A Ho-Hum Day turns Amazing or How I Drove a Real Ferryboat....
This entry was posted on 12/12/2006 3:06 AM and is filed under New Zealand.
A Bay of Islands story...We decided to take a ferry over to the little island of Russell. First we boarded the wrong ferry and ended up on the side of the island furthest from the town. We walked about 2 miles before we discovered that we were still about 8 miles from town. So we turned around, walked back and then rode the ferry back to the other side, retrieved our car and drove to the correct ferry crossing. All this in blustery wind and rain interspersed with a moment of sun where we were able to capture this shot looking back towards Paihia.
By the way, this is how we put these panorama shots together - this one came from 5 images carefully "stitched" together.
We then took the correct passenger ferry over to Russell, checked out the town which on first and second impression, was really boring. This carved stone was on a wall of a building.
Then we found a lovely gallery called "Just Imagine" that was closed, but the owner, an American from Colorado, let us in anyway. There Mindy bought me two beautiful necklaces and a pair of earrings for my birthday. And the sun came out and it was beautiful. And the town was starting to look a little better.
After that, we headed back to the ferry. I made a joke with the ferry pilot that if he needed any help driving the boat, I was available. He said, "Are you sure you can drive this?" I assured him that I had watched him do it on the way over and I was pretty sure that I had it figured out. So we left the dock with about 15 passengers on board and he looked over to me and said, "Ready to go?" I jumped up, ran over to his seat and took the wheel. He stood next to me calmly drinking his coffee.
In the middle of the Bay he asked me if I wanted to do a "donut". So he announced to the passengers that I was going to be doing this acrobatic feat with the ferry. I turned the big wheel hard left and in the middle of the Bay turned this huge ferry boat 360°. Then he had me head back to Paihia aiming for this little island on the shore.
He was standing next to me, Mindy was filming this huge adventure and I was feeling fabulous, all previous thoughts of seasickness had vanished! Next he had me navigate the ferry through a narrow strait that led to the dock. I was thinking that he was going to dock it, but no, he must have sensed my adventurous spirit and my confidence and went for it! I followed his commands. "Turn the wheel hard left, now put the lever (pronounced leeeever) in neutral, now reverse, now neutral, turn hard right, now forward, now neutral, now reverse." And on and on like that until I parked that big sucker right at the dock!
Needless to say, the passengers were as amazed as I was. In the U.S., this sweet pilot named Tony (pronounced "Tiny") would have lost his job and been sued. Instead, I had the experience of a lifetime!
Here's the movie you've been waiting for...
Piloting the Ferry Movie
And here's how this wonderful day finished off. We went for dinner in the local town. Guess who ate which dinner? Fish and chips came from "Vinnie's Takeaway", roasted veggie salad came from "Frankie's".
And look what the skies gave us as a last parting gift...