On Saturday July 31 the Whatcom Chief’s rudder control system failed causing a prolonged ferry outage on a very busy summer weekend. The outage lasted from around 2pm until service resumed around 7am the following day. Shortly after the outage began my husband Jim had an urgent medical situation arise that required him to go to the ER at the hospital to resolve. At that point his situation was urgent but not life threatening so calling the helicopter for medical evac was not a viable option.
Our wonderful Fire Department volunteers who responded to my call for assistance helped to quickly arrange for an aid car to meet us at Gooseberry to get him to the ER, if we could get him across the water. Because Good Samaritans used their vessels on that day to transport many many people who were stranded on both sides of Hale Passage during the prolonged outage, Jim received the medical care he urgently needed.
While Jim and I were climbing down, and then back up the large rocks that make up the riprap next to the ferry dock, I became very aware that Lummi Island really needs a place that is easy and safe to access during an emergency ferry outage or a major Island emergency. For these times, we need a place where private or contracted vessels can land safely and quickly – without needing to go through all that is involved in putting in the floats like for dry dock.
I have approached LICA and LIFAC and spoken to several public officials about what Jim and I experienced during that outage and about my intention to try to work within the Lummi Island Community to come up with a strategy to address this need now instead of when the docks will be modified to accommodate a new replacement ferry. I have received the support of the LICA board to form a committee of islanders who would like to work together to explore the need, brainstorm for both short term and long term solutions, and develop a workable solution.
I will be hosting a Zoom meeting on Tuesday September 28th from 6:30 – 8:00pm to begin to get this committee organized.
Updated: 2021/09/28 @ 7:46 pm Tark Henderson