|Subject: RE: Victoria/Vancouver Island|
Back in 1998 I caught the bus from Vancouver to Seattle (to fly to NYC for a week before flying back into Seattle) then took the Victoria Clipper from Seattle to Victoria, Vancouver Island. It was a great service - I had half a day in Seattle so I cloaked my bag at the Clipper terminal and spent the day at the markets (watch the fish-throwing :) )then ferried over to Victoria where I went through customs at the terminal.
Ferry fares: http://www.bcferries.bc.ca/fares/
Victoria Clipper fares/schedules: http://www.victoriaclipper.com/marketing/information_fares.shtml
After spending a few days in Victoria I travelled by car with a friend up to ??? (I can't remember - the town with all the amazing murals painted on building walls) where I caught a bus that *just* made it in time to Nanaimo for my ferry for the ride back to Vancouver. The buses were *very* erratic and infrequent on Vancouver Island - without the local friend giving me a lift it would have been difficult.
Michelle has already posted lots of helpful info - Victoria on Vancouver Island is indeed a wonderful spot to spend a couple of days. I went whale watching on a Zodiac, caught a bus to Butchart (stayed into the evening to see it lit up), and visited the museum and saw a wonderful IMAX movie on whales. The waterfront is lovely to stroll along and I believe taking tea at the Empress Hotel is a must-do? There's also a restaurant whose name escapes me (I think it's Pagliacci's) which serves a lasagne that Mel Gibson supposedly rates as the best he's eaten. If it's good enough for Mel ... it was certainly good enough for me! An extra plug for that place - they treated me wonderfully when I dined there as I was dining solo but the staff were wonderful and extra attentive.
Hope some of this helps! :) Megan Brisbane, Australia