Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ferry Tales - Final Round

In March of 2007, I was on my way to The Weaver's School but had a few difficulties with the ferry crossings. When the ferry was delayed until 11:15 a.m. on March 20, I gave up and drove to the Kingston rather than wait (I wrote about it in my March 20th posting.)
This afternoon Alice, our mail lady, brought me a large white envelope from Madelyn Van der Hoogt! Inside I found a lovely note and a copy of The South Whidbey Record, a local newspaper printed on Whidbey Island. Madelyn wrote "Page A-5" on the left right had corner of the front page. I turned to page A-5 and discovered a header which read "Ferry Passengers Recall Rocky Ride". The story was written by Gayle Saran and recounted the 11:15 a.m. crossing (the one I would have been on had I not headed to Kingston).
Here are some excerpts from the story:
"Passengers traveling aboard the ferry from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island got more of a ride than they bargained for when a big wave swept over the deck. No one was injured in the incident, but several cars were damaged when they slammed into one another because of the wave. The ferry Klickitat was between Port Townsend and Keystone when high winds and rough seas created the powerful surge. One man who was in his van during the incident thought the ferry was going to sink. “I was more scared than I have ever been before, and I served in the Marine Corps,” said Ralph Magdaleno of Port Orchard.
"It started to get really windy and choppy out in the water, and I was really nervous about 15 minutes into the trip,” he said. Magdaleno said his van was damaged when it was pushed into the car in front of him, and a car behind him was pushed under his bumper. "

Mr. Magdaleno took a photograph of the cars after they had slid into each other. “There were 40 knot winds during the noon crossing,” said Susan Huether Harris, spokeswoman for Washington State Ferries. “The wave was estimated to be 6 to 10 feet high,” she said. Magdaleno, who was sitting in his Chrysler Voyager, said the water was up to his van’s side window. “I suddenly felt a jolt and heard a big thump, and my van was moved two feet forward and into the truck in front of me,” he said. “I started to panic because I thought that the ship was going down. A few seconds later the water started to recede,” he said. Magdaleno said there was a second surge that soaked the inside of his van with a foot of water. “Then I started to get out of my van and the tires on the loaded logging truck beside me started screeching, and the truck was leaning toward me. It looked like it was about to tip over and land on my van,” he said.

Once ferry workers untangled the cars he was able to drive off the ferry. A Langley woman was not so fortunate. Terri Ash was on the last leg of a 4,000-mile journey when the surge of water swept over the deck. “I had just been down to my car to grab a warmer jacket so I could stand outside on the deck and watch the swells in the water. I just made it upstairs when the wave hit,” she said. The power of the water pushed her Ford Focus partially under a loaded logging truck. “My hood was dented and the protective coating that protects the catalytic converter was totally ripped off,” she said. Magdaleno said he was amazed at the amount of damage. “About six vehicles and the logging truck seemed to have damage to them,” he said.

Well, as Madelyn wrote, it was apparently my lucky day.


Suzanne said...

OMG! The hair on my arms stood up when I read that story. That would have been so scary. I'm glad you made the decision to drive. It was your lucky day!

Danielle said...

It sounds like driving was a hassle that ended up being well worth it!

knottykitty said...

I'm so glad you were spared that terrifying experience! Puts the hassle of driving all the way around in a whole new light! :)