Ferries & Float Planes in the Pacific Northwest

Arriving into Vancouver

Visiting 3 cities over 2 countries in 8 days may sound like too much hard work, but when you consider that Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver all border the same sea it starts to sound far more reasonable. What is more, as I discovered, there is no need for jumbo jets and international airports to get you from A to B as a comprehensive network of ferries and float planes link these 3 fabulous and varied cities.

America’s newest tech city, Seattle, is the trendy younger sibling to San Francisco.  The clever and the cool are flocking here to enjoy a fun, smart city that offers easy access to the great outdoors.  Just steps from downtown is the Victoria Clipper, a high speed catamaran service that departs twice daily to Victoria, Canada.  The Clipper whisked me northwards, passing forested islands and the mountains of the Olympic National Park.  A pod of porpoises kept pace for a while.  After less than 3 hours on the water we arrived into the Inner Harbour, Victoria.

Departing Seattle by clipper

Here, Canadian immigration is a casual affair and you step out of the terminal into the heart of the city.  Famed for its British colonial architecture, Victoria offers a gentle pace of life on land and some of the world’s best whale watching in nearby waters.  The harbour is also an airport with a stream of float planes coming and going all day long.  In fact, Inner Harbour is the only airport that has been closed due to orcas on the runway.

Next it was my turn to climb aboard the cosy Cessna float plane.  Soon after an imperceptible and smooth take-off I was looking down at the sparkling, still expanse of the Salish Sea.  Fir tree covered islets dot the view and the pilot graced us with a slight descent and figure-of-eight fly-past as we overtook a pod of orcas just below.

Harbour Air Seaplanes Victoria Inner Harbour

As I caught my breath from this close encounter the skyline of glittering Vancouver came into view, a mere 35 minutes from Victoria.  The final stop on this 3 city tour, Vancouver is a modern city with a frontier outlook and position. From here you can extend your stay and head into the remote mountains or just sit back and enjoy the wonderful seafood and scenery that Vancouver has to offer.


Sound like the holiday for you? Book your trip to Canada today!


Tom Dale is a Product Manager for North America. Having previously lived in the Midwest, he has a vast knowledge of iconic USA and a passion for trekking holidays – which often involve tracking down the finest craft beer in the region. 


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