweaking of schedules which may save money but will likely not lead to increased traffic.  Several factors have led to this grim situation including a lengthy downturn in the economy, fares overreaching the balance point of cost to value in the traveler’s wallet and the government requiring that each route be self-sustaining while separating these ferry served waterways from the highway transportation system and its funding support. It is not a pretty picture. If this situation is not resolved The Local Ferry Committee concludes that “the final result will be the continued strangulation of island and coastal communities, the effects of which are already evident.” (Ferry Facts – MayneLiner Volume 24, Number 1, January 2014)

There seems to be only one way to really give you a good idea what this means and that is to take you with me on a trip from Mill Bay on Vancouver Island to Miners Bay on Mayne Island in January.

The Mill Bay sunrise with Mount Baker in the background is pleasant.

Mount Baker at Sunrise in Mill Bay by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 020

from under the arbutus tree on the Brentwood College campus where I am visiting the “O” family.

Mill Bay Sunrise under the Arbutus Tree by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 045

Boats rest quietly in the marina next door as another amazing day begins.

Sunrise Mill Bay January 2014 by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 024

I don’t have to leave until midday so we go off for a morning hike returning in time for a quick lunch before I head out. Mayne Island is only about 35 km directly across the water but I will drive an hour over the Malahat highway and up the Saanich Peninsula to the Swartz Bay terminal to catch the 2:15 pm  going to Saturna Island and then Mayne Island arriving about 4:10 pm. I allow three and a half hours for travel time. On a day like today this is a pleasure…

Mount Baker from Inside Passage by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 088

Ferry traffic can be spotted regularly as we set out from Swartz Bay.

BC Ferry Traffic Inside Passage by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 128

After passing island after island views, we approach Saturna Island almost an hour later and Mount Baker is still grandstanding on the horizon.

Almost to Saturna Island by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 391

Quality prints available HERE.

The sun is getting low in the sky when our small Mayne Queen ferry retraces its passage back between North Pender Island and Mayne Island.

January West Coast Late Afternoon Sky by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 508

The Queen of Nanaimo ferry is finding its way from Saltspring Island and Galiano Island gives a looming welcome on the right.

Galiano Island winter afterrnoon by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 496

I turn and look back towards Swartz Bay knowing that one of the large ferries taking passengers across the Strait of Georgia will likely be visible.

Late Afternoon in January by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 526

I wasn’t disappointed.

We dock about five minutes late and I meander home, waving at neighbour and friend Leanne Dyck from The Sweater Curse blog who is out for a walk as I go.

My sweet husband has a few groceries he wants to pick up before we go out for dinner.  We unload everything but my camera and head immediately for Miners bay. There is only a slight orange glow left in the sky as we pull up and part on the street facing the Miners Bay Trading Post.

Miners Bay Trading Post by Terrill Welch 2014_01_05 544

What can I say? It is good to be home. It is good to have ferry service and not have to hitch-hike on a passing tug boat, freighter, sea plane or sail boat. Yet, I wonder if it might come to that again in the maybe not so distant future. If it did, we would remember these days of 3.5 hour assured travel to go a distance of 35 km fondly. But would we move? Would we leave our island home with its water highway for the paved highways of the mainland?

Would you still think about coming to visit me if there was no ferry service?

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

I Wonder What She Wants?

I can almost see the thought bubble over their heads – such mild curiosity and indifference expressed in their body language.

“I wonder what she wants?”

How can I tell them that, though interesting they might be, I am really looking at the sun coming across the water on Mill Bay?

I can’t. So with a flip, the seals flop into the sea.

Sprout Question: Who have you felt unable to communicate with this week?

NOTE: I fully realize this might be a loaded question. Please remember this is a public blog. If your answer is sensitive, I suggest answering in your private journal, on a napkin in a restaurant or in the sand at low tide. Let good judgment be your guide. Of course, you can still leave a comment stating that your answer is sensitive cargo and has been safely stored…. or destroyed 🙂

Best of the weekend to you!

© 2011 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

Terrill Welch online Gallery at http://terrillwelchartist.com