Ferry travellers face waits Saturday in aftermath of Friday windstorm

B.C. Ferries passengers hoping to travel between Vancouver Island and the mainland Saturday morning faced waits of up to three sailings.Things eased in the afternoon to one- and two-sailing waits.

One round-trip has been added to help deal with the waits. B.C. Ferries says extra sailings will depart Swartz Bay at 12 p.m. and Tsawwassen at 2 p.m. These trips are non-reservable.

More than a dozen ferry sailings were cancelled Friday due to high winds, leading to long lines and waits of up to four sailings on some routes.

Waiting vehicles lined several roads near the Swartz Bay terminal, and the lineup on the Patricia Bay Highway extended about two kilometres beyond the terminal to McDonald Park Road.

By 5:30 p.m., all vehicle space on sailings between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen had been booked, and the foot passenger waiting area was crammed with people.

Environment Canada issued a wind warning Friday morning, forecasting winds of up to 90 kilometres an hour near Juan de Fuca Strait.

The 10:40 a.m. sailing from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay was cancelled, followed by the 11 a.m. sailings on the Swartz Bay-Tsawassen route. Sailings resumed briefly in the afternoon, only to be stopped again.

Sailings to and from the Gulf Islands were also affected.

By evening, B.C. Ferries was operating on a modified schedule, departing Swartz Bay at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., and leaving from Tsawwassen at 8 p.m., 9 p.m. and midnight to help clear traffic left at the terminals.

Evening sailings between Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay were cancelled.

“The safety of our passengers and crew is of primary importance to us,” B.C. Ferries said in a statement.

“We don’t take the decision to cancel sailings lightly, as we know customers rely on us to get to their destinations.”

There was a wind-related power outage at the dock at Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island, forcing a ferry from Swartz Bay to head to Long Harbour instead.

That led to the cancellation of the 9:50 a.m. and 11:50 a.m. sailings from Fulford to Swartz Bay and the 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. sailings from Swartz Bay to Fulford.

The windstorm, meanwhile, caused multiple power outages across Vancouver Island. By 7 p.m., there were 16 outages affecting about 1,800 customers, B.C. Hydro reported.

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