The ferry that runs from Sydney to Friday Harbor only runs once a day, and at odd times (5:45pm heading to the Island, and 9:45am returning). It’s a small ferry and lacks the facilities of the far more regular (almost every 2 hours) ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island.
It being the 5th of July, the ferry was fully booked. I arrived at 8:45 am (an hour before sailing) to get into the standby queue, and luckily was the first person in line … which was still no guarantee of sailing. The ferry actually starts in the town of Anacortes in Washington State, US (on the mainland) and pitstops at the island (at Friday Harbor) on it’s way to Vancouver Island, so what I was banking on was someone oversleeping after the 4th of the July festivities. Luckily, that’s exactly what happened.
Where the larger Canadian Ferry has a full topside to hang out on, that includes chairs, tables, etc., on this ferry your only viewing option is these two little areas on the top deck for standing, or standing on the lower deck where the cars load on and then egress.
Basically, I wouldn’t suggest this as a way to get from Vancouver to the mainland, but if you want to get to Friday harbor from Victoria by ferry, this is the only option.