The ferries Matanuska, right, and Fairweather, left, dock at Juneau's Auke Bay terminal May 20, 2016. The larger ship is delayed in its return to service after an overhaul. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News)
The ferries Matanuska, right, and Fairweather, left, dock at Juneau’s Auke Bay terminal May 20, 2016. The announcement comes as many communities remain cut-off from ferry serve. (CoastAlaska/Ed Schoenfeld)

The Matanuska ferry will make two additional stops in Kake later this month, the Alaska Department of Transportation announced Wednesday, December 4th.

The ferry will depart Kake December 13th en route to Juneau. The return trip arrives in Kake on the 15th, sailing on to Bellingham, Washington the following day.

The Matanuska was already scheduled to make three more stops in Kake this month, on the 24th, 28th, and 29th. DOT spokesperson Sam Dapcevich says the new port calls will send a small ripple through the existing schedule. 

“The stops that we added required some adjustments to the Matanuska’s schedule, so basically it will be leaving a little bit earlier from Bellingham on December 11th,” Dapcevich said. “And that schedule change will sort of cascade through until, I believe, December 16th. So there’ll be minor adjustments, but AMHS is notifying all the passengers of the changes.”    

The announcement comes against a backdrop of reduced ferry service across the region, the product of budget cuts and unexpected repairs keeping some vessels tied up. Small Southeast communities like Pelican, Gustavus, Angoon, and Tenakee Springs are scrambling to adapt to life without ferry service, while Prince William Sound communities remain cut off until the Spring. 

Hoonah, Kake, Haines, and other towns are contending with fewer port calls. 

The day after announcing the new stops in Kake, AMHS notified employees of the ferry Aurora that that vessel is being prepared for long-term layup in Ketchikan, underscoring the system’s continued struggles.