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10 December 2017

OMG we're grounded for hours on a sandbar

Click photo to enlarge.

Passengers aboard the P&O ferry Pride of Kent watch rescue operations after the vessel ran aground during bad weather in the port of Calais in northern France, 10 December 2017. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

I love ferries. If all my traveling had been via ferry, that would have been Totally Swell with Vleeptron Dude. (But hell, I've helium blimped, I've ridden a camel, I've whirly-birded, I've STOLed, I've driven an ATV thru polar-bear-infested tundra ...)

I guess I've taken 3 or 4 ferries back and forth across la Manche -- UKers call it Something Else -- and I strongly suspect most were owned and operated by P&O.

First off, look at the photo of the stranded ferry passengers. They were stuck on Pride of Kent for many hours. (They had to wait for High Tide to refloat the stuck ferry. Time and Tide wait for No Man, Woman or Non-Binary.)

Look how uncomfortable they seem. Look how wrought with panic and anxiety. Look at them yawning.

Ever been in a big airport where weather or a volcanic eruption or labor troubles have canceled all the flights for a few days? Welcome to Hell. Angry, Crying-Jag Hell. With a chorus of Melted-Down little children, filthy clogged toilets. Drug and bomb-sniffing dogs (speak to them in German, they only understand German commands).

But you're not in an airport.

Relax. That's how the damn ferry was designed in the first place -- so a few hundred people could relax and be pleasured in a variety of comfortable ways for hours -- about 3 hours across la Manche, or ... hmmm ... about 8 hours from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Newfoundland. 

(Take the midnight ferry, the noon ferry is the one they fill with explosives and flammables. Just sayin' ...)

Whoops! Is there some kind of delay?

Is the ferry sinking? Have they ordered you to lifeboat stations over the Tannoy®?

If not ... well, just relax. Find a comfy stuffed couch. Lie down. Have a drink. Have 9 drinks. (Hey, YOU'RE not driving the boat ...) Sometimes the ferry will serve Delay Drinks on the house.

So far I've never had a Scary Moment on a ferry. (Okay, I've sea-sick barfed for a few hours, but on that voyage -- Yarmouth Nova Scotia to Portland Maine -- the ferry crew was puking, too. (Horatio Nelson was seasick his whole Royal Navy career, so what?) But no Vrai or even Faux Scaries.

Look: Travel means Delays. Surprises. Screwups.

To avoid these entirely, Don't Travel. Stay Home. Play Crimson Skies on your XBox One.

In the photo above, you're looking at a bunch of mildly annoyed but comfortable, relaxed passengers. They're on a machine designed to relax for hours. Some ferries have little casinos, so you can relieve the tedium with one-armed bandits (worst sucker game in the casino, math equivalent to throwing money into a toilet in hope of the toilet spitting money back) or blackjack. They're not even seasick, because the Pride of Kent was stuck on a sandbar. Buy a fresh tasty snack.

If you hate ferries, or lost your life on a ferry (I rode the identical twin ferry of the one that sank departing Zeebrugge, everybody drowned), whatever your ferry gripe is, Leave A Comment. Won't change my feelings about ferries, not in the slightest.


Reuters (UK newswire)
Sunday 10 December 2017


Grounded ferry in Calais refloated, passengers disembarked

LILLE, France (Reuters) -- A P&O ferry with more than 300 people on board which had run aground in Calais harbour in northern France has been refloated and all passengers have disembarked, a P&O Ferries spokesman said on Sunday.

The Dover-bound Pride of Kent had run aground on a sand bank around midday as she tried to leave the Calais harbour in stormy weather. Nobody was injured.

The ship, supported by two tug boats, was refloated as the tide came in early evening and all passengers have disembarked.

The spokesman said most passengers would continue their journey to the UK on other P&O ferries tonight, while some would stay overnight in Calais on P&O’s expense.

UK-based P&O operates 20 ferries which carry 9,000,000 passengers per year between France, Belgium, The Netherlands and across the Irish Sea.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Pierre Savary; 

Editing by Peter Graff 

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