We're not even yet Ferry.

Saturday, 6 December 2014


We probably visit Bruny Island 3-5 times a year for various reasons including paddling, running, bushwalking and general touristing with friends.

To get to there you have to take a 15 minute ferry journey that leaves from Kettering, 20k south of here.  The ferry generally keeps to its timetable, but sometimes you might get to the ferry queue on time, but be left behind anyway because it gets full.  

In 2012 we had a bad run with the ferry, we kept missing it by a few minutes, or if we didn't miss it, we got left behind anyway. Once Jon and I arrived in separate cars just a few minutes apart  and he made it onto the ferry while I got left behind had to wait another hour.   We really had a run of bad 'ferry karma'.

In 2013 however,  balance was restored and we had an overall run of good luck and a few times we were the very last car to fit  ONTO the ferry, or we thought we'd missed it but it was running 'off' schedule so we made it anyway.   So we were even.

So this year, armed with my belief that it will pretty much all balance itself out in the end, we have had a fairly relaxed attitude towards the ferry - after all, we can't control if it's full or running early or late - we can only get ourselves there in good time and hope for the best.  Last weekend though, we were too relaxed. Heading back from our paddling adventure we didn't even bother to check the timetable (figuring the most we would have to wait would be an hour anyway) and after a 10 minute stop at the cheese factory, we arrived at the queue to see a ferry departing.  Much to our horror we then discovered that the next ferry was actually scheduled for a whole hour and 40 minutes later. I was also feeling really sick & feverish by that stage, so the long wait was really tedious. However I consoled myself with the fact that it was such high level of bad ferry karma,  that we would be granted some good ferry karma on some future journey.

That wasn't to be this morning though. So Jon could start his race early (you can start anytime after 4am), Jon slept over with friends on the Island last night and the kids and I planned to take the 7:45 ferry so that we would arrive to catch up and offer support services (food, drink, shoulders to cry on etc etc) to Jon after he'd been running for around 2.5 hours.   We had planned to leave home at 7 to arrive at the queue with an easy 20 minutes to spare to be assured of making it on as there would be extra traffic due to the race.   We actually left home 5 minutes earlier than that because I wanted to get petrol from Margate, about halfway there.   Everything was going to plan until I pulled into the petrol station and discovered I didn't have my wallet with me. Noooooo!

I didn't want to risk returning home and thus missing the ferry and leaving Jon for another hour and forty-five minutes to slog away without support (and wonder what happened to us) - so I did a quick check of my bag and found enough change straight away to give me belief that we might be able to put together enough cash (I thought we needed $20 or $25 but I wasn't sure).  So I set Zali and Jett onto the task of finding and counting coins while I kept driving and sure enough, by the time we got to Kettering they had scrounged up $25 exactly. Phew!  My relief was short lived though, as I approached the pay station I discovered that it was actually going to be $30.   

I decided that it was worth just explaining my situation to the pay station people and hoping that they would let me on - after all, it was only $5, and I'd be driving right past them on the way back with Jon's money so it would be no trouble to pay what I owed on the way home.    I was actually reasonably confident that this would be ok - embarrassing for me, but who would be so mean as to not help someone in this situation - I certainly would.   Who wouldn't? Well the cold-hearted meanies in the pay station that's who. It was all 'we can't, we're not allowed, we won't be here later blah blah blah'  - although when I started to sound quite desperate (while explaining what their refusal to temporarily let me off $5 fricking bucks would mean for Jon),  they partially relented and said that if  they could see some photo-id, then it might be ok. Of course I didn't have any photo id as it was in my f*&king wallet.   And there was absolutely no budging them from that position.   By this time I was so upset & frustrated that I just got out of the car, walked up to the people who had gone through the pay station in front of me - a group of 5 runners who had gotten out of their car to stretch their legs, and asked them if I could borrow $5 to get onto the ferry as I was $5 short.  Without a second's hesitation or any questions they gave me $5. Like most people, I recon they figured that if I was desperate enough to ask complete strangers for cash, I must really need it!   So I marched right back to the pay station, handed it over with my handfuls of change, got my ticket and made it onto the ferry.    Now it's true that I engineered this crisis myself,  but I feel their mean-spiritedness added to the debt of good-ferry-karma that I was now owed. 

So on the way back to the ferry at the end of the race we had to take a detour to pick up the other car that Jon had left near the start.  We found ourselves with less than 15 minutes until the ferry departed,  and about 15k of very windy road to drive to the terminal.   As we raced along - Jon zooming away in the green car,  me struggling along behind in the lesser powered red car - I envisioned myself being left on the island all by myself to stew, while Jon and the kids sailed homewards.   I guess the ferry gods were in fact feeling a bit guilty after the morning's incident as we made it with 30 seconds to spare and we were the last two cars onto the ferry - it was also so full that only one more car would have fitted on after us had they had time to make it.  

So we got some redress, however I feel we're still owed.

PS. On the ferry over I wrote down the registration number of the guys that helped me out, so I could repay them later.  Which I did.   Also when we got home I found my wallet just by the front door where it must have fallen out of my bag as we left.