We asked Washington State Ferries why the Elwha was on the international sailing to Sidney, B.C. instead of the smaller Chelan.
Justin Fujioka of WSDOT Ferries Communications promptly responded with an in depth explanation. Here's his reply.
It’s quite complicated with many factors at play here:
· Samish (normally #3 vessel – 144 vehicles) has been off the route since mid-March for warranty work
· With the smaller Sealth (90 vehicles) assigned to the #3 position much of this time, we did the following to help adjust for the downsize:
o Added a 1:55 p.m. Anacortes to Friday Harbor sailing on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays using Yakima (#2 vessel – 144 vehicles) – in previous spring & fall schedules, this #2 vessel sailed at 1:55 p.m. from Anacortes to Orcas Island then at 3:15 p.m. from Orcas to Anacortes on Sundays only
o Adjusted the vehicle allotments on the #3 Sealth/Chelan sailings to accommodate more Lopez vehicles on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, when we run the extra afternoon sailing to Friday Harbor
· We’re monitoring vessel loads to ensure customers get their fair share at each stop
In a nutshell – with #3 Samish unavailable for the season, we made some schedule adjustments to make up for having smaller vessels (#3 Sealth/Chelan) running in its place.
We have been running the #2 Yakima 1:55 p.m. sailing to Friday Harbor instead of Orcas to make up for some of the capacity loss due to the downsizing and relieve some pressure on the afternoon/evening sailings that Lopez and Friday Harbor share.
We are monitoring vessel loads to ensure our customers get their fair share at each stop.