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Tourists’ travel disrupted after high winds halt ferry service

Strong winds and an electricity blackout caused disruption yesterday for tourists from two cruise ships moored at Dockyard.

Thousands of people poured off the

Explorer of the Seas and

Norwegian Dawn to find part of the historic port plunged into darkness, the ferry service partially cancelled and long queues for buses.

The St George’s ferry service was cancelled entirely due to high winds, while the Hamilton route suffered delays. Extra buses were sent to the area to ease the strain.

Meanwhile what is believed to be a problem with a transformer knocked out the electricity supply serving the Frog and Onion restaurant, Craft Market and Bermuda Maritime Museum.

Despite reported queues of up to 20 minutes for buses, and having to dine by candlelight at the Frog and Onion, the spirits of visitors remained largely upbeat.

Les Weeks, 54, from New Brunswick, Canada, said he and wife Brenda watched three full buses go by before they reached the front of the queue. They arrived on the

Norwegian Dawn.

“We didn’t expect the winds or the wait. When we first got off the ship the line was big. We walked around and came back and the line was still big,” said Mr Weeks. “I’m fine with it though. It’s better than walking.”

Mrs Weeks, 52, added: “It’s all part of cruising.”

Bob Lynch and his wife Virginia, both 71, from Boston, originally planned to catch the ferry to Hamilton but decided the seas looked too rough.

“We’re a little disappointed,” said Mr Lynch, who was visiting Bermuda for the second time. However, Mrs Lynch, who was visiting for the first time said of the Island: “I love it.”

Huddled together in a long bus queue, Danielle Fenster, 28, and Neil Asnen, 27, from New York said they hoped to make it to the Crystal Caves.

They estimated they had been waiting around 20 minutes.

“I’m not feeling great. It’s cold and wet,” said Ms Fenster who, like several in the line, said no information on the delays had been provided by transport officials.

However, Mr Asnen said: “It’s not a problem. We expected it and nobody can do anything.”

Robin Yeuriaga, 47, and Laurie McCutcheon, 56, from Reno, Nevada, were visiting Bermuda for the first time. They ate lunch by candlelight at the Frog and Onion due to the power outage.

“We don’t know how the food is going to be but everyone’s nice and laughing about it,” said Ms Yeuriaga.

Ms McCutcheon added: “It was an awful trip to get here with really rough seas but nothing’s going to stop us.”

Frog and Onion owner Carole West said: “The power went out around 10.45am. We are doing whatever food we can cook with gas. We are doing our best and the customers are happy.”

A Ministry of Transport spokeswoman said: “Due to today’s severe weather conditions, there have been some interruptions in ferry service.

“This has resulted in the cancellation of the Dockyard/St. George’s ferry and delays in the Hamilton to Dockyard route. Without a dedicated ferry service in Dockyard, and due to the visiting cruise ship in the area, there has been an increased demand for more transportation services for those individuals seeking to travel from Dockyard to other areas of the Island.”

She said transport officials were diverting additional buses to the area and apologised for the disruption.

A Belco spokeswoman said: “The outage at Dockyard happened at approx 11am and by 2.30pm, all customers, except two metered water pumps had been restored. We believe the cause is related to a transformer, and an investigation is ongoing.”

Andrew Harris, facilities manager at the Maritime Museum at Commissioner’s House, said: “We closed the buildings because they are dangerous if there are no lights, but we let people see the outside areas including Dolphin Quest.”

According to a Bermuda Weather Service spokeswoman, the highest gust recorded at Dockyard’s weather observation system on the roof of Commissioner’s House was 47 knots (54 miles per hour) at 9.30am.

The highest mean wind speed recorded was 32 knots (36 miles per hour) at 7am.

Bermuda made international headlines last summer when angry cruise ship passengers were left stranded without adequate transportation due to mechanical problems with buses.

In February, Transport Minister Derrick Burgess promised the service would be revamped so the “chaos” would not be repeated this year.

Tourists queue for a bus yesterday after ferries at Dockyard were cancelled due to the weather.

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Published April 24, 2012 at 9:56 am (Updated April 24, 2012 at 9:56 am)

Tourists’ travel disrupted after high winds halt ferry service

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