Tales from Sea.

Last Tuesday, Kurt and I got up an hour earlier to catch the early ferry into town for our first morning gym session. I had never taken the early ferry before and wasn't sure if it had the same "if we see you running down the street, we'll wait for you" policy that our regular ferry had, so we made sure to be at the stop a little early. We boarded at 7:00, and the ferry was set to leave at 7:15. The captain and a crew member hopped off and headed into the little coffee shop at the ferry stop, while the other crew member checked ferry passes as we got on.

At about 7:03, just as I was settling into my book, I felt the ferry lurch and then start moving away from the dock. It took me a second before I realized that this wasn't suppose to happen for at least another 12 minutes or so, and then another second to realize that it wasn't just leaving early...it was actually just drifting away.

Without the captain.

I should take a moment to describe what we're dealing with here. A fairly large catamaran-style ferry, floating in no more than 20 feet of water (at that particular spot), which was probably at least 85 degrees. The water was calm, the weather was clear. However, we were also surrounded by things like rocks, a steel bridge and other such firmly stationed items like, oh, docks and houses. Drifting away from the dock with no steering capabilities? Not ideal.

As it was still fairly early, there were only a handful of people onboard besides ourselves. However, the powers that be could not have picked a worse crowd to be in a potential "situation" on the water. Besides (calm, logically minded) Kurt and myself (calm, less logically minded), there were about 6 women of varying ages and a gentleman who I had thought worked for the ferries but now, after this experience, assume that he does not. Some of the ladies lost it when they realized what was happening. "JESUS! LORD SAVE ME JESUS! I CAN'T SWIIIIIIMMMMMMM!!!! SAVE ME JESUS!" etc. etc. "THERE'S NO ONE UPSTAIRS! THERE'S NO ONE DRIVING THE BOAT! WE'RE GONNA HIT THE ROOOOCKS! LORD JESUS SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE ME!" etc. etc.

Effin' chaos.

Kurt and I were a little bewildered by it all. WTF are you supposed to do in this situation? When we looked over and saw the Captain standing on the dock, and realized that the screaming ladies were, in fact, accurate in their observations, Kurt took off and sprinted upstairs to make sure that someone was up there...or, I guess, drive the boat backwards if there wasn't.

I should also mention that the ferries are state of the art. There is no lever that you can just pull into reverse and back it back up to the dock. From what I've seen, it's controlled by buttons and something that looks like a joystick. Actually, with his video game background, Kurt probably could have figured it out if he'd had to. Luckily, he didn't. The poor other crew member, left alone on the ferry while his colleagues went to get their morning coffee, had sprinted upstairs and was trying to figure out the controls when Kurt arrived.

While Kurt was upstairs figuring out how we were going to avoid hitting the bridge, I stayed downstairs and tried to calm down the absolutely hysterical women. I don't know how it's even possible to grow up here and not know how to swim, but apparently none of them did...and they were all locals. They were freaking out, cursing at the Captain (still waving at us and laughing on the dock with the rest of the passengers), shouting for Jesus to sweep in and save them from their horrible, unavoidable watery death when the ferry suddenly switched into reverse and we started drifting backwards. When they realized that they might not, in fact, die, they quieted down. Kurt was back downstairs by that point, and the ferry guy was steering us slowly backwards towards the dock. It took some instructions yelled from the Captain, but he manouevered us back into position, they secured the rope (a step clearly missed earlier), and normal ferry service resumed. In fact, we were even close to schedule...after all of that.

The ladies remained quiet(er), but they were severely unimpressed. Even with my headphones on, I could hear snippits of the story being repeated to passengers boarding at the next stop, who had been lucky enough to miss out on the fun. "We were all going to die" and "he just stood there, laughing at us" and "Lord, that was a blessing"...it was great eavesdropping material.

As for the Captain...it wasn't his fault that the ferry took off without him, or most of the other passengers. It's not his job to tie it up. I'd laugh too. In fact, I did.

Ridiculous. Ah...the morning commute. Always a good time.


Anonymous said...

That is awesome.

x rachel

Post a Comment