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Traveling to Your Discovery Islands Cruise Adventure with Beth Boyce

Note: You can also download a PDF version of this page, more suitable for printing. Broughton Archipelago map

Important points:

Our Discovery Islands Coastal History Adventure begins in the town of Campbell River, located about 160 miles north of Victoria on the east side of Vancouver Island. Here the Columbia III will await your arrival.

Getting to Campbell River

There are a number of ways of getting to Campbell River. The simplest is to fly directly from either Vancouver or Seattle to Campbell River's regional airport. (CYBL) Flying time from Vancouver to Campbell River is approx 45 minutes. Other ways include the combination of either car and ferry or bus and ferry. Ferry crossing time from Vancouver to Vancouver Island is approx. 2 hours. Driving time from Nanaimo to Campbell River is 1.5 hours, or from Victoria to Campbell River is 3.5 hours.

By Air

From Vancouver

-Pacific Coastal Airlines runs numerous daily flights to Campbell River 1-800-663-2872 or 604-273-8666 (in Vancouver).

-Central Mountain Air: daily flights to Campbell River 1-888-865-8585 or 250-847-5000

-Air Canada: acts as a booking agent for Pacific Coastal Airlines and Central Mountain Air if an Air Canada ticket has been purchased to a connecting airport (i.e., Vancouver). 1-800-247-2262 (in Canada) or 1-800-776-3000 (in USA)

From Seattle

-Kenmore Air Seaplanes has direct flights to Campbell River 1-800-543-9595 or 425-486-1257 (in Seattle).

From Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta

-West Jet has daily flights to Comox (a town 45 minutes south of Campbell River by road) 1-888-937-8538.

By Surface
Ferry service to Vancouver Island

From Vancouver

-B.C. Ferries: year round vehicle and passenger service - Routes include: North Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) to Nanaimo (Departure Bay), South Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to South Nanaimo (Duke Point) and South Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Swartz Bay (near Victoria) 1-888-223-3779 or outside B.C. 250-386-3431.

From Washington State

-M.V. Coho: vehicle and passenger ferry service from Port Angeles WA to downtown Victoria B.C.
-Washington State Ferries: vehicle and passenger service from Anacortes WA to Sidney B.C. (near Victoria) 1-888-808-7977 or 206-464-4600 (Seattle).
-Victoria Clipper: passengers-only, from downtown Seattle to downtown Victoria B.C. 1-800-888-2535.
Bus Services

In Vancouver Area

-Vancouver airport shuttle: hourly service from airport to downtown bus station 1-800-668-3141

-Greyhound Canada: service from Vancouver's downtown bus station to Campbell River. Ferry crossing included. 1-800- 661-8747 or 604-681-3526 (in Vancouver).

On Vancouver Island

-Island Coach Lines (a division of Greyhound Canada): frequent service between Victoria, Nanaimo, and Campbell River 1-800-318-0818 or 250-287-7151 (in Campbell River).

In Campbell River

-Campbell River Taxi/Airporter 250-287-8294
-Bee Line Taxi 250-287-8383
Car Rental Providers

-Budget Car Rentals 1-800-268-8900 or 250-923-4283 (in Campbell River)
-National Car Rentals 1-800-227-7368 or 250-923-1234 (in Campbell River)

Guest Information

Visiting Vancouver Island

Many of our guests like to explore Vancouver Island before or after their adventure on the Columbia III. Please contact Tourism Vancouver Island (250)754- 3500 or for ideas and information. Accommodation throughout B.C. can be arranged through 1-800-435-5622 or

Campbell River

For those guests who wish to arrive prior to our departure, or stay later after our trip, many hotels and bed & breakfasts are available in Campbell River. Further information is also available from the Campbell River & District Chamber of Commerce: (250) 287-4636.


There is a variety of parking available. Please ask for directions at the boat when you arrive.

Contacting Columbia III

The Columbia III can be contacted at 250-202-4745. The Mothership office can be reached at 1-888-833-8887 or 250-202-3229. In the case of an extreme emergency, the boat can be contacted directly by calling the Canadian Coast Guard in Victoria 1-250-363-6333. Ask them to send a message to MV Columbia III (quote this number: MMSI# 316-003-614) sailing in the Discovery Islands area. We are often off the boat so expect a response to take 12 hours. The ship's phone is not for guest use. See our website for more contact information.


We are happy to accommodate any personal dietary needs including vegetarian and vegan. Wine will be served with the evening meal. If you would like an alternative to alcohol please let us know on your medical form. Please notify us of any food allergies or needs on the medical form well in advance of your departure date.

Medical, Allergies, and Other Concerns

Mail us your completed Medical Form ASAP. Your tetanus vaccination must be up to date (less than 10 years old) before you leave. Be sure to bring enough of your required medications as you will be far from any drug stores. We may encounter minor ocean swells so if seasickness is a concern, please bring anti nausea medication. But rest assured, we travel in very sheltered areas and overnight in calm, protected bays. We do our best to avoid swells and waves!

Weather, Clothing, and Packing

Our skipper and certified guides will not take you in any weather conditions that are dangerous to you or the group. We will likely encounter some wind and waves (the ocean is not always flat!), but nothing that would compromise the safety of the group or a beginner kayaker.

For maximum comfort, a layering system of lighter "quick-dry" and warmer fleece clothing works best. Merino wool is excellent as well. Avoid cotton which stays wet for a very long time. Waterproof raingear is essential. When getting in and out of the skiff on shore excursions your feet WILL get wet. We suggest a pair of sturdy water sandals/ shoes or rubber boots. Proper protection from the sun is essential so bring sun glasses, a sun hat, sun block and lip screen. Bring a water bottle. Staying hydrated in the outdoors is very important.

Consider bringing the items listed on the packing list we provide.

We have waterproof bags (dry bags) onboard that you can use for your cameras or other small items on our skiff excursions if you like. Large Ziploc bags work as well. Hard suitcases are difficult to fit into the small storage compartments on the Columbia III, so if possible, bring your things in soft duffel type bags.

NOTE: Although not required, if you'd like to express your appreciation to the guides through a gratuity, such recognition would be enthusiastically received. The industry standard for tipping is approximately 10 percent of the trip cost. All tips will be equally distributed among your crew

Packing List

Suggested reading/resource list annotated by Jeanette Taylor, updated May 2017:
Some of the books are out-of-print but should be available through libraries. Favourites are marked with asterisks (*); many of these will be on board for the cruise:

The Age of Exploration

General Histories

Aboriginal History & Culture

Natural History


Web Sites