The following is part of an e-mail I received from one of two guests from our B&B who were on the Columbia bound for Bellingham. I've heard there were complaints about ferry staff, but the complainers must have been on a different ferry.
``What a voyage. The fire was one thing but the crew was unbelievable in there: cool and calm. They shared everything they knew as things were happening and at no point did we ever feel in danger. Betty and I happened to end up in the main dining room when we were directed inside. (We first mustered at the lifeboats then they directed us inside.) The crew threw open the kitchen and kept a buffet going the whole time. Just before we abandoned ship the desserts arrived and their chocolate cheese cake was so good we wouldn't leave until we finished it. Thus, we were among the last to leave the ship - gives you an idea how good it was. The Malaspina was reconfigured with berths and an awesome amount of food. We ate our way down to Bellingham. Meals were on the house for a few days and everyone joined the party. We had to make a few more emergency stops on our way down - Petersburg to let off a sick crewman and then later that day to pick up an injured fisherman. Got into Ketchikan late on Thursday night and left in the wee hours of Friday morning. Got caught behind a slow freighter Friday night going through Johnstone Straits resulting in our arriving in Bellingham after 4 p.m. on Saturday. Tuesday morning when we first boarded seems years ago.''
Sounds to me like it was a great trip. Congratulations to all the Marine Highway employees for turning a potential catastrophy into a gourmet adventure.