Some travellers could be in for a headache this Canada Day weekend after BC Ferries pulled a vessel from service, upending the schedule on one route.
The Queen of Coquitlam was supposed to make trips back-and-forth between Horseshoe Bay and the Sunshine Coast all weekend, but will instead be out of commission for about a week as crews repair a sealing mechanism on the vessel's propeller blades.
"Unfortunately that means the ship has to be dry-docked," BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall told CTV News.
The Queen of Surrey, which is the main vessel on the route, will still be doing its usual schedule with a few extra sailings, but BC Ferries admits some of the times are less than ideal – including a 4 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Tuesday.
"The sailings that we're having to cancel from the Queen of Coquitlam are generally in the middle of the day," Marshall said.
"We know that some of these extra sailings aren't the most desirable times but we just wanted to be able to do everything we could to put in that extra capacity into the system."
BC Ferries is also bringing over the Queen of Coquitlam's sister ship, the Queen of Cowichan, for a few extra sailings.
But given the company is at the peak of its summer schedule, Marshall said they don't have another major vessel to deploy.
The trips being added beginning on Thursday include:
- 7:30 p.m. sailing from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale (Queen of Cowichan)
- 8:30 p.m. sailing from Langdale to Horseshoe Bay (Queen of Cowichan)
June 28, 29, July 2
- 4:00 a.m. sailing from Langdale to Horseshoe Bay (Queen of Surrey)
- 5:10 a.m. sailing from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale (Queen of Surrey)
- 11:50 p.m. sailing from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale (Queen of Cowichan)
- 12:30 a.m. sailing from Langdale to Horseshoe Bay (Queen of Surrey)
BC Ferries said it will also be bringing in three water taxis capable of ferrying 40 people between the two terminals for several trips per day.
The scramble triggered by all the cancelled sailings is expected to snarl traffic on the way to Horseshoe Bay, but BC Ferries said traffic control staff will be on hand to make things as smooth as possible.
The company said people who are planning to brave the Horseshoe Bay or Langdale terminals without a reservation should consider going by foot and getting to the ferry on a bus as parking is expected to reach capacity early in the weekend.
Friday and Saturday are expected to be the busiest days at Horseshoe Bay, and Monday is expected to be the busiest at Langdale.