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Pacific Ferries adds scenic cruise to new schedule

Pacific Ferries
Pacific Ferries’ Coastal Clipper pulls into Gibsons Harbour May 15.

After a winter hiatus to refit two vessels and reorganize, Pacific Ferries has been plying the waters of Howe Sound with a new Gibsons - Horseshoe Bay - Coal Harbour route for a month now, and this week the company added a scenic cruise to its offerings.

The daily trip departs Coal Harbour in the morning with long stops in Gibsons and Snug Cove on Bowen Island before heading back to Vancouver to take passengers around Stanley Park and Vancouver Harbour.

Pacific Ferries started the tours on Monday, and the first passengers were met by Gibsons councillors Silas White and Jeremy Valeriote as well as Town CAO Emanuel Machado and Gibsons Chamber of Commerce executive director Chris Nicholls.

Andrew Saleh, tours manager for Pacific Ferries, said the company has been noticing a demand from visitors coming into Vancouver who want to see more of the region. He said they’ve already seen a good response and have at least 800 bookings so far.  “We’re seeing big numbers. It’s exciting… So far the [passengers] are enjoying it.”

Nicholls said having Gibsons as one of the stops is going to add to the vibrancy of the Landing during the summer. “It’s really going to give a boost to the businesses in Gibsons Landing… Over the last few months we’ve had many new businesses and new business owners,” he said.

The full-day tours are running until Sept. 15.

Sailings on Pacific Ferries’ weekday commuter service resumed April 10. Manager Alex Varkevisser said the feedback has been very positive. He also said they’ve noticed a pattern.

“A lot more commuters coming [for the return trip] in the afternoons… It’s been close to full, anywhere from 30 to 40 people. The mornings have been consistent as well,” said Varkevisser, adding that having the second boat has meant an improvement in reliability and on-time performance.