Kamloops resident Kevin Ortner forces a glum smile as the MV Nimpkish sounds her horn and pulls away from the Bella Coola wharf on her last voyage as the “connector” in this season’s version of the Bella Coola-Port Hardy summer ferry service.
Ortner, on a trip to visit family in Victoria – and wanting to see the Bella Coola Valley and Central Coast for the first time – had been trying to book on the Nimpkish for a month, but was turned down because the little vessel was full. However, he was told, he could take a chance and show up, hoping to get on with his little truck.
He took the chance and drove the 10+ hours (735 km) from Kamloops – only to be met with disappointment. Ortner is not alone. Numerous travelers – most of them international tourists expecting the “trip of a lifetime” have complained through a Bella Coola Valley Tourism questionnaire about the inability to book reservations on the Discovery Coast Circle Tour.
At the wharf, Ortner turned down an offer of a free breakfast, saying he was “too irritated” to enjoy breakfast. Instead, he got into his little truck, turned it around, and headed back toward Williams Lake. Ironically, Kamloops is also the home of Transportation Minister Todd Stone who is responsible for the decision to deploy the Nimpkish in her role this summer.