Ferry returns to service in San Juans after earlier cancellations

Ferry returns to service in San Juans after earlier cancellations
Ferry passengers don life jackets aboard the Elwha on Sunday after a motor in the engine room started smoking.
FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. - The state ferry system canceled or delayed some Monday morning sailings in the San Juan Islands after a mechanical problem temporarily forced the ferry Elwha out of service.

Workers scrambled to make necessary repairs to the vessel, and it was back in service in time for the 11:55 a.m. sailing from Anacortes to Friday Harbor.

Before that, the 6:25 a.m. departure from Anacortes to Friday Harbor was cancelled, as well as the 8:05 a.m. return run from Friday Harbor to Anacortes.

In addition, the 9:35 am sailing from Anacortes to Lopez Island was delayed, as well as the 10:45 am sailing from Lopez Island to Anacortes. The inter-island vessel Klahowya also was running 35 minutes late due to heavy vehicle traffic and an unscheduled stop.

The problems with the ferry Elwha emerged Sunday when a motor in the engine room started smoking.

Hundreds of passengers on the Elwha were told to put on life jackets as the ferry made its way back to Anacortes at reduced speed under its own power.

The vessel is now being thoroughly evaluated and repairs are being made as needed.

The breakdown comes at the busiest time of year on the San Juan Island runs.

The mechanical problems and sailing cancellations came less than a week after the ferry Tacoma lost power on the Seattle to Bainbridge Island run on Tuesday, causing major back-ups.