It takes about 3.5 hours to travel from Victoria to Vancouver International. Even so, I recommend you stay in Vancouver the night before. Ferries can have mechanical problems, can be required to help another boater in distress, a medical emergency. Another ferry than yours could hit the dock and take it out enough to cancel ferries for the rest of the day. Be wise, give yourself the previous day to get over here.
Alternatively, you could fly over in 25 minutes and connect to your flight pretty easily. Air Canada and WestJet.
Here's a recent example of a not frequent but stuffed up day on BC Ferries: timescolonist.com/news/local/b-c-ferries-pas…Edited: 5:35 am, March 23, 2014
if you want to spend the friday on the island, just ask your hotel to store your luggage for the day while you do whatever you are doing. then take the 5:00 or 7:00 p.m. ferry from swartz bay to tsawwassen and book a hotel at the vancouver airport (the delta is nice). tell them you want a late check out for 12:00 so you can have your room until you leave for the airport...they'll have a shuttle. just less stressful then worring about getting from the island to the mainland on the saturday.
Do not try to take ferry on same day as flight.
I work on the ferry, and most of the time we are on time, BUT like previous poster says anything can happen to delay us and you don't want to miss your flight.
Anything from medical emergencies, assisting other vessels, weather or mechanical issues can get us behind by a few hours and you don't have a few hours to waste when you need to be at airport at noon.
Thank you all for this advice. We have decided to stay in Victoria and catch the 10am flight to Vancouver International airport. It arrives at 10.24am.
Good call. You will come in at the Domestic Terminal, of course. There is an observation area up one level in that terminal which looks out over the runways, if you happen to have some time and interest to spare. Then you will need to walk about 8 minutes to the International Terminal. There is an indoor corridor to do so. Pretty straightforward. But before you do, look out for the First Nations art which can be found throughout Domestic and International.
There is a PDF that won't link here. Google for "art and architecture - Vancouver International Airport" to find it.
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