Port Hardy To Bella Bella Questions

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Layback, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. Layback

    Layback Paddler

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    74
    Location:
    Burnaby, BC
    I'm planning a trip to Bella Bella, likely starting next week.

    Plan A is to park at Port Hardy and walk the kayak onto the ferry. With the 7:30 am departure time, I will stay at a nearby campsite the night before.

    The BC Ferries website states they have limited parking spaces at the terminal. It points to parking also being available at campsites, such as Wildwoods, and the nearby PetroCan bulk station.

    BCF highly recommends reservations. And, they want people with reservations turning up 2 hours before sailing time.

    My questions are:

    Do you really need to reserve as a walk on? (I don't mind making a reservation going up. But, this question becomes more relevant for the return trip. I would prefer to leave it open, to allow for any weather delays.)

    How likely will it be that the ferry terminal parking lot is full?

    For non-ferry terminal parking, can anyone recommend a system for dumping gear at BCF, parking the vehicle and getting back to the terminal?

    Thanks in advance for any responses.

    Layback
     
  2. Outsider

    Outsider Paddler

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2013
    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Vancouver, B.C.
    I ferried from Port Hardy to Bella Bella last summer taking my vehicle with me just because it was so easy.
    This is peak season now not just for kayakers but for the tourists so it's very busy.
    I discovered going up that, had I not booked in advance, I would not have gotten on for 3 days whether I was in a vehicle or a walk on.
    Also, on the return I am like you. I don't like to set a solid return date because of the weather and also, if I do and don't get back in time for it, their may be some concern about whether or not I am okay especially if you are more than one or two days late. Don't want to be searched for when I'm okay :)
    So, I didn't reserve the ferry from Bella Bella back to Hardy and found out, when I arrived in Bella Bella that I could not get on the ferry with or without the vehicle for 5 days.
    Ultimately I took a ferry over to Bella Coola and drove over to Williams Lake through the Cariboo/Chilcoton, and down to Vancouver. A very long drive but a nice one.
     
  3. Layback

    Layback Paddler

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    74
    Location:
    Burnaby, BC
    Thanks Outsider

    Sounds like reservations are a must.

    Think what I'll do is book Port Hardy to Bella Bella and return. My original plan was to go out for a ten day loop. I'll add two more days to that, paddling a short loop near Bella Bella. If the weather goes sideways, I'll just axe the short loop and still end up in BB to catch my ferry.
     
  4. Outsider

    Outsider Paddler

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2013
    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Layback,
    If you haven't paddled in this area before, you'll love it.
    The ferry terminal is isolated and some distance to the south of Bella Bella itself.
    If you do get a chance to go up there, you'll love it too.
    Be safe:)