Ferry Tales: Back To The Future

Ferry traffic to Guemes Island on Friday night was  backed up from the 3:15 run. It was at least an hour wait, it was cold, dark, rainy, with occasional hail.  Not conducive to outdoor recreation. But Guemians and their friends are tough and getting to the rock Friday night was a priority for reasons unknown to me.

As the weekend began to wind down, that same Friday night traffic morphed into Sunday traffic off the island. As usual no one expected the ferry to have steering issues that would put the boat  out of service. Do we ever? But there was a problem and it had to be diagnosed.

Skagit County kept Ferry riders apprised each step of the way.  Nevertheless, Sunday morning found rumors running rampant. Ferry service will return in 1/2 hour, one hour, lunch time, next week!

Meanwhile the Straight Arrow was called out for walk-on service. Besides masks and  distancing because of Covid, the Strait Arrow allowed for only 25 passengers per run. They picked up overflow passengers off schedule.

San Juan Enterprise also made itself available for those who absolutely had to get off island with their cars. Kudos to all!

The unsung  hero, in my mind, was ferry mechanic Bob Martin who drove to Portland Sunday night and picked up the part Monday morning. He drove back and on to the shipyard to replace the faulty part. His sense of obligation deserves commendation.

Ferry had a successful sea trial after repairs, passed the Coast Guard inspection and returned to service at 5:30. This was only a small example of what will transpire during the upcoming haul out this Spring (May 14-June 12).

By the way, tip your hat to Bob next time you see him at the dock.

- Commentary by MJ Andrak

Tags: ferry