Where do I park when launching from Swartz Bay ferry terminal

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by designer, May 19, 2018.

  1. designer

    designer Paddler

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    I'm planning a trip to Wallace Island via Anacortes to Sydney ferry to Salt Spring. Then I'll return from FulFord Harbor on SaltSpring to Sydney at the Swartz Bay ferry terminal and leave from there to Portland Island via Knapp Island - in other words, textbook guide book route. But it wasn't clear where to park at or near the Swartz Bay ferry terminal launch point.

    Usually I can drive around and figure stuff out. But I've found a ferry terminal is busy with cars quickly loading or unloading a people zooming off in directions they already know. Not the place to stop, mid-exit, and ask for directions.

    I need to know how to exit and park for my launch, without making a lot of Canadians angry (If that's even possible). From Google Earth, it looks like I'd launch from a "beach" at the end of Barnacle Rd which is off of Dolphin Rd right next to the terminal. But in order to get there, I have to drive a long way away from the terminal, find the first exit and head back.

    Is that right?
     
  2. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Designer, just to clarify my understanding of your itinerary:

    You plan a vehicle jaunt from Swartz Bay to Saltspring Island via Fulford Harbour, and return to Swartz Bay. Then you want to park your vehicle at/near the SB ferry terminal for a several day paddle trip eventually leading to Wallace Island, and return to SB. Is that correct?

    And you plan to leave your vehicle parked at/near the SB ferry terminal for several nights also?
     
  3. designer

    designer Paddler

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    The first leg is from Anacortes to Sydney (landing at terminal 1), then drive down to the SB ferry (leaving at terminal 2) and catch a ferry there to Salt Spring/Fulford Harbor. We'll launch from the norther tip of Salt Spring and paddle across to Wallace, staying there for a couple of days. Last time - a few years ago - I just parked on the side of the dirt road at the north end.

    On return, we'd paddle back to the launch point at the north end of Salt Spring, drive down to Fulford Harbor (after perhaps a stop at the swimming pool on Rainbow Rd to clean up), and catch the ferry back to SB. That part is pretty clear to me.

    The question is about the second leg. I had planned to paddle from the SB terminal (area) across to Knapp (between Knapp and Pym) and on to Portland Island and stay there for a couple of days. Some guide book suggest paddling from SB to Coal and then head to Knapp. The question is, as I leave the ferry that arrives from Fuford Harbor (Salt Spring) what gyrations do I make to park and launch from SB toward Knapp or Coal?

    Using Google Earth, I saw a parking area and potential launch point at the end of Barnacle Rd (a left turn off of the longer Dolphin Rd). As I exit from the Ferry terminal, it looks like I drive about a mile west on Hwy 17 until I come to some kind of cloverleaf (17A) that will allow me to cross over the road and head back towards the terminal.

    It looks like I come back mostly on the same Hwy 17, but exit right to Dolphin Rd. I'd continue on Dolphin until I'd turn left on Barnacle. It looks like there is a parking area and launch beach at the end of Barnacle and an Icon on Google Earth says, Dock Side Charter.

    The goal is 1) not cause a traffic jam as I leave the ferry terminal. 2) Find a place to park where I can launch the boats and leave the car, safely, for a few days. 3) Hopefully not have to pay a daily parking fee - though I understand I might have to and it is just part of the cost of the adventure (like the 400 mile drive from Oregon and the Ferry from Anacortes to Sydney).

    Overall plans are in flux. Yesterday, I thought I had limited days - squeezing this in before my paddling partner's other commitment on June 2nd. Which was fine with me because the weather looks like it will be nice. But just today, plans changed with the idea that driving up after June 2nd to allow for a more open ended trip. Also, we would not be on the road around Memorial day (a good thing).

    I still want to stop at Wallace because after my first visit years ago, I picked up a shingle and wood burning tool and made my "sign" to put in the house/cabin. I dated it 201, leaving the last number off because I wasn't sure what year I'd get back (but hopefully before 2020). I figured I'd hang around Wallace with day trips north. But after reading more suggestions, it seemed a shame to be in the area and not at least check out Portland Island.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  4. Tangler

    Tangler Paddler

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    I have launched from the Barnacle road beach a few times, but not recently (10 yrs or more).
    Parking space was always a problem but it looks like it has been expanded since I was last there.
    Just go with the flow off the ferry and take a likely looking right at your first opportunity. None of the over passes are really that far if you are driving. Don't panic...
    Maybe someone with more recent local knowledge has better information.
    Portland is very nice. You may have to pay for camping and National park day use fees.
     
  5. WGalbraith

    WGalbraith Paddler

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    I frequently use the parking by the ferry terminal. As you are heading North toward the terminal, stay in the right lane and go straight through the intersection on the overpass. That will put you on Dolphin Rd. Turn on the next left on Barnacle, immediately after the chain linked enclosure for Piers Island Residents. There are a dozen or so parking spaces on the left that may or may not be available. At the end of the road is a Government dock in traditional bright gloss red. To the left(West) is a short, lumpy, wet path to the launch at the beach. Local residents are for some reason not fond of anyone parking anywhere else and you will be ticketed/towed. I suppose if no parking is available here, you could drop off your gear and boats, drive the car into the long term BC Ferries lot and pay the fees of $12.00 per 24 hours. You would return to the launch by walking away from the terminal crossing the overpass, and walking down Dolphin Rd. I strongly suggest you attempt parking here during the week and not a Friday.