Friday, January 11, 2013

should they pay the ferryman?***

At 45 seconds you can hear how a fair dinkum Aussie says "focaccia" 

Thursday morning B1 rang and said “will bread rolls and some ham be okay?”
“Oh,” sez I, “you were going to ring on Monday and tell me what day you were coming for lunch. We’re all on our way to the hairdresser’s in Mornington.”
“Oh,” replied my big brother. “What street is the hairdresser in, we can meet you there?”.

TO had “had her roots done” last week, but Aunty and I were still in desperate need of a haircut each. B1 and his lovely wee wifey M arrived just as Aunty and I were coughing up for our new coifs, and in no time at all we were seated around a table at Kirks* for a lovely lunch by the sea.

Towards the end of the lunch, B1 enquired about the Sorrento ferry. B1 and M live in Sydney, but young Liam [see FruitCake’s dazzling portrait] and his parents live in Gisborne, across the bay and far far away.
Wee wifey M put her head down into her hand and groaned quietly at the mention of a ferry. She is not a seafarer, it seems.

We all as one [wee wifey excepted] swivelled our heads to look out on to the relatively calm waters of Port Phillip Bay. Well, the whitecaps were small-ISH. And we were not in the middle of a heatwave even though the sun was shining.

“I promise you,” I promised wee M, “you’ll be fine. If TO can cross on the ferry without being sick, anyone can.”

50 years ago TO was a Sea Ranger. She has been a mad keen fisherperson more than 50 years. She still loves nothing more than to climb into a dinghy sized boat and go a few miles out to catch snapper or flathead – so long as the Bay is glassy calm, the tide is right, the moon is right and the wind is not blowing.

“Gosh,” I assured M, “TO and I were heading across to Tassie on the ferry, and she took a whole packet of Phenergan and 3 gross of motion sickness pills. We were fine for an hour or two until the ferry reached the heads, dipping its toe into the treacherous waters of Bass Strait.** The hull moved up about half an inch then dropped down again. TO sat bolt upright in her bunk, eyes wide open demanding, in a slightly forceful tone, I tell her WHAT’S HAPPENING?

If TO can take the ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff without being sick, anyone can.”

Wee wifey M still looked pale and unconvinced.

“Seriously”, I continued. “TO has told me many times about how rough it was the first time she crossed the Irish Sea…”

“How rough was it?” you would ask if you were listening on Skype rather than merely reading a blog.

“She says it was so rough, even the nuns were throwing up.”

I know, I know. You are wondering, as I often do, why the inability of nuns to hold on to their tucker should be an indicator of how rough the sea is. Has it something to do with casting bread upon waters? Were they simply scattering berley as part of the fishers of men bizzo? Or is it something they don't make a habit of?

When TO and I finally made a trip across the Irish Sea together, it was a tad choppy but there was nothing remotely like a swell happening, or even a large-ISH wave. As TO sat at a table in the ferry's bar, groaning and greening with her head in her hands, she looked up and realised I was filming.

“Turn that off!” she had snapped, a tad disappointed to see me filming her attack of mal de mer. Or perhaps disappointed that I was laughing while filming.

I kept the camera rolling, and panned across to where some drunk was nonchalantly walking while using one hand to balance a tray with half a dozen pints of Guinness on it, not spilling a drop.

If I had started to hum My Breakfast Lies Over the Ocean while filming this was not to be cruel but only because my indie doco was in need of a sound track.
But I digress.

“By recommending the Sorrento to Queenscliff ferry I’m not dismissing your dislike of the water,” I assured wee wifey M. “Things that are all in the mind are very powerful, I know. Why I once saw a very Samoan friend turn green standing at the end of a jetty over the Burnett River….When the tide was turning.”

The Sorrento to Queenscliff ferry is not overly cheap, but what you save in road tolls, time, petrol and stress more than make up for the cost. And if you are on holidays or simply having a day out it’s a lovely drive. Along what is only a narrow-ISH winding-ISH road.


*Kirks gets mixed reviews. It always seems packed at night time, but Mornington is a village sized… well, village… that attracts city sized crowds in beach season, so packed makes sense.
It was relatively busy at lunch but we had no trouble getting a table. I was excited to find a pasta dish that didn’t have carbonara or pesto in it. [Pumpkin and parmesan ravioli with a sage type sauce thingy. V nice.]
The menu choices didn’t seem overly cheap, but plenty of pubs in Melbourne suburbs charge the same prices for horse-sized portions of much less imaginative grub. 
The service was pleasant and, because it was a get-together lunch we were not in a hurry. At least the meals arrived together.

**Well, this is not exactly how I put it, but the substance is true

***Here's a link just in case you would like to revisit Who Pay's the Ferryman's theme


  1. Paying the ferryman has been covered....ah, I did notice the word roots somewhere though? The ferry does save time but it is too expensive for regular commuters. I have heard some have a bicycle at each side, and so don't pay for a car.

    1. I'm sure you would have covered them somewhere, Andrew?

      The bicycle idea for regular commuters sounds a lot more economical.

  2. 'You can have a coffee or a Phuck-Cartcha' - no doubt to incur even more sea sickness in passengers!

    1. The ferry is a bit like Virgin Airlines - the tickets are not the cheapest and the food is extra and the extra is not that great... but few of us travel that way very often. [BYO sick bag ha ha].

  3. Many years ago we traveled on the Sorrento to Queenscliff ferry when i happen to look over the side and found that we were being escorted by mum, dad and bub dolphin all the way to Sorrento.

    1. Dolphins escorting boats would have to be one of life's top ten treats, I reckon.