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Port Alberni ferry company offers rides by donation this December

The Frances Barkley ferry is pictured. (CTV News) The Frances Barkley ferry is pictured. (CTV News)
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Travel aboard the Frances Barkley ferry in Port Alberni, B.C., is being offered for free or by donation this December, with funds going towards local charities.

The sailings will take place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday as the boat travels up the Alberni Inlet to Bamfield and back during the month of December.

The special sailings are being offered by Port Alberni's Lady Rose Marine Services with the intention of giving back during the holiday season.

"There’s probably some people that would like to go but maybe they can’t afford it, or they just talked about it and never got around to doing it," said Greg Willmon, president of The Lady Rose Marine Services.

Donations raised by the sailings will go to two local charities: The Ty Watson House Port Alberni and the Salvation Army.

"Both are great causes and they help out the needy in the Alberni Valley," said Willmon on Wednesday.

The Lady Rose Marine Services will match up to $5,000 raised, and the company hopes to raise at least $10,000 in total through the campaign.

Willmon says that Port Alberni Budget Car Rental has donated $250 to the fundraiser and is challenging other local businesses to get involved.

The Frances Barkley is a passenger and freight vessel that travels up the Alberni Inlet to Bamfield, making stops at remote communities along the way.

One of the ferry's stops is at Canada’s only floating post office twice a week. Marine life and wildlife can be seen throughout the trip as well.

The Frances Barkley ferry is pictured. (Lady Rose Marine Services/Facebook)

"Lots of people I’ve met have said it’s always on their bucket list," said Willmon.

The sailing is an all day excursion, leaving Port Alberni at 8 a.m. and returning around 4:30 p.m. with about an hour stop in Bamfield.

Reservations are recommended but walk-ons are welcome if space is available.

The ship can take a maximum of 80 passengers per trip. 

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