A ferry tale: Port Hardy – Haines

After we reached Port Hardy at the end of Vancouver Island, the ferry traveling started. And this multiple times.

Port Hardy – Prince Rupert
The ferry to Prince Rupert would leave at 7.30 in the morning already and we were supposed to be there at 5.30. We were looking for a campground as close to the ferry terminal as possible therefor. However, we still had to get up at 4.30 and it was pitch dark at that time. We managed to put down the tents somehow and moved out to the ferry. As expected, we had to wait first, which isn’t that funny if you had to get up that early… We left Port Hardy finally around 7.30. And the journey on the pretty new ferry (built 2009 in Papenburg, Germany) through the islands was wonderful; also thanks to the great weather we had. We reached Prince Rupert (British Columbia, Canada) around 10.30pm and cycled to our hostel. And then we did all that, what we couldn’t do the last few days and weeks: washing clothes, answering emails, putting pictures online and so on.
From Prince Rupert, we reserved seats on the ferry of the Alaska Marine Highway (AMH) to Juneau, Alaska. This one would leave at 6.30am already and people with cars were supposed to be there 3 hours ahead. We checked, if that would also be the case for cyclist and it was unfortunately…

Prince Rupert – Juneau
We were thinking about not even go to bed this time but still did for getting at least some hours of sleep. Around 3a.m., we were on our way to the ferry terminal again. We got our tickets but than we had to wait for another hour till the border control opened their booths… And this check was very detailed. The woman in charge asked a lot of questions and even searched some of our bags. I guess cyclists are very suspicious… And also a “good morning” was too much to ask. Anyway, we made it to the ferry and were the first ones on deck. The great thing of the ferries of the AMH is, that you can put up your tent on the deck. You have your own little cabin without paying for a cabin this way. The first thing we did therefor, was to put up our tent and then we went straight back to sleep. It was just around 5a.m… When we woke up again, we were already on our way and the sun was shining. The journey took around 30 hours and went through a very nice island region. One of the stops was in Ketchikan, where several cruise ships were in the harbor and a lot of of planes starting on the water. So you see, there was always something going on and otherwise there was a lot of food as well ;-).
We reached the harbor of Juneau (the capital of Alaska), which is way outside of the city itself, shortly after lunch time. However, neither the harbor nor the city itself are very big but we could get here food for the next few weeks and enjoy good coffee and dessert in a local coffee shop. And we visited the Mendelhall glacier and saw the first Salmons of the season (they seemed to be late this year). Unfortunately, there wasn’t any bear around even if some were seen the day before. We were probably just too late because it was already 11a.m. and a lot of other people were around as well. We were pretty confident that we will see some bears during the next few weeks anyway :-).

Juneau – Haines
Our next ferry would leave around 8 the next morning and we were supposed to be there at 6a.m. However, we were there around 6.45a.m. and still had to wait. First, the slow ferry to Haines (4 hours) had to get ready. It would leave at 7a.m. Our fast ferry Fairweather could be boarded afterwards. It took her 2 hours to Haines. It was really fast, almost too fast to take pictures, especially of whales, which we saw several on the way. And yes, then we were in Haines. From here we would cycle again till our destination Anchorage. This would be around 1’000 miles. So far was cycling in the US/Canada pretty easy, we could get fresh food almost every day and the risk of bears was close to zero. That would change now. More about that in the next post.

All the best,


PS: The pictures of the ferry journey can be found in the Gallery.

About Stefan

I'm a telecommunication engineer by profession and like to discover the world by bike. I think, that it is the perfect speed to move but still be in touch with the world and the people which live there. And I'm very happy, that my wife Susanna is joining me now on those adventures. If you are interested in other journeys we did so far, please also check my website www.biketravel.net. Stefan, Switzerland

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