Ferry advantages

Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2003

In his letter of Nov. 7, Mr. Mel Adkins bemoans the cost of traveling by ferry to Alaska.

Sure, with a vehicle and stateroom it can be spendy, but I think it's all relative to the quality of the experience only a journey by ferry can offer. Taking the ferry is the most relaxing form of travel I know, and I've traveled all over the world.

You can read, study, nap, socialize, wander in and out, drink beer or play Scrabble, dine on reasonably priced decent food, take a hot shower, learn from on-board naturalists, take in a movie, be part of a throng headed to a cultural or sporting event, or simply pass the time marveling at the beauty of our landscape. Mel, the ferries do not provide gourmet dining or plush bedding. What did you expect? It's a ferry, not a cruise liner.

Favoring a road over ferry travel based on these two factors and the cost of your ticket is a narrow and superficial perspective. Ferries sail when planes can't fly, provide safe passage, don't congest towns or small community roads, don't incur traffic jams, don't charge for excess baggage, and are a charming and historic part of our unique lives here.

Living between the communities of Haines and Juneau, I use the ferry as much or more than most people. Yes, winter service is infrequent, and departure and arrival times can be at ungodly hours. But I'd rather deal with some discomfort than pollute our pristine environment with an ugly, costly and impractical stretch of asphalt. While the ferry isn't always convenient, neither are many of the other facets of the life here that we treasure. Personally I will rue the day when the old ferries cease their chugging up and down Lynn Canal.

The negative consequences of a road, Mel, are much higher than your $3,000-plus ferry experience.

Jane Pascoe


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