Tag Archives: BC Ferries

Powell River Is Where?

It takes about five hours to travel 120 kms from my home in Powell River to Vancouver. Each ferry takes a bit under an hour, add the waiting at the ferry terminals, plus the small curvy road all the way down, and it becomes a major trek.

But lots of folk don’t quite understand where Powell River is. Some think it’s on Vancouver Island but it’s not, and many don’t quite understand why it’s a bit isolated. So I took a coaster to explain.

Please note – I was a little off on my ‘end of road’ marker, so add another half inch or so. This is where the road, highway 101, ends (or begins) on the west coast. You can’t go any further north.

About this road: If you were to hop in your car at the little fishing village of Lund, about 30 minutes north of Powell River, and you kept going south, you’d end up in Chile.

And one last little piece of trivia. I used to work at the ferry at Saltery Bay. If all this isn’t enough, I’ve included a bonus picture of me on one of my better days.

Seeing The Island Sky

Below, the Powell River Kings on board the Island Sky ferry at Saltery Bay, south of Powell River, where I worked until recently. (Although the last few years were on shore working the ramp and selling tickets).

The BCHL Kings were on their way to Nanaimo to face the Clippers and were being serenaded by the ship’s first officer. At this writing, the Kings lead the Clippers two games to one in Island Division playoff action.

The BCHL is wonderful hockey and a host of players end up with hockey scholarships throughout North America.

Many go beyond too.

Brett Hull played for Penticton, Carey Price stopped pucks for Quesnel, Sens forward Kyle Turris starred for Burnaby, and most importantly of course – Scott Gomez dazzled with South Surrey.

Thanks to Beatnik for sending me this. I was there when the Island Sky was a brand new ship having just arrived and it’s nice to see it again. I had worked on two other ships prior to the Island Sky – the Queen of Tsawwassen, which is now in retirement, and the Queen of Chilliwack, that sails the inner passage to Prince Rupert.

A New Year Comin’ Up Fast

Canada plays the U.S. today in World Junior action, and it’s the Habs in Carolina this evening to meet the Hurricanes.

It’s a good hockey day, and even better if both Canada and the Canadiens win.

But before all this action takes place, I’d like to wish everyone a very great 2014. I hope it becomes a terrific year for you and yours.

2013 was a big year for Luci and I. I retired from B.C. Ferries, packed up things in Powell River, and we drove across the country to start anew in Montreal. And even with the frosty air and slippery streets, we both agree that it’s been just great and we’re excited about the new year.

Again, from me to you, happy 2014. Be safe and have fun.


I need to turn this computer off and regroup. After the typo in my last post (“there” instead of “their”) which I caught hours later, I need to refocus.

I don’t understand it. My drug dealer said my latest combination of opiates, novocaine, and vodka and soda, along with my usual snorting of Vicks Vapor Rub, would help and it hasn’t.

I hate having to juggle medication. But I will, because it’s all about you.

Speaking of typos, my friend Dave Moore from BC Ferries tells me they wished me a nice retirement in the company newsletter, only they spelled my name “Denise”.

Ten Years Ago

Yesterday I celebrated a bit of an anniversary. Ten years at BC Ferries. Ten years is the magic mark there and it’s been my target for…uh…ten years.

Only one other time have I worked ten years at a job. Driving semis for National Grocers in Ottawa. Other than that it’s been four or five here and there over a long stretch, including other semi driving jobs, assembling toilet doors, framing Gulf Oil signs, milkman, shipper and receiver several times, mill worker, labourer, highway worker, pub owner, produce picker, bartender many times, warehouseman, furniture deliverer, hole digger, nail hitter, and weekly newspaper columnist for a couple of different papers.

Ten years ago…..wow, how time flies.



Recchi Spews (And Other Stuff Completely Unrelated)

I heard on TSN today, before heading to the ferry terminal, Mark Recchi’s blabberings about how the extent of Max Pacioretty’s injury was embellished by the Habs looking for a suspension for Zdeno Chara. I figured this would be the Bruins’ party line once it was discovered that Max was out of the hospital quickly and could be back playing in the playoffs.

First it was Brad Marchand polluting the air a couple of weeks ago, and now Recchi. And they call us whiners!

It only goes to show that some hockey players, as in all walks of life,  just aren’t tremendously gifted in the brain department. Marchand for sure. I just didn’t know Recchi was cut from the same cloth.

And to think Recchi was once a Montreal Canadien.

Below – the first leg of our trip to Ontario – leaving Powell River on a ferry to Vancouver Island. As you can see from the pics, Powell River isn’t exactly Montreal or Toronto. But it’s a lovely town with lovely people. And scattered throughout are Habs fans, although you have to look for awhile.

Click on the photos and enlarge them. In the bottom one of Powell River you’ll notice buildings at the top of the hill. We live just to the left of these with a view of  ferries and tugboats coming and going. The big square condo at the top of the picture is just down the street from us.

We’re in Courtenay now and I’m sad to report that my favourite sports bar has been renovated and is now full of padded chairs with high backs and a fireplace. They’ve ruined a fine place. Big padded chairs and fireplaces should be illegal in sports bars. And instead of a dozen TV’s, there’s just one.

Tomorrow –  Ottawa.

Someday Ottawa will have an NHL team too!


London, Paris, And Powell River At Her Mercy

Travellers in London and Paris weren’t the only ones held hostage by Mother Nature lately.

High winds forced the ferry that delivers folks back and forth between Vancouver Island and Powell River to tie up until it was safe to sail, thus stranding people trying to get home for Christmas.

It was a mess. I know because I’m a ferry worker, working just south of Powell River on another route, and we heard all about it.

The ferry terminal in Powell River was littered with cars and people bearing gifts with nowhere to go and stuck until further notice. Hundreds of people. Many waited all night and through the next day. Anger and anxiety cropped up. The boys in blue were called to maintain peace and good will.

Some finally took the long and winding road south to Vancouver, crossed over in more stable waters, and headed back up the Island, an island they could see just across the water when they were stuck in the parking lot, before they made the decision to go the long way around.

An hour and a half journey on one ferry became a twelve or fourteen hour ordeal involving three ferries – two to Vancouver and one more to Vancouver Island.

One fellow, flying from Edmonton to Comox with plans to ferry over to Powell River to visit his dad, found out after arriving that the boat wasn’t sailing and decided to grab a cab down to Nanaimo to get another sailing across to Vancouver. The taxi ride cost him $200.

Late Christmas Eve, after two days of waiting, the winds finally died down and the ferry started up. It even sailed an extra sailing at midnight to make sure everyone going home for Christmas actually got there.

There are a lot of people in different parts of the world, including the slightly isolated little town of Powell River, BC, who aren’t happy with that old broad Mother Nature right now.

Great, Great Olympic Pictures. And Where I Work, Whether You Like It Or Not

I have to get these in because first of all, they’re amazingly beautiful. Secondly, they came out in the Boston Globe. And thirdly, the first picture is where I work, and I was working that morning when the torch went through.

Yes, yes, I know. This is a Habs blog. So I’ll just say this; almost everyone who works here – ticket agents, terminal attendants, deckhands, officers, catering crew, engineers, captains – are Vancouver Canucks fans. (Although a few hate hockey). I have no one to talk to about the Habs. That’s why you guys are so important.

The Boston Globe ran some incredibly beautiful pictures recently from the Olympics, including the one below which is where I work, at the Saltery Bay Ferry terminal. This picture was taken from the ferry.

They’re all right here, at Olympic photos. Have a look. Trust me, they’re unbelievable.