Wind, waves, tides cut ferry service

A combination of lousy weather and extreme tidal conditions limited service on the Port Townsend to Keystone route over the weekend.

Most recently the Steilacoom II, a 50-car ferry, was taken out of service Monday morning due to the severe weather conditions. It returned to service Monday with the 2:15 p.m. sailing out of Port Townsend.

When ferry service stopped Friday afternoon, riders had the option of waiting close to five hours or make the lengthy trip that uses the Clinton and Edmonds ferry runs.

That long trip is exactly what Rick Prescott was contemplating. He arrived at Keystone Harbor at 1:15 Friday afternoon to catch the Steilacoom II to Port Townsend, and decided not to wait for service to resume. He wanted to surf on the Elwa River with his son.

“This happens on this route regularly,” the Friday Harbor native said. “This is just a little wrinkle.”

Cancellations took place throughout the weekend as well as Monday morning either because of poor weather or low tide and ebb currents at Keystone Harbor.

Marta Coursey, communications director for Washington State Ferries, said that a passing tug Sunday night reported 50-knot winds and 6-feet swells in Admiralty Inlet.

“We were having really high winds and they say it’s not safe to travel,” Coursey said.

More cancellations are in store for the route because of low tide and ebb currents.

On Wednesday, Nov. 18, the 8:30 p.m. sailing from Port Townsend and the 9:15 p.m. sailing from Keystone are canceled. Then, on Monday, Nov. 30, the 5:15 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. sailings from Port Townsend are canceled and 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. sailings from Keystone are canceled. Extra sailings are scheduled on Nov. 30.

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