One of the downsides of Bamfield’s islation is the lack of food availability and choice. Sure there are two grocery stores, but sometimes that’s just not enough. On top of that, they have to cover the cost of getting the groceries to Bamfield, and thus things are a bit more expensive than you can find in Port Alberni. As a result, it is common for people to offer to pick up things from the store if they are coming in to Bamfield, saving the gas a time of the ride to Port for groceries.
We experimented with another alternative this week: Online shopping.
Quality foods has a complete online invertory, which, after you’ve created an account, you can shop from the convinience of home. For our large order ($300+), they charged a flat $9.95 shopping fee, which is pretty cheap when you split it between people.
Once you have set up your order, you specify if you want to allow replacements or not if they don’t have quite what you ordered. So I got different chocolate bars than I wanted, but no real harm done.
How do they get it to us you ask? The boat. The Francis Barkley travels down from Port Alberni 3x/week (in the summer). Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Specify that your order will be going on the boat, and will be picked up at the East Government Dock (unless you live on the west side). It will arrive on the next boat. Head down to the East Dock (past the motel/pub at the 4-way stop) around 1pm, or when you see the boat leave the West Govy Dock, and bring money to pay the delivery charge. For our 7 boxes of food we were charged $18.40. Wait your turn on the dock, load up and presto! Your food delivered.(but you’ll have to order at least the morning before to give them enough time to shop and deliver it to the boat).
You will have to order in advance. The boat leave Port early in the morning, so you need to make your order at least the morning before to give them time to shop and deliver it to the boat.
If you have questions about timing or delivery fees, call Lady Rose Marine Services at (250) 723-8313.
- I’m unsure how they deliver frozen food, I’ll test it with frozen veggies and see how they survive the ~5h trip. They do have a cooler for refridgerated goods.
- The food is jostled and packed: My bananas were a little worse for wear.
- Uncertain due date: Other have told me to double check the due date on food when it arrives, as they may just give you the soonest to expire food.
- Cheaper than a trip to Port Alberni.
- All packed up and delivered to your door.
- Easy to shop all together online and share the fees.
I thought it was well worth it for such a large order, but I think I wouldn’t bother for less than $100 of food. Let us know about any other tips or thoughts, and please ask around station if anyone wants to order with you, making it cheaper all around!