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Getting to the Gulf Islands
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Getting to the Gulf Islands
  Gulf Islands Travel Tip

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The Southern Gulf Islands are located in the Strait of Georgia which lies between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia. Access to the Southern Gulf Islands is by BC Ferries via the Swartz Bay terminal at the foot of Highway 17 just past Sydney on Vancouver Island and the Tsawwassen Terminal at the foot of Highway 17 in Delta on BC's mainland.
Sailing times from Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay are anywhere from 60 minutes to three hours depending on which island you are visiting. Reservations are recommended at the Tsawwassen Terminal and it's almost impossible to get on during the summer or holiday weekends without them. Reservations are not accepted at the Swartz Bay terminal on Vancouver Island.
Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island services the Penders, Mayne, Saturna, Galiano and Salt Spring Island. There are more sailings from Vancouver Island to the Southern Gulf Islands than from the mainland and during the busy season when the sailings from Vancouver are full, many motorists board the ferry to Victoria (Swartz Bay) and sail to the other islands from there. The price is the same, just as long as you let them know where you are going and ask for a thru-fare coupon.
Salt Spring Island, the most populated island, has three ferry harbors: Fulford Harbour; Long Harbour and Vesuvius Bay. BC Ferries sails out of Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island to Fulford Harbour at least a dozen times a day. Ferries from Tsawwassen on the mainland leave for Long Harbour 2 or 3 times a day. Vesuvius Bay has hourly sailings from 7am to 11pm from Crofton on Vancouver Island.
There is a minimum of two sailings a day going in both directions from both terminals to the rest of the islands except Saturna Island. Passengers and motorists from the mainland wishing to reach Saturna Island need to go to Vancouver Island and board the ferry at Swartz Bay.
The schedules change twice a year, summer and winter. For rates and current schedules and to make reservations call 888 BC Ferry or visit their website at http://www.bcferries.com

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