Sailing the high seas on a Sydney Harbour Ferry

icecrystal By icecrystal, 24th Sep 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Oceania>Australia>Sydney & Around

A sunny afternoon on the Harbour ferry turned into something much more of an adventure...

An unexpected Pacific cruise

It was a warm sunny afternoon, with just enough breeze to make a Sydney resident long to be out on the harbour. I sat on a stone seat, gazing at in the wonderful view from Circular Quay. The white sails of the Opera House to my right, and the graceful iron arch of the Harbour bridge to my left. To make a short round-trip on the Harbour Ferry wasn't a hard decision to make. I went to the machine and bought a round trip ticket to Manly, on the inner head of the north side of the harbour.

To sit inside on the huge commuter ferry seemed obscene. I went to the bow and felt the warm wind on my face, screeching seagulls floating in the sky. There were many small sailboats dotting around the harbour, each keeping well clear of the huge ship.

The ferry chugged along, passing Rose Bay and many familiar landmarks. As Manly and the tall rocks of North Head came into view, the ship kept to a central course, rather than direcly heading into the town. I thought nothing of it, believing the craft would circle into the northern terminal.

After a few minutes, it became obvious that I was wrong. The few people travelling came out to the deck, as the water became choppy and the winds gusted strongly.

"Okay," I thought. "Must be some reason for the course deviation."
But on a bright, sunny day, I couldn't see any. The ferry crossed the bar, and began
to buck around in the strong Pacific waves. Although I'm generally a confident sailor, a combination of anxiety and environment unsettled my stomach. The ice cream cone I'd eaten at Circular Quay seemed to have been a very bad idea.

And on the huge boat chugged, well out of the heads, or so it seemed, to those of us who were occasional commuters. My silly imagination filled with thoughts of modern day pirates, ransom demands....
"Oh, don't be ridiculous," I chided myself. "Who would want to take a huge commuter ferry on a Pacific Voyage."
This failed to comfort me, and a lady beside me was white and visibly shaking.

The ferry's engines changed tone beneath our feet, slowing the huge craft. Almost imperceptibly, the craft began to circle to the port side. Both North and South Heads stood far above the waves, and with palpable relief, we felt the swell lessen. The ferry edged its way back inside the harbour and headed toward the Manly terminal.

As we docked, and the huge ramps came down, allowing the passengers to disembark, I spoke to one of the ferrymen.
"Interesting course today."
"Yeah, lucky we don't make you pay extra," he grinned.
I forced my shaking legs to walk down the steel ramp, and decided immediately, to return via a series of commuter buses back to the city. It took several hours to reach my starting point again, on hot transports. But I felt safer than I would have, risking another sea voyage on the Sydney Harbour Ferry.


Sydney Harbour Ferry Pacific Ocean

Meet the author

author avatar icecrystal
I'm a working journalist in UK healthcare but also interested in travel writing, short stories and life experiences.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
25th Sep 2011 (#)

An interesting account. But we call people like you land lubbers. You got sea sick.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
25th Sep 2011 (#)

An interesting account. But we call people like you land lubbers. You got sea sick.

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author avatar Buzz
25th Sep 2011 (#)

A very nice article, Icecrystal. Nice to meet you. Welcome to Wikinut.:)

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author avatar Songbird B
25th Sep 2011 (#)

What a trip! Glad that you reached land again and all in one piece, icecrystal.. That sounded like an 'Oops' moment from the

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author avatar Jack Wellman
26th Sep 2011 (#)

What a fabulous work my friend. Wow. This is so special. I wished that some day I could go to that great nation that is so special to my heart. We had a church missionary stop there on his way to New Zealand and just couldn't stop talking about that great nation and her people.

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author avatar Rose*
28th Nov 2013 (#)

The Pacific is not a gentle ocean

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