It’s not every day you get to drive a ferry across the Bay of Fundy

by DaniGirl on July 5, 2010 · 5 comments

in Ottawa to Nova Scotia 2010

Taking the ferry across from Digby, Nova Scotia to Saint John, New Brunswick seemed like a good idea in theory. It’s more or less the same amount of the day eaten up, but instead of driving up and around the land portion where Nova Scotia meets New Brunswick, you take what is as the crow flies a much shorter route, 72 kms across the Bay of Fundy.

498:1000 Traversing the Bay of Fundy

With a three hour crossing, though, the time spent in the car seems to be more or less the same, except letting the boys out for three hours in the middle of the trip seemed like a much better alternative than having them strapped in the car for all that time.

Or not.

They were, um, a little squirrelly on the ferry. Out on the deck, up on the upper deck, down again. Into the “arcade” (three ancient video games) and out again. Sit, flip through a book, up again. Over and over again. I had a brilliant flash of insight based on desperation about two-thirds of the way across, and asked the purser if there was any way to arrange a visit to the wheelhouse. (Is that the right word? The cockpit of a ferry is a wheelhouse, right? Ugh, I am such a city girl.) And to my surprise and delight, he brought us right up!

Driving the ferry

Driving the ferry

There was another dad up there entertaining his kids, and they each got a turn to steer the boat, too. The crew was great — they were explaining all the levers and dials to us, and they told Simon that the old (but still functioning) telegraph system from the old days was actually the torpedo and they used it to torpedo the whales. I think the kids still believe him!

Then the purser introduced the crew by name — the captain’s name was Mark and the first mate’s name was Danny. I laughed out loud and said, “Wow, my name is Dani and my husband’s name is Mark, and it’s our anniversary today!” The crew chuckled, and the other dad there with his kids said, “Hey, it’s our anniversary, too!” Turns out we were married on the same day AND we’re all from Ottawa. And that’s when the crew laughed rather nervously and started talking about looking for some salt to throw over our left shoulder!!

In all, the ferry was a long trip that smelled like fried fish on the inside and worse on the outside and that seemed to take about six hours instead of three. Next time, we’ll bank the $200 and drive the long way around! But, props and thanks to the Holiday Inn in Saint John (the *only* nice thing I can say about Saint John) who left us a bottle of wine, two wine glasses, and three bottles of water and a bag of BBQ “Crispers” for the boys when I called up in advance and told them we’d be arriving on our anniversary. That’s a lot better than last year at Great Wolf Lodge, when all we got was a chipper, “Well! Happy Anniversary to you!”

We’re home now, but I have more stories to tell, including five ideas that saved the trip, our new favourite obsession, and the story of a bloggy playdate. But for now, I have a whole lot of crap to put away!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chantal July 5, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Oh so cool!

2 Coco July 6, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Did Tristan grow about 6″ while I wasn’t looking?

3 Amber July 6, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Too bad about the ferry. I love our BC ferries, they’re a great way to travel with kids. Especially my ‘hate the car’ kids. But they have burgers and ice cream and indoor playgrounds showing kid’s TV, and some of them are even newish. So perhaps they’re better equipped that way.

4 Paula July 7, 2010 at 7:48 am

Glad, for the most part that you enjoyed your trip. Looking forward to all your upcoming posts. Enjoy your BOLO play date today.

5 Cynthia July 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Hi Dani,

So you took the ferry after all! I am so glad your boys got to get up front and man the ship. Great adventure. Thank you for sharing so much of what I love about this province. Even thought it may have started off a bit lampoonish without your key to your roof rack! Great adventure and one more reason to appreciate our moms.


Cynthia (@cynatnovascotia)

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