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Ferry to Vancouver Island
Breathing in the scenery

It had stayed cold overnight and outside everything was white and covered in a layer of frost when we woke. We still had ice on the windows at the front and even those at the back by our head and feet had a small, thin layer. We had slept soundly enough though and were glad that the switch for the furnace/heater was by the bed so we could warm the inside of Morty up before getting out of bed.

We left the campsite earlyish planning to get to the Chinese consulate as soon as possible. It was a long drive into the centre of town and it took as long to get there as it would do on the Skytrain and the bus. By the time we arrived it was a little after 9:30 and there was already a sizeable number of people ahead of us. Stef went in search of food while I waited in line. Before long we were walking out, passports and visas in hand. The visas were already prepared and our passports were simply sat in a back office waiting for the official collecting day. For the privilege of picking them up early we had to pay an extra $70, a bit hefty considering they had already been processed but worth it for the flexibility and freedom it now gives us for our last week.

It is unlikely that we will be back in the centre of Vancouver. We have got a feel for the area and there are still bits we can see and do if and when we come back again. For now though our focus has shifted to Vancouver Island and hopefully an enjoyable last few days. We headed out of town to Tsawassinn to catch the ferry across to the island. In contrast to the mountains that surround Vancouver itself, this area was a flat plain reaching out to the water.

A long man made jetty led out to the ferry terminal. Here we paid our dues and sat in line waiting for the ferry. There is what looks like a new terminal building here with shops and a variety of different fast food places to get something to eat and drink. We had just missed the eleven o’clock ferry and had two hours to wait until the next one left but the time quickly passed by.

The ferry itself was pretty big with two car decks and it was quite full. Lots of people looked like they had gone to Vancouver for the weekend for the Grey Cup final and were now heading home. We had our obligatory walk around outside but kept it short because there was a biting wind blowing in off the water. The crossing was short, about ninety minutes, and wiggled down through the smaller islands off the main Vancouver Island. It was a beautiful trip passing tree covered islands with evidence of small local communities dotted about here and there.

At Swartz Bay we were one of the first off and were soon heading down to True North RV, the dealer we are probably going to use to sell Morty. Our attempts for a private sale have so far yielded no results and time is no longer on our side. This company will sell on the same basis to those on the mainland but have quoted by phone a much higher sale value (to us) than any of the others

Kevin, the chap I had spoken to was not there today but Waldo de Groot, a South African with Dutch parents, took us through the process. We got the inevitable “oh, I think what you were quoted on the phone is far too high” and “all those extras, nobody really wants them”, but by the time they had looked Morty over we left agreeing a sale price higher than we were originally quoted. Fingers crossed that the people they have on their books who have been looking for a Roadtrek 170 buy and do so sooner rather than later!!

From here we headed down the main road, turning off and back up northwards to Nanaimo. The road followed the coast of the island, twisting and turning around and up and down. Through the trees we could get glimpses of the mainland, mainly the lights from downtown Vancouver but it was not long before we were again driving in the dark. I have a feeling that the scenery on this part of the coast will be stunning to see in the day.

At Nanaimo we made our way to the Living Forest Oceanside Campground and booked a spot with an ocean view for the night. The girl behind reception was very friendly and took the time to talk to us about the island and what would be good things to see and do while we are here. It looked like a big site and true to its name each individual plot was carved out of the forest. In the summer this must be a fantastic place to stay. We headed into town to get some food for dinner and then settled in for the night, hoping to get some great sunrise views tomorrow morning.