Friday, September 26, 2014

At the Mercy of the Ferries

The reality of just how much island dwellers are at the mercy of the ferry system has finally sunk in.  While there is always a romantic connotation to ferry travel, the actuality also is sobering.  The new fall ferry schedule only gives Lopezians ONE dedicated ferry a day to travel to the mainland, as opposed to the four that we had during the summer.  (Dedicated means it is solely for our island and can take up to 139 cars.)  Non-dedicated ferries only reserve varying quotas and numbers of spaces for us, from 20 to 59 cars, with the rest filling from the other islands of the San Juans.  That really isn't very many, once you consider those that commute to the mainland, have medical appointments, visitors (especially around holidays), etc.  Instead of zipping down to the ferry landing at the last minute, more planning is involved, longer wait times (getting there right after the previous ferry leaves), and crossing fingers that you will get on the next one.

Then yesterday a ferry broke down, so there was no travel for half of the day to and from the mainland. (Thankfully the repairs didn't take too long.)   I was traveling the inter-island ferry to Shaw Island for our basket day, but even that was late because of the disruption in service of the mainland ferry, which also carries some interisland traffic.  I am relieved that I had made my monthly trip to the mainland the day before for appointments, shopping, and filling up with gas.

Am I ready to pack it in and leave?  Not at all.  It's just serves as a strong reminder how important the ferries are to us, and disruptions in service are felt by all.  Appointments off island are made with the realization that they may be broken.

Ah yes, acceptance and patience for what comes our way is part of this way of life.  Not necessarily a bad thing.

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