Friday, August 10, 2012

Travel by Water

Travel by water is a whole lot different than walking, driving, flying, or riding by motorcycle or bike. First off, the perspective takes you back hundreds or even thousands of years, sailing through the centuries.

I remember in the summer of 1991, the excitement of taking a train down from London and hopping aboard a hydrofoil to the Isle of Wight. In another year, walking onto a ferryboat that rumbled from a pier at the edge of the Scottish mainland to the Isle of Skye, where Vikings raided a thousand years before. And in other years entirely, driving a car onto the Jamestown Ferry in Virginia, seeing the same water routes taken by Powhatan dugout canoes, English colonials and Union warships. Similarly, memories of the Mackinac Island Ferry experience and traces of the War of 1812 come forth.

The present locations of so many towns and cities make perfect sense by when eyed by water route -- no matter how inconvenient they seem by modern automobile and crisscrossed by maddening tunnels and bridges. Most strategic locations sited forts and ports in a way well-suited to waterborne transportation.

And now I remember, too, taking a hovercraft that carried about 350 people across the "Sleeve" (la Manche) from Dover to Calais.

Have you traveled by water? Anything leap to mind or swim into focus?

Today's Rune: Journey.     


Anonymous said...

Traveled by ferry from Staten Island to the Bronx, Jamestown Ferry, hydra foil, catamaran, sailing ship.Also a boat that took us down the river in China where we saw the much painted mountains, fisherman with cormorants on a leash, villages along the route where people were truly dirt poor.
Also took the ferry from Vancouver Island to Washington State. You have tweaked my memory banks.

Charles Gramlich said...

New Orleans is good evidence of that. I remember someone asking me, why would anyone in their right mind have settled the New Orleans area in the first place, it's so hard to get through." My thought was that they needed to think a bit more about history.