Road Trip 2015. Day 2. The Ferry

The ferry ride to Newfoundland was one of the most different experiences I’ve had yet.  Here are my thoughts, written from the lounge of the ferry.

Sunday | Aug. 9, 2015 @9:45pm
I’m sitting in the lounge of the ferry to Newfoundland with so many new thoughts running through my mind. It’s dark out, but the wind howls outside and the waves rock the boat…more than I would have thought they would considering the boat’s size. This afternoon has been a serious adventure…very different from any I’ve had yet.

Getting on the ferry was quite easy. We drove up to the “toll booth”, gave them our reservation number and we were shown where to go in the staging area. After waiting a couple hours, we drove onto the boat and made our way to the main staircase to find our cabin. It was all a little confusing at first as there were people everywhere and not many signs to show where to go. Once we deposited our stuff in our room, we set about exploring. I wanted to get outside, but that was more complicated than it seemed. Eventually we asked. It’s pretty easy to get confused as to which side of the ship you are on as they both look the same. Even the two stair cases look exactly the same until you realize that they don’t both go up or down the same number of decks. We eventually found our way outside and explored the various levels of decks. All in all it was a great experience. The ship seems even bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Waiting to board
Waiting to board

It did surprise me a bit how much the ship moves. It doesn’t look that wavy out(although the wind is blowing stronger than I’ve ever felt) Yet the ship moves quite a bit. It’s enough that you definitely feel it when sitting still and it messes up your walking. I guess I expected it to be a little more subtle in a big boat like this…although this could be a little rougher than normal with the rain and the wind.

It’s been a very enjoyable adventure that’s been somewhat enhanced/made weird by my knowledge of boats. I’ve never been on anything much bigger than a very small car ferry prior to this, so it’s a new experience. The thing is, pretty much everything I know about ships comes from boats that sank. The Titanic, the Lusitania, the Andrea Doria, but especially Titanic. As a kid I was fascinated with the Titanic. I read all the books I could find on it, built a model, and even colour coded and became familiar with the floor plan that I found in one book. The strange thing is, as I was exploring this boat, my mind was comparing my experiences with what I knew about the Titanic. When I was walking up the stairs, I was thinking of the grand staircase. When I saw lifeboats, I started wondering how the davits worked compared with Titanic and for a short bit wondered if they had enough for everyone. On hearing the engines start up, and feeling the vibrations beneath my feet, I remembered reading about passengers on the Titanic noticing that the engines had stopped after hitting the iceburg…and now I know what that would be missing. Walking on the deck outside at night, I couldn’t help but remember the scenes portrayed in books of the people milling about on deck as the ship was sinking. And on realizing that there were no deck lights near the bridge, my first thought was that it would make it easier to see iceburgs.

On the deck in the rain
On the deck in the rain

Meanwhile, I’m not at all worried that we will hit an iceburg and sink like the Titanic did. It is a little bit disconcerting that my mind connects all my experiences with that. But at the same time, it brings this experience to life. I’ve never been on a ship of any real size, especially not on the ocean, and yet I’ve read so much about that experience through the history of the Titanic. And now I get to live that experience, just a little bit.

I enjoy having new experiences, even surprising ones when on a road trip. But the most powerful ones are often the ones that I already knew about through reading about similar things. It brings to life something that already existed in my mind. So the framework is already there and somehow that makes the experience so much more powerful.

Goodbye Nova Scotia
Goodbye Nova Scotia

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