The M/V Matanuska at the dock in Auke Bay in February. The Matanuska broke down in January, essentially stalling winter ferry service, and isn’t expected to return until early June. (Ari Snider/KCAW)

The Department of Transportation published the summer ferry schedule Monday [3-2-20], and it’s a mixed bag for Southeast. 

Angoon will see four to five sailings a month starting in May. Kake also will  get four to five a month, beginning in June. 

Sitka’s on the calendar for five port calls in May, then eight to nine ferries a month through September.  

Pelican and Tenakee Springs will have to make due with much less — just two sailings apiece by the LeConte in May. 

Ken Merrill, who runs the store in Tenakee, says he plans to take full advantage of the two trips. 

“I will for sure have two trailers just packed full of all those heavy items for food and stuff for the store,” Merrill said.    

Since Tenakee lost ferry service in October, Merrill has been chartering floatplanes to stock the store. That’s led to higher prices and fewer food options. And two ferries in May doesn’t really change the overall picture. 

“Keep supporting the store as much as I can with air freight and any fishing boat that will pass through and drop some stuff off for me,” he said.

Even Tenakee’s minimal schedule depends on the LeConte’s steelwork being completed on schedule — the ferry is currently in drydock. 

In the meantime, the Tazlina is coming into service this week, connecting Hoonah, Angoon, and the upper Lynn Canal back to Juneau. The Columbia is scheduled to resume the mainline route on April 14th. 

Kake will get three more chartered passenger trips with Allen Marine this month, but after that won’t see a ferry until May. 

The schedule fills out more in May, when the ferries Kennicott and LeConte are expected to return. The Matanuska, which broke down in January and remains tied up in Auke Bay, isn’t on the calendar until early June.