Sunday, November 24, 2013

Let's Fly on a Seaplane to Victoria BC!

Victoria BC is a popular day or weekend trip from Seattle. The provincial capital (literally, the capital of British Columbia) is a beautiful city and is the gateway to Vancouver Island and Vancouver city for many travelers. It is a small, walkable city with family friendly attractions and decent transit options for getting out to the attractions that are a little further out, such as Buchart Gardens.

There are a couple different way to get to Victoria from Seattle. There is the Victoria Clipper for foot passengers, the car friendly Black Ball Line from Port Angeles, and automobile ferries from either Anacortes or Tsawwassen in BC. I have taken all of these, but there are two more options: You can fly from Seatac into Victoria airport (located to the north of the city) or... you can fly in style on a seaplane into the inner harbor itself with Kenmore Air.

If you are looking to make the journey, here are a couple helpful links to your options (All estimates are just that: estimates):

  1. Kenmore Air (Seaplanes from Lake Union in Seattle)
    • 45 minutes, ~$135 to Victoria and $159 to Seattle (~$295 round trip), passenger only.
  2. Victoria Clipper (Fast Foot Ferry from Seattle Waterfront)
    • 2.75 hours, $88 one way or $140 round trip ($107 with advance purchase, passenger only.
  3. Black Ball Line Ferry (Auto Ferry from Port Angeles)
    • 4.5 hours (2 hours, plus 2-2.5 hours by car from Seattle), ~$150 round trip ($34 round trip for a passenger, $87 round trip for a car, $13.55 for Seattle to Bainbridge Island with a car, plus gas).
  4. WSDOT Ferries (Auto Ferry from Anacortes)
    • 4.5-5 hours (2.75 hours, plus 1.5-2 hours from Seattle), $81 round trip (plus gas)
  5. BC Ferries (Auto Ferry from BC)
    • 4.5-5.5 hours (1.5 hours, plus 3 hours drive from), $125 round trap (plus gas)

I had never tried Kenmore Air and when the opportunity came up to fly this time around, I jumped on it. Kenmore Air is a small nearly seaplane only airline that flies out of Lake Union and into the Victoria Harbor. Prices right now are about $135 each way for the short 45 minute minute flight, which is just about double the fare of the Victoria Clipper. The disadvantage with Kenmore Air besides price is that you are limited to very little in the way of luggage (about 10kg). However, in many ways it's a better deal overall: Not only does it take less time (about 2 hours faster), but there is less hassle checking in and waiting for your trip to start. Oh, and the views. Flying low over the Puget Sound is amazing!

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