Thursday, March 12, 2015

Memories of ferry rides in different parts of the world

Does the sight of a ferry pier gladden your heart?

What's the ferry equivalent of a trainspotter?

View on the ferry ride from Chi Ma Wan to Mui Wo

On Sunday afternoon, my heart leapt a little when I spotted a ferry pier near the now disused prisons at Chi Ma Wan.  Yes, catching a ferry from there to Mui Wo saved my hiking friend and I a few kilometers of hiking to the nearest bus stop from where we were.  But, in all honesty, I also like taking ferry rides just for the sake of doing so -- that is, if they don't give me seasickness.

As a child growing up in Penang, the one ferry I knew best was the one that took people and their cars, motorcycles and bicycles between George Town (over on Penang Island) and Butterworth, over on the mainland of Peninsula Malaysia.  And it wasn't until my first visit to Hong Kong, at the age of 11, that I came across another ferry.  (And yes, inevitably, that would be the Star Ferry that crosses the Victoria Harbour, specifically between Tsim Sha Tsui (on the Kowloon Peninsula) and Central (on Hong Kong Island).)

Perhaps because they make such short journeys, I never experienced any seasickness when riding those ferries.  Indeed, I never imagined that I would experience such a thing until I did so on an overnight ferry ride between Japan's Kyushu and Honshu Islands on the first trip to the country that I took back when I was 14 years old!  

And strangely, I don't recall feeling seasick -- only fearful! -- on a super choppy ferry ride between the Channel Islands of Sark and Guernsey one evening when I was in my late teens.  (Maybe it was the adrenaline rush that came from -- and this I vividly remember -- seeing someone who had not fastened his seatbelt being thrown up so high he hit his head on the ceiling during that ride!) 

On the other hand, I definitely remember the ferry rides between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar that I took more often than I would have liked when I lived in Tanzania in what seemed like another lifetime ago -- ones that were so vomit-inducing that they ferry crew would issue passengers with plastic bags to vomit into when they boarded the ferry.  (Needless to say, seeing clear plastic bags filled with vomit is pretty much guaranteed to make one feel nauseous, if one wasn't already; and ditto upon smelling vomit around you!)

For a time, after more than one ferry ride to Macau and Lamma left me feeling rather green, I tried to steer clear of ferries while living here in Hong Kong.  At some point though, a friend of mine suggested that I finally try taking anti-seasickness pills, which I had hitherto avoided because of a fear that they'd make me too drowsy -- and after doing so, I really wanted to hit myself for not having done so earlier!

At the same time, I learnt years ago -- courtesy of a friendly Tanzanian ferry crew member -- that when I am on a ferry (or kaito) where I can be out in the open air and breathe in fresh air, I don't tend to get seasick -- and, in fact, really do enjoy the rides and the feel of such as the breeze on my face along with the sights on view along the way!  So I only take the anti-seasickness pills when I'm going on a ferry where there's enclosed seating areas only.  Still, in any event, it's really good indeed to have that option -- especially when one's living in a part of the world where there are so many ferry services being offered! ;b


eastcoastlife said...

I get seasick easily and usually don't enjoy a ferry ride. :P

A Chinese friend once brought me to take a ferry near HK airport to Dongguan. Luckily I didn't get seasick.

YTSL said...

Hi EastCoastLife --

I recommend you try taking anti-seasickness pills. It was life-changing for me! :b

Bill said...


"Does the sight of a ferry pier gladden my heart?" Yes it does, including anything to do with ferries, such as the photos and text of this blog...In calmer seas, I find ferries relaxing and therapeutic...Of the ferries you mention, Hong Kong's ferries and the Butterworth-George Town ferry were especially memorable for me.

I hope you visit the Basel Art Fair and blog about it. Looking at online photos, I saw some interesting artworks.


YTSL said...

Hi Bill --

By Hong Kong ferries, do you mean just the Star Ferry or many of the others too?

And funny that you mentioned Art Basel -- I was indeed there earlier today, and have now got a blog post up about it. :)

Bill said...


When I mentioned Hong Kong ferries, I was mostly referring to outlying islands ferries to Lamma, Lantau, Cheung Chau, etc...One I took a long time ago but impressed me was the one from University with a brief stopover in Tap Mun...The ferry rides I would most like to take: Po Toi and the long ride to Ping Chau.


YTSL said...

Hi again Bill --

I've yet ot take the ferry from the pier near Chinese University all the way to Tap Mun. It's one I'd like to do though -- and having gone on them, yes, can recommend the ferry rides to Po Toi and Tung Ping Chau (along with visits to those islands). :)