After a lovely girl’s weekend away recently, my friends and I drove back to Victoria from Nanoose Bay, half expecting the car to be blown off the highway. But the weather bomb/wind storm that had been predicted, didn’t quite live up to what we had anticipated.
One of my friends had been texting back and forth with her husband who was in Vancouver. It turned out that in some areas on the west coast, the winds were much worse. As a result, BC Ferries cancelled most of the following day’s sailings in anticipation of an even bigger storm.
So many people were trying to catch a ferry before the cancellations came into effect, that my friend’s husband was worried about being able to get back.
It is that time of year. “Blow-vember” is here. I have lots of family on the mainland so I’ve travelled by ferry many, many times, even through the fall and winter.
On one especially blustery trip, the ferry had made it safely across the strait and was attempting to dock in Tsawwassen. I was walking on the car deck trying to keep my balance as the ferry rocked from side to side. We perilously inched towards the dock as every car on that deck started swaying. I wasn’t sure we’d make it, but thanks to some fine skills at the helm, we eventually pulled in safely. Phew.
Most people don’t realize that it’s the “docking” part that plays the biggest role in whether or not a ferry is cancelled. The boats can handle rough seas, but if they can’t dock, we’re in trouble.
I’ve been on a ferry that hit the dock pretty hard, hard enough that I’m sure it must have caused some serious damage.
Of course we’re going to whine and complain to ourselves when we’re trying to get off the island and our sailing is cancelled. It may be inconvenient to us, but these ferry people know what they’re up against. If they say so, then we’re better off staying put.
During COVID, there have been a number of incidents involving the public harassing and verbally abusing ferry workers. But it happens in non-COVID times too. It’s completely uncalled for. Having a family member who works on the ferries, I hear everything they have to put up with.
What most of us don’t realize is that these people are trained entirely to protect us, to save our lives and potentially risk their own. We owe them at least a little respect for that. Serving us White Spot burgers and cleaning the washrooms is just a side gig for them. As is announcing over the intercom when our car alarms go off. Cue the eye roll.
BC Ferries has had a lot of bad luck lately, especially on the main routes, with ferries breaking down at the worst times. Never mind Blow-vember.
I’d just like to tip my cap to all of the ferry workers who do everything they can to keep our sailings smooth.
Irene Jackson is a guitar teacher, musician and general writer “wanna-be” living in the beautiful city of Victoria, B.C. Her website is at irenejackson.com.