A Different Kind of “Cruise Ship” in British Columbia

From the official site

From the official site

In most people’s minds, the mention of taking a “cruise” will unfortunately conjure up an image of a megalithic super ship with ice rinks, buffet lines, and shopping, shopping, shopping!  But the word cruise does not pertain to the type of ship, but rather the method of travel without destination.  In that sense, most travelers would appreciate a boat “cruise” – albeit not the aforementioned type.

For those who would like to explore an area by sea, stopping in at various ports along the way with even a drop on-drop-off schedule, you would definitely want to take a voyage aboard the M.V. Uchuck III. Get West Adventure Cruises operates the M.V. Uchuck III during the summer months on the West Coast of Vancouver island.  The boat operates as a supply ship to remote villages and work camps along the coast.  Throughout the voyage you will see the ship at work, an exciting experience to see a fading tradition in coastal industrial history.

The northwest coast of Vancouver Island is a bit of a rarity in North America. Many of the communities have no road access and depend on ships like the Uchuck for a connection to the outside world.  It’s a wild place with killer whales, sea lions, bald eagles, and bears – all of which you will have a great chance of seeing along the way.  The forested mountains that pierce the sea and sky will leave you in awe every mile of the journey.

No matter the weather conditions, this coastline shines with wonder.  On sunny days, you will be mesmerized by the beautiful land and sea scapes that abound with every turn.  On days when the skies are gray, the mood becomes mysterious as the forest takes on a new life, giving a spooky calm sense all around that has to be experienced to understand.

The hiking and kayaking around this coastline is second to none.  Kayakers can bring their boats on board for an extra $20 each way, and even request a ‘wet launch’ where they are lowered directly to the water in their kayak.  From there the exploration options are endless, particularly in Nootka Sound, where the Uchuck heads every Tuesday.

Alhtough the friendly crew is busy working their duties, they will be often be able to answer questions and share stories on a free moment.

You can purchase tickets to any of the ports on the route, and for under $100 you will have a round trip ticket to anywhere she stops.  For those with a pressed time schedule, you can stay aboard the boat and do a day trip for it’s return journey.  More information on tours and schudles is available via the website.

The Uchuck leaves from Gold River, BC, roughly 2 hours from the Nanaimo Ferry Terminal and airport.

This should definitely be on the list for those who crave outdoor adventure.  This little-known gem of an activity will help you redefine the word “cruise” to include a modest supply ship on a spectacular BC island coastline. Don’t forget your Camera Sling as the coastline will offer up some fantastic photo opportunities!

By Steve Andrews

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