During our three week stay at Cremorne Point on Sydney Harbour, I became something of a crazed ferry catching maniac and couldn’t stay off the things. There were numerous, almost daily trips across to Circular Quay which is essentially ferry central on Sydney Harbour, although I’m not sure that it’s fair to say all ferries go via Circular Quay, it certainly seems to be the case.
I love Sydney’s ferries. Although they’re relatively modern and only date back to the mid 80’s, they seem older and have a aged, vintage feel and are ubiquitously part of the harbour as though they’ve always been there. Of course, that obviously not the case, and even I vaguely remember the wooden ferries from my childhood, but even they were Johnny-come-latelies and for tens of thousands of years the various Aboriginal people who were the traditional owners of lands around Sydney Harbour fished from their boats in a timeless procession. That is, until they were gone.
At times, I sense all this history yet much of the time I was tantalized by the magnificent views, exhilarated as the ferry picked up speed and the wind was blowing in my face and I was having the most thrilling time of my life living right on the very edge of the waves.
There was definitely something deeply captivating about these ferries which remains very hard to translate into words on the page. You just have to be there.
Anyway, today I decided to fuse my love of catching and photographing ferries with a blogshare I also enjoy called Thursday Doors, and I always find it interesting to see where people have spotted doors this week and where their adventures have led. Photographing doors can tell a much, much broader story than something that simply opens and shuts.
Of course, in the case of the ferries, the doors can also have a safety function, especially on a rough crossing. However, much of the time you don’t see much of the doors on the Sydney ferries because they’re open allowing passengers to move freely out onto the deck to enjoy the views, wind and salt spray in your face. Then, there’s that moment when the ferry pulls in and the deckhands madly thrown the gangplank out across the wharf to allow passengers to disembark. This whole process seems very old-worldy these days when everything is getting automated and there are even driver-less trains. I like it and it’s good to see people around and operating something and having a human interface. After all, we are not machines.
By the way, I think I’m going to put my mind to writing some poems and possibly a song about catching these Sydney ferries. Much to my surprise, there don’t seem to be many around and certainly nothing which immediately comes to mind. That said, I did come across two songs about catching the Manly Ferry:
There was also this Song about Manly ferries, written and sung by Pippa Johnson.
While whizzing around the Harbour on board the ferries was a lot of fun, there’s also that awareness that journeys come to an end.
Indeed, ferry timetables are something you really need to keep an eye on at night. There was only one ferry on the hour to Cremorne Point after 7.00pm I think it was and the last ferry leaves Circular Quay at midnight during the week and they don’t start up again until 6.05am which is a long wait unless you fork out for a water taxi.
Every a ferry needs a goodnight’s sleep!
Do you have a memories of catching ferries? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.