On Monday morning 5:45 we started our long way home. ‘Long’ simply because it is not the most direct route available to us (ferry to Vancouver Island, ferry to Vancouver, flight to Chicago, 4 nights in Chicago, flight to Zurich via New York). The stay at the Eagle Lodge in Bella Coola was really wonderful. The Smarts truely made us feel at home.
So, in order to catch the ferry out of Bella Coola we had to show up at 6:30 for “marshalling” as they call it (lining up cars). The sailing down to Port Hardy took nearly 12 hours. As during the previous days in Bella Coola we had blue sky all the way to the horizon. Whales apparently like sunshine as well, for we saw several of them rather close to the vessel.
After the arrival in Port Hardy at 8 in the evening we hit the road immediately heading south to Nanaimo. The plan was to catch the first ferry the next morning from Nanaimo to Vancouver. We needed to return our rental car by 10 o’clock in the morning. So, we made it to Nanaimo just before midnight. We parked our car right in front of the ticket both (to be the first in the morning :-)) at the ferry terminal, rolled out our sleeping bags in the back of the minivan, and settled for a short night. At 5:30 we put all the seats in our car back in place and packed our gear.
Everything worked out just perfect. We returned the car on time, took the afternoon flight from Vancouver to Chicago, and arrived at the Best Western hotel here around 11 last night. As you can guess by that time we were pretty worn out. We felt we deserved a loooong nap. Therefore, it wasn’t until 11:30 this morning that we made it out of the hotel to explore the city.