Living on Vancouver Island [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vancouver_Island] , there is no other way to get off the island other than by ferry. BC Ferries [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BC_Ferries ] is one of the largest of such ferry operation in the world. The vessels are massive by any standard (I have seen other ferry operations in Europe, to compare). BC Ferries has a large fleet of different sizes vessels [ http://www.bcferries.com/onboard-experiences/fleet/ ].
Because Vancouver Island is mainly formed from rocks, above and under the water, negotiating large vessels requires good technology and expert handling. In addition, the presence of under water gas lines (see also Vancouver Island Pipeline marine rights of way, http://www.fortisbc.com.
Interesting points: It has happened in the past that a crossing has had its problems, either the vessel not being able to stop in time and hit the dock at the arrival area (example: [ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-ferry-crash-shuts-down-terminal-for-months-1.1001810 ]. Or more serious, when in 2006 the Queen of the North (fifth largest in the fleet) collided with under water rocks and sank, with 101 people on board, mostly saved, two lost – never found. [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Queen_of_the_North ].

I always enjoy taking a ferry trip to one of the Gulf Islands, Strait of Georgia, between mainland BC and Vancouver Island. Last weekend my trip to Salt Spring Island. (see also: next post on Salt Spring Island). Left my car at Ferry Terminal parking (cost of car on Ferry is C$35 + C$12 for passenger/driver, quite expensive for 35 minutes crossing). Disadvantage to not crossing with car is to have to rely on public transport at each end. That weekend the ferry was 30 minutes late both ways. Buses must run on schedule, meaning no ready transport from terminal harbour to town sites. Yet, the major ferries between Vancouver Island and the mainland (Vancouver) are usually on schedule.

 

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