The town of Tenakee Springs in February. The remote Chichagof Island community relies on ferries to get groceries and supplies from Juneau. Once their dock closes in July for repairs, they’ll have to rely on float plane service for at least six months, maybe longer. (Ari Snider/KCAW)

A southeast Alaska town greeted its first ferry in nearly nine months on Saturday.

The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry LeConte made the first of three summer sailings to the Chichagof Island community of Tenakee Springs.

The town’s residents were floored when the ferry schedule released in January included zero summer sailings to their remote community. The Department of Transportation later revised that schedule, adding a round of sailings in May, but maintenance issues and the coronavirus pandemic delayed them.

Now, the state is squeezing in all three long-awaited trips in a matter of weeks, before the town’s dock closes in July for repairs. Float planes and fishing boats will provide the only transportation after that until the dock reopens.

Tenakee’s harbor master Dan Martin said at least a dozen people got off the boat on Saturday. Most of them were summer residents.

“It was pandemonium,” Martin said. “A lot of people coming off the ferry and bringing a lot of stuff coming off the ferry. It always creates kind of a bottleneck down there the way our ramp is set up.

This winter and spring, the local grocery store has been chartering planes to bring supplies in. Saturday’s ferry offered a more affordable alternative. But, it also brought a feeling of uncertainty, said Tenakee Mayor Dan Kennedy. Some residents are worried the ferry could bring the coronavirus to the remote town, which has no hospital.

“It’s ironic (that) after not having a ferry since last October and begging for one all winter, when this one finally showed up, it was more with a feeling of dread of what it might be bringing to our town,” Kennedy said.

Tenakee has a mandatory 14-day self isolation order for all people coming into the town. They’re also asking everyone to wear a mask in public settings and maintain social distancing. But, Mayor Kennedy said, they have no police presence to enforce those rules.