Route Services

  • BC Ferries operates a scheduled ferry service from Nanaimo Harbour on Vancouver Island to Descanso Bay, Gabriola Island.
  • Vehicles and Passengers
  • Distance: 3.7 nautical miles
  • Sailing Time: 20 Minutes
  • Sailings: 16 daily round-trip sailings between Nanaimo and Gabriola Island
  • Ticket sales and loading end 3 minutes before the scheduled sailing time for vehicles and 5 minutes before the scheduled sailing time for walk-on passengers.

Community Information

Map of British Columbia Ferry RoutesClick on the map to view a large scale map of the Pacific Northwest Ferry Routes, or view BC Ferries’ map of Ferry Routes in BC (PDF format). Make vehicle reservations and check current ferry schedules, ferry fares, capacity conditions at major ferry terminals, and the departure and arrival status of current sailings directly on the BC Ferries website.

BC Ferries Schedule for this Route

If you are travelling up or down Vancouver Island’s east coast, it is well worth considering squeezing in a quick side trip to Gabriola Island. The Isle of Arts has galleries and studios to interest the creative artist in you. Gabriola Island boasts magnificent sandstone formations, petroglyphs in their original settings and replicas for rubbing at the Museum.

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Island Hopping
Travelling between the Southern Gulf Islands and Northern Gulf Islands can be accomplished in small hops. Each of these islands is a world unto itself, each with its own history, culture and colourful characters – each island deserves at least a day or two for exploring.