While in New Zealand, Mr. HalfFull and I drove around much of the North Island. It was gorgeous, but everyone kept telling us about the beauty of the South Island. However, we visited New Zealand during their winter season and realized that our gear may not be appropriate for traveling closer to the Antarctic. But we still wanted to visit the South Island, even if we only saw a small part.
The most common form of transportation between the two islands is ferry boat. These massive ships even have a parking deck reserved for tractor-trailers transporting goods between the islands. We also saw a number of passenger vehicles on the ferry, but most rental car companies do not allow it. So it was just us and our duffels.
The ferry ride to the South Island was fairly peaceful. I didn’t see anyone turn green and/or run to the bathroom. After arriving on the South Island, we spent a few days in the quaint port town of Picton, where I did not find my passion, but I did find “Peace, Perfect Peace.”
The return trip, however, was not so calm. I think that if the trips had been reversed, I would have flown back to the North Island rather than endure another ferry ride. Ferries seem so charming and romantic until you are tossed around inside the ship like tiny plastic figurines. It was truly horrible.
We woke up early that morning for our return ferry, bundled up, checked out of our hotel, and walked to the ferry terminal only to find that our boat was 2 hours delayed. The ferry company claimed that the conditions were poor. But we heard from others that the ferry wasn’t full, so they made a business decision to combine multiple departure times into one ship full of passengers and cargo. I didn’t really know what to believe, but I was feeling rather half empty since I had left my warm cozy bed to be there early. Plus the café wasn’t even open to supply me with coffee as I waited!
Hours later, we boarded the ship. As we passed through the Marlborough Sound, the conditions seemed fine to me. What was the weather delay all about? I soon discovered that the seas got much rougher as we headed into more open waters. We were on the uppermost deck inside a huge ferry with 9 decks and the waves were crashing against the windows in a sea of white. It was as if we were on an airplane flying through turbulent clouds.
I went to the food court to find a soda to settle my stomach. But I could barely stand. The ship was tossing me as I tried to stand my ground like a surfer in a wide bent leg stance with arms outstretched. I had to leave without buying anything because I couldn’t hold still long enough to read the labels and grab something without vomiting. I thought it would be poor form to do so in the middle of the food court, so I returned to my seat.
Sitting across the aisle was a woman whose face had turned white. She had obviously been vomiting and looked terrible. The crew came around with ice chips for us to suck on, but that didn’t help. Soon I couldn’t take it anymore and joined the other woman in the bathroom where I produced my own triple vomit waterfall. Still shaking, I returned to my seat. Apparently, there was a similar waterfall scene in the men’s restroom as well.
When we finally arrived back on the North Island (me, a few pounds of vomit lighter), we picked up our rental car and headed to our next destination. Unfortunately, the drive was filled with winding, curvy mountain roads that were not kind to my already upset tummy.
I survived, but I’m not sure I want to take another 3 hour ferry ride…ever!
- How do you react to travel delays?
- Do you find ferry boats charming and romantic?
- Have you experienced sea sickness?
- Would you rather fly or ferry?