I got to play tour guide this week as my brother and his child came to visit. We kayaked, played mini golf, jumped into Cascade and Mountain Lake, climbed the tower at Mt Constitution, picked blackberries and sampled ice cream. Ah, summer! It is fun to see the magic of Orcas through new eyes.
The magic turned a little dark last night when I tried returning home after dropping them off on their next adventure. I had a reservation for the 7:25 sailing of the Yakima. The boat was there, but lacked a full crew. So we sat and waited. And waited some more. Finally, they started to load the late running 9 pm sailing of the Chelan. We eventually pulled away from the dock at 9:30 and slowly made it to Orcas by 11:20.
At no time did Washington State Ferries announce the 7:25 was canceled, as they had the night before when the exact same situation occurred. In a recent article, the Seattle Times noted that this June the SJI/Anacortes route experienced delays a full 45% of the time. It is their worst record in over a decade.
While I was inconvenienced yesterday (and am a wee bit tired today), others in line had it much worse than I. I noticed one woman with significant mobility issues struggling to make her way through several lanes to use the restroom during our wait. There were older couples also waiting many hours with little access to food. At some point, managing a multi-hour delay in the heat of the staging area can become dangerous.
The ferry system is broken, and it is well past the time for the State to take action. The crew issues are out of hand, the boats are in disrepair, and there appears to be no fix on the horizon. I am letting Governor Inslee know of my experience, and I hope you will do the same.
On a lighter note, the last of the Summer Concert Series is tomorrow at 4 pm at the Village Green featuring RISE UP: The Music of Hamilton and Broadway. Should be a great event. Thank you to the Orcas Center and all of the sponsoring organizations and businesses who made these concerts possible. It has been a lovely addition to the summer!
All the best—