Storm strands cruise visitors
Haines played host to 90 unexpected guests the night of Sept. 21 when a storm hit Lynn Canal and kept visitors from returning to their cruise ships in Skagway.
The state ferry and local water taxis could not sail late Wednesday because of high winds, stranding tourists that had come over to Haines from Skagway for the day. Most were cruise ship passengers taking shore excursions here.
Dan Egolf with Alaska Nature Tours said the visitors were not thrilled, but made the best of the situation.
"I think we pretty much turned it around for them with good, old customer service," Egolf said. "They had an additional adventure, I guess."
Along with other businesses going out of the way for the visitors, Egolf said the pharmacy at the Haines clinic opened after hours to assist visitors in filling any medications they didn’t have with them.
Kori Goertz with the Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry said 23 visitors were put up in Haines motels. The other 68 visitors stayed overnight on the Malaspina that was docked at the Haines ferry terminal.
Some ships left Skagway to weather the storm. Stranded passengers took the ferry to Juneau, ferried back to Skagway or flew to Skagway and Juneau the next day to return to their cruises.
Goertz said most of the visitors seemed to understand there was little the ferries could do in the face of the storm. "I think people were understanding that it was an act of God."