The Skagway ferry dock. (Emily Files)

The Skagway ferry dock. (Emily Files)

On Friday, there was no way in or out of Haines or Skagway – not by ferry, plane or highway. A variety of weather conditions closed off all options. By Sunday, the ferry scheduled to sail the Northern Lynn Canal remained cancelled, leaving passengers stranded in Haines and Skagway for a few extra days.

On Friday, the Aurora ferry’s sailings in the Upper Lynn Canal were cancelled.

“That was due to the high winds and the resulting heavy freezing spray that comes with the cold wet temperatures we’re having,” says DOT spokesman Jeremy Woodrow.

He says the freezing spray was the most important factor in the cancellation.

“That adheres to the lifesaving equipment on the vessel,” says Woodrow. “So if there were an abandon ship scenario where people had to use that lifesaving equipment, they wouldn’t be able to deploy those life rafts because they would be frozen shut with the heavy freezing spray.”

For that same reason, Sunday’s Aurora was also cancelled. That left passengers stuck in Haines, Skagway and Juneau for an extra few days. Hotels in
Haines reported seeing increased customers from the ferry over the weekend.

Woodrow says, for the most part, travelers were rescheduled to be on the Monday and Tuesday ferries sailing the same route.

He says there were some customers who opted to either cancel or change their reservations.

“So to say that everyone was accommodated is true but not everybody was accommodated on today’s sailing or tomorrow’s sailing just because they chose to alter their travel plans,” says Woodrow.

According to Woodrow, they’ve also been able to accommodate passengers with vehicles.

“The car deck on the Kennicott will be full today,” says Woodrow. “And then anybody else who also wanted to travel to Juneau, if they couldn’t be accommodated today they were accommodated on tomorrow’s sailing on the Aurora.”

Right now, he says the forecast for Tuesday’s Aurora looks favorable and there is no anticipated cancellation.