High winds hit the BC coast and mainland

According to Environment Canada winds of up to 100 km/h whipped the Southern Gulf islands overnight, causing power outages, ferry delays and high waves in Tofino B.C.

High winds forced BC Ferries to keep 21 passengers on board a ferry overnight, turning the two-hour Nanaimo to Tsawwassen journey into a seven-hour ordeal.

High winds also causing havoc and an impact on the lower mainland area.

The Queen of New Westminster was already running late due to a problem with the overhead walkway when it left Duke Point in Nanaimo around 11:45 p.m. PT.

By the time it neared the Tsawwassen terminal high winds had made it too rough to dock, according to BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall.

“We had checked the weather forecast, but the winds did not abate as predicted. The captain made an attempt to dock at the Tsawwassen terminal but he aborted the landing because it was too windy,” she said.

So a small group of ferry passenger spent the long windy night on board, with the shore in sight.

The ferry was held off shore for an extra five hours until morning when the 21 weary passengers were able to disembark at 6:45 a.m. PT.

Ferry-goers emerged this morning exhausted, but relieved.

BC Ferries officials said most people understand that weather is not in their control.

“When you do get the weather safety is the first priority,” said Marshall.

“I know that our customer care department will be following up with those customers.”

There were no injuries reported and passengers were fed and kept as comfortable as possible overnight, she said.

Docking in high winds and waves can cause severe damage to the docking structure, she noted.

The ordeal caused the cancellation of the next round-trip of the Queen of New Westminster, including the 5:15 a.m. PT from Tsawwassen and the 7:45 a.m. from Duke Point in Nanaimo.

The ship will sail as usual at 10:15 a.m. PT, said Marshall.