Up around 05:15. The ship didn’t sail until 07:30, but friggin’ BC Ferries requires you to be there 90 minutes prior to sailing, or else they can give your spot away. I thought maybe this was just the propaganda that the ferry service posts in order to get folks there in time to be processed (like the airlines), but when I asked Andrea, she said it wasn’t just a hollow threat. After a hot coffee at Andrea’s, and pocketing a couple of fresh blueberry muffins for the road, I was off.
They were putting all the bikes into one lane at the ferry loading area, so I was able to shoot the breeze with a few other two-wheeled travellers. Didn’t even have enough time to grab another coffee before they loaded the bikes (first) onto the ship … the mighty M. V. Northern Expedition.
The loading and tie-down process went better than expected. The bike was centered between two recessed cleats, propped on its sidestand, and a tiered block placed under the low side of the bash-plate. Then a 3 or 4 inch tie-down was passed over the saddle, anchored between the cleats, and cinched down tight against the block. The staff member who did the cinching was over enthusiastic (in my opinion), but when I checked the bash-plate, it didn’t look like it had bent or buckled.
All safe and secured
Although they loaded the bikes first, it didn’t hurry the loading process (they still had to load everybody else), so I had a fair amount of time to kill once I was on board. Took the opportunity to stake out a seat, and capture some footage of the activity around the loading process.
Relic is alive and well!!
The grain terminal in Prince Rupert
· The ship seemed fairly new, and well appointed. Cafeteria (licensed!), fine-dining restaurant, gift shop, etc. You could book cabins or a spot in the first-class lounge for a fee (which I passed on) but the normal ‘steerage’ seating was made of comfortable leather lounge chairs. Just like the Caribbean cruise we did last winter, I seemed to spend the entire time trying to figure out where the hell I was on the boat … all those corridors and decks look the same.