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Hosteling to Bella Bella

 
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Marco Flamingo



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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 2:01 pm    Post subject: Hosteling to Bella Bella Reply with quote

I have never heard of this, so I thought I would see if anybody else has heard of it (or has done it). Hosteling (or the American spelling of hostelling) is also refers to "youth hosteling," where you stay in a cheap bunkhouse with other backpackers, but that's not what this is.

BC Ferries offers the "hosteling of trailers," including commercial traffic. What you do is take your boat and trailer to the terminal at least 4 hours before sailing time. You unhitch your trailer and park your tow vehicle in long term parking. For a $40 fee, B.C. Ferries uses a tractor to load your boat trailer (proof of insurance, valid license, standard hitch, etc.). When you arrive at your destination, B.C. Ferries unloads it. You then arrange local transportation to take your trailer to the launch site and park it for storage. Off you go on your cruise to the Great Bear Rainforest.

Here are the transportation costs for going on a cruise from Vancouver Island to Bella Bella or Shearwater. You drive to Port Hardy and drop off your trailer and park in the BC Ferries long term parking ($50 per week). You pay standard vehicle rates for the boat/trailer, plus $40 for hosteling the trailer to Bella Bella (includes on and off). For me, my trailer is under 20 feet, so I just pay the standard vehicle rate, plus $40, plus my passenger fare (a total of $348.20 Canadian). What would have been a substantial over-length fee for the vehicle and trailer is gone.

With the boat and trailer sitting in at the Bella Bella ferry terminal, I now need to get it to the launch site. Several area cabins and resorts have a service to do this if I stay with them. I'm looking into whether I can stay the first night at a resort (which have docks), store my trailer, return and stay the last night, and then get the tow back to the ferry terminal. That could add $300, but I know from past experience that a cushy first and last is nice (hot showers, clean sheets, etc.). As an alternative, several places, like the boat yard in Shearwater, can tow the boat to the launch site and store the trailer. I haven't found the costs on this service yet.

By not having a tow vehicle, that saves approximately $800 Canadian on the round trip. It seems a little weird to not have a tow vehicle, but then having it in patrolled parking at the BC Ferry terminal in PH has its advantages. And I would only drive it 1/4 mile from the Bella Bella ferry terminal to the launch ramp and then find a place to park vehicle and trailer.

Hosteling costs for larger trailers might change the benefits, and it looks like sleeping aboard in the ferry terminal (generally midnight arrival times at Bella Bella and Shearwater) would probably be best, but it still has possibilities. And getting to Bella Bella in a single day for only $400 Canadian sounds really good.

I couldn't find information on hosteling on the BC Ferries website. I had to call a terminal, wait 25 minutes on hold, and ask them.

Mark
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Peter & Judy



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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is very interesting. I have thought of doing this to Haida Gwaii. I would like to boat there, but I'm not sure I would like to do the crossing. If you could drive to Prince Rupert and have your boat and trailer taken over on the ferry. This would be a lot safer and less stressful. Not having to take the tow vehicle across would save a lot of money.
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hardee



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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting proposition. It would be "weird" not to have the tow rig there. I would want to be sure there was some way of getting the trailer washdown after the dunkings.

Watching the crossing to Vancouver Island for promotion fairs (previous years about 50% off for over size rigs) made it worth being in li e very early or late.

Thanks for the new idea. Do you know if this is only to Bella Bella, or is there other availability?

Harvey
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Marco Flamingo



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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Other ports are available, but because there isn't any real information on the BC Ferries web site, I'm not sure how it works. For instance, the ferry stops at Bella Bella and off loads for those continuing on to Shearwater. Shearwater has a large boat yard, and I contacted them and they can tow from the Shearwater ferry terminal, launch at their ramp, wash down and stow the trailer in their yard. I'm still talking with them about cost. Other fishing lodges on Denny Island also offer similar service.

One of my questions is, since Shearwater requires a transfer, is it still the same $40 BC Ferry charge? It is the same regular fare. The fare to Klemtu is also the same. Port Hardy to any "mid-Coast" terminal seems to be all the same fare, but it seems odd that it is the same fare even when there is an additional on-off.

It doesn't make too much sense to hostel to Shearwater, as Bella Bella is only a few miles away. I'm checking into Bella Bella, which may end up simply using a local to pick up and launch and stowing the trailer at their house.

Mark
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AstoriaDave



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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter & Judy wrote:
This is very interesting. I have thought of doing this to Haida Gwaii. I would like to boat there, but I'm not sure I would like to do the crossing. If you could drive to Prince Rupert and have your boat and trailer taken over on the ferry. This would be a lot safer and less stressful. Not having to take the tow vehicle across would save a lot of money.
Good question. These folks are not in the boat/trailer shuttle business, but they are a can-do crowd. They would know who to trust in the Charlottes with this chore.

http://www.moresbyexplorers.com

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Marco Flamingo



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did get some more information on hostelling, and then I couldn't get the dates that I needed on the BC ferry. I will have to get reservations earlier next year (at least 5 months out). But I learned that it is a one time charge of $40 up and $40 back even though there is a transfer at Bella Bella to Shearwater.

I couldn't get the dates that I really wanted, but I did reserve some dates that got me back and forth to Bella Bella. I put in a standby request for the dates that I really wanted, but that is a little complex. If somebody cancels, them I'm on a wait list for that leg. In other words, I could find out that I can get to Shearwater but with no guarantee that I can get back on the date I need. So there wasn't very much chance of it working out. After a month, I cancelled my reservation and my wait list and just made other plans.

The reservation process was a little cumbersome with long waits on the phone even to cancel the reservations. Then, two weeks ago, I received an email reminding me of my travel dates. I called and made sure that they knew that I had cancelled. Yes, yes, it had all been cancelled.

So today I received another BC Ferry email apologizing to me because my travel date (tomorrow) has been cancelled because of a mechanical problem with the ferry. That would have really screwed up my plans. Had I actually been travelling on that date, I would have already been up in Port Hardy with my boat. That must screw up a lot of things. Travel to Shearwater includes a lot of people on 4 and 5 day fishing trips. Can't get there and can't get back. It must cause chaos for the whole area.

My BC Ferry experience is starting to make driving to Bella Coola seem less burdensome and more reliable.

Mark
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Ron on Meander



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark,
The drive to Bella Coola is a great one. It goes through some of the most remote country south of the Yukon Territory and it starts at Williams Lake which is only 5 hours north of the border. To me, its worth doing for the drive itself. Plus you can set your own schedule and it will probably cost less than the ferry. Probably would want to split it into two days drive as Bella Coola is about 8 hours west of Williams Lake. Its been a few years since I've gone that way, but I believe the whole road is now paved. Still a big hill at the west end leading off the plateau down to the salt chuck. Great fun.
Cheers
Ron
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hardee



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ron, I like your logic. Thanks for the post.

Harvey
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