It’s called Manly because sissies won’t take the ferry.

22 Aug

Everyone told me I had to take the ferry to Manly while I’m here. What they didn’t tell me was that I might need to wear a diaper.

Manly is one of the beaches north of Sydney, right where the Harbor opens out to the Pacific Ocean. You get there by taking a 30-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay right in Sydney Harbor.

My guidebook told me to take my camera, so I did, plunking myself on a bench out on the deck so I could snap some photos. Opera House? Check. Harbour Bridge? Check. I was snapping along happily, right up until the point where we passed where the Harbor opens into the Ocean.

The waves started to get bigger, the boat started to rock, and suddenly the deck was getting pummeled by waves. Naturally, I grabbed my little camera and slid inside the cabin so I could stay dry behind a window.

I’m so glad I did, because the action was only just beginning. The waves got bigger and it was as stomach-lurching as riding a roller coaster while we were heading into the waves. People on board were actually squealing as if they were on a roller coaster, looking at each other with large eyes that seemed to say, “Can you believe this?”

The younger version of me (that also enjoyed turbulence on airplanes) would’ve loved this. The current version of me had images of sharks chewing my legs off when we capsized.

But then we had to turn toward shore and we were going parallel with the waves, so the boat was rocking what felt like 45 degrees to each side. (I think real sea people – potentially known themselves as sailors – call that “listing.” They also probably don’t find it terrifying.)

At this point I was racking my brain, trying to remember if I’d heard of any passenger ferries capsizing in Sydney Harbor. I hadn’t, which made me feel better for a second. But then I also remembered one of Bill Bryson’s observations from In a Sunburned Country: Australia receives almost no news coverage in the United States.

When I met up with my friends in Manly, I asked if the ferry ride was always so, um, choppy. Apparently it’s only bad during or in the wake of a storm, which would explain why my crossing had been so rough. It had stormed the night before and although the skies were blue in Manly, you could see a gray wall of rain out over the ocean.

There’s a lot to like about Manly, and I’ll write more about that in a separate post. Even so, I can’t imagine living there. That commute would kill me. Or I’d get fired for calling in sick every time it rained.

4 Responses to “It’s called Manly because sissies won’t take the ferry.”

  1. Alicia August 22, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Love the post title and opening paragraph. Better you than me, my sister.

  2. skippingstones August 22, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    I watched the video – Oh, my goodness! I’m with Alicia, better you than me. I mean… you poor thing. The one in the video looks like it’s trying to go under the waves, not over them.

    But what an adventure! You’re in Australia!

  3. sara August 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    I rode a ferry from the Isle of Man to England (my first ferry ride ever). I got drunk before hand (forgetting I have severe motion sickness) I was flying from one wall to another just landing on people. Luckily, I kept apologizing and they thought I was so cute because I was American and Southern. Then my friend gave me a valuim and I remember nothing else of the ride. Good times.

  4. Ms Mary August 23, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    I bet the ride is good for your core muscles, though. 🙂 All that resistance …

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