A combination of factors - road construction, bent propellors, late-running ferries - are making travel on Washington State Ferries in the San Juans a pretty miserable experience this spring. The winners of the worst ferry experience so far have to be the folks who tried to get home on the 8:25 p.m. sailing from Anacortes on Friday, June 1, 2018.
"Nooooooo! The ferry was already two hours delayed and then THIS! 10:30 pm and apparently stuck!" Karin Roemers-Kleven photo and quote
First off, the Yakima, the ferry operating valiantly but slowly with a delicate prop until it can get into a repair facility for a complete repair on July 30, was running two hours late. So the ferry travelers had been waiting at the terminal since at least 7:55 p.m. because they needed to be in line 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time or lose their reservation.
Unfortunately for them, they were sharing their ride with the semi-truck transporting the portable MRI used on the weekend at Peace Island Medical Center in Friday Harbor.
Karin Roemers-Kleven of Friday Harbor was onboard the boat and explained on Facebook what happened. "The ferry was loaded with cars but they left a space in the middle apparently for the MRI truck that serves our hospital in Friday Harbor. The truck was the last one on and is huge! It is low to the ground and got stuck on the ramp when it tried to load on the ferry. All the cars that already were on the ferry are not able to get off."
According to Roemers-Kleven, At 12 midnight the MRI truck was still stuck on the ramp. They let walk on passengers off to ride with the Tillikum, which on Fridays has a 10:30 sailing from Anacortes to Lopez, Orcas and Friday Harbor. The Tillikum had been running 30 minutes late earlier in the evening.
"As they pulled out they waved at us and whooped!!! It was funny. But all of us on this boat are beginning to realize we may be here all night." She wrote on Facebook.
"We’re loose and on our way! They left the MRI machine on the ramp, the truck on ferry and slipped out!" Karin Roemers-Kleven photo and quote
According to Roemers-Kleven, the truck was uncoupled from the MRI trailer and the ferry left about 1:30 a.m. and arrived back in Friday Harbor about 3 a.m. - seven hours after the reservation holders had to be in line.
Problems caused by the stuck truck continued to have ramifications for other ferry travelers on Saturday, June 2.
WSF alerts about Saturday service included:
The Yakima is an estimated 40 minutes behind schedule due to overnight loading delays. This will delay the 5:20 am arrival in Friday Harbor.
The Anacortes 1:55 pm departure to Orcas is cancelled due to overnight loading delays. There are no new reservations being accepted for the 3:40 pm. All 3:40 pm reservations will be loaded on a first come first serve basis. Reservation holders who choose not to travel today will not receive a "No Show" fee.
The Yakima is an estimated 60 minutes behind schedule due to overnight loading delays. This will delay the 8:20 am arrival in Orcas. We apologize for the inconvenience.
The Yakima is an estimated 1 hour and 15 min. behind schedule due to overnight loading delays. This will delay the 10:35 am departure to Lopez, Orcas and Shaw.
According to a Peace Island Medical Center employee, the MRI scanner did make it to PIMC for the Saturday appointments.
Roemers-Kleven summed up the experience and included advice. "We were informed that the ferry would be 1 1/2 hours late at the time we were expecting to board. It was a lovely evening and we went for a walk on the boardwalk along the waterfront. After we boarded at 10 pm I noticed we did not take off and wondered what was going on. There were no announcements made. They never actually said what happened. Much later they said they called a tow truck and they didn’t know if there was one available. So we didn’t know how long it would be. One of my FB friends suggested you always carry extra food and a blanket. I would add medications and supplies to that. Just to be prepared."