Monday, January 23, 2012

Stormy week on the west coast

Sunday, 22 January 2012, was not a good day for BC Ferries. Or more accurately, it was not a good day for travellers intent on using BC Ferries to get anywhere. Shortly after 9 a.m. Sunday the sustained winds across Vancouver Island started to lay a beating on the place, from Juan de Fuca Strait in the south to Queen Charlotte Strait in the north.

BC Ferries, very wisely, stopped operating a majority of routes exposed to extreme winds. Route 1, the heavily travelled Swartz Bay (Victoria) Tsawwassen (Vancouver) saw the cancellation of at least 4 large ship departures from each terminal from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. That undoubtedly threw a spanner into the works of travel plans for many people. Even the Brentwood Bay - Mill Bay route suffered cancellations because the usually sheltered Saanich Inlet was ripped up by high winds.

And you could hear the bleating all the way to Port Aux Basque, NL; People berating BC Ferries for something over which nobody had any control and howls that ferry crews didn't have the stuff to handle a little bit of rough weather.

They have more than the stuff. And the masters of those ships made the right decision. To those who loudly complained about the scuttling of plans and decided it was the fault of BC Ferries, it might be time to blame somebody else.

Try yourself for a start. If you cannot or are too lazy to read a weather forecast and include it in your winter-season travel planning, that's a condition no one else can rectify.

I am among the first to bore into BC Ferries when it does things which are obviously unsafe or when safety is not a primary element of their planning and decisions. I will not, however, find fault when a decision is taken not to put their passengers at risk.

So, take a look at the graphic at the top. Click on it and look hard. That's not what happened. That's what's going to happen. Another of a continuing string of mid-latitude depressions piling in from the central Pacific is going to do it all over again. Figure on Tuesday.


Holly Stick said...

How outrageous of the weather to interfere with my highly important plans! You would almost think that we humans are not in charge of everything!

We live inside too much, and it is too easy to ignore the world outside.

Rural said...

But massive oil tankers should have no problem, right?

Cathie from Canada said...

Good post.
You know, with all the years we lived in Victoria, I don't think I ever heard a weather forecast that mentioned upcoming rough weather for ferry crossings. They should change this.

Boris said...

I wonder how many of those who complained about the ferry cancellations also celebrated the snow days last week?

Renter said...

good grief. Ferry cancellations due to high winds happen FREQUENTLY in the winter on the Schwartz Bay-Tsawassen run. I'd expect at least the locals to be used to it by now. I was actually moderately pleased with how they handled the delays yesterday; they don't usually add on a bunch of late night runs after the wind dies down. Usually you just have to wait until the next day.

aardvark said...

I waited in the Swartz Bay lineup from 10:30 until 17:15. The BCF staff did a great job keeping us informed, and retained courtesy and humour throughout.
Catering staff and others from the waiting vessels moved foodstuffs to the (small) cafeteria and pitched in to make the lines move quickly.
The bathrooms were cleaned frequently.
We overnighted in Sidney (with a couple of great craft beers) and got on the 10:00 sailing this morning.
BCF is not perfect but apart from a short web site problem they dealt with this pretty well.
Complainers should take a pill, and consider the alternatives.