Search This Blog

...a glimpse into life on Vancouver Island, needle felting, photography, food, gardening, etcetera...etcetera
"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Monday, November 14, 2011

Adventure on the high seas!

My Aunt Tas and I planned a girls weekend of shopping with my nieces over on the mainland
and got more than we bargained for in terms of adventure.
Our plan was to catch the 1 pm ferry from Vancouver Island which is usually
about an hour and a half journey to the mainland.
Not even half way across the Captain came on with an announcement...
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm afraid we've slowed our pace all of a sudden due to the 
fact that we've lost an engine. Our mechanics are working to fix the 
problem and hopefully we'll be on our way shortly."
Our first thoughts were....oh well, a bit of a delay...things happen and there's not
much you can do when you're out in the middle of the ocean...except maybe...
...or this...
So we settled in with our tea and chocolate and wandered around a bit.
The next announcement was this...
"Ladies and Gentlemen, it seems our problem has been fixed and
we'll be on our way with full speed shortly."
A quiet sigh of relief drifted through the passenger decks until....
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm sorry to tell you but it seems the engine problem hasn't been fixed
and we are currently moving off course so as not to stay in Active Pass."
(this is a narrow channel normally used on this route but since we were running on one engine it 
wasn't safe to remain here...in case we didn't have enough power to avoid smashing 
into the large Islands on either side of us)
We drifted around amongst some lovely scenery...
...and then had this announcement...
"Ladies and Gentlemen, it seems we will have to try and make the rest of our
journey on one engine as well as re-routing around Saturna Island.
This will delay our approximate arrival time to 5pm.
The other problem is that the high winds have cancelled the ferries leaving where 
we intend to dock, so we may not have a berth to come into, 
but we're doing the best we can and will keep you informed."
Knowing we were in for the long haul, we went down to 
the car deck and got out the travel scrabble game to bring upstairs....
The next announcement was for free desserts and beverages in the cafeteria.
Keep the masses happy with caffeine, chocolate and lemon meringue pie.
So now we've been on the ferry for about 4 hours when the NEXT announcement came.
"Ladies and Gentlemen we are slowly making our way into Tsawwassen (the mainland ferry terminal)
and we have a berth to dock in but we will be assisted by a Seaspan tugboat so
our estimated time of arrival will be between 5:30 and 6:30 pm.
We appreciate your patience and will keep you informed of our progress."
Our heroes!!
Now, unless you know the size of a BC ferry, the strength of the winds around here, 
plus the waves and the cold weather you can't imagine 
the job these guys are about to undertake.
 The tug boat is probably about the size of the 'BCF' part of the sign on the ferry...
Kind of like nudging a really lazy elephant into a bathroom stall, 
while there's a hurricane going on.
I did take a few  short videos of the operation,
which aren't the best but it'll give you some idea of the task at hand...These tugs are ALL engine.
Needless to say the last announcement of our final arrival brought a round of cheers
and applause.
I must commend the Captain and crew of both vessels for keeping us all safe.
Tas and I both love music but we certainly didn't want to hear the band playing
on the passenger deck or have to fight for a good seat in the life boats!
All in all it was a great weekend.
We made it for our girls weekend, shopped till we dropped, had some good laughs
AND THEN SOME!!! 

5 comments:

The Gorsoon said...

It is great that you managed to remain so positive and treat the trip as an adventure. Just thinking about childhood journeys to Ireland on the Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire ferry makes me feel queasy.

Suz said...

ah...such a good memory in the making
oh, and thank you

Stone Angel said...

What a great adventure and you made fun of it instead of grumbling. I have a question - is there a charge for BC ferries? I know the Washington State ones are free.
Thanks

toomuchaugust said...

in all my travels, this very ferry is my favorite. so thank you for sharing all this! all but the wind in my face came through your post. tug boats are my all-time favorite when we start talking about the world of engines and motors. so compact and steady with their power. great post!

Marylinn Kelly said...

When one sets out upon the seas...the wind I could hear and the waves I could see in the video assured this was not work for the faint-hearted. Isn't it grand that adventure, of a reasonably safe nature, comes and finds us? xo