Rough Notes to the Newfunlun

The winds of Isidore (Hurricane in residue/tropical storm): increasing turbulence of the Gulf of St. Lawrence as we cross on our 6 hour ride. from North Sydney, Cape Breton, to Port aux Basque, Newfoundland, I take notes on our turbulent ferry ride:

Synonyms of turbulence: commotion, agitation, clamor, bedlam, hurly-burly, perturbation.

Chairs at dining hall tables fall— a startled group—fallen rows on the east side of tables. Glasses fall, massively shattering, in canteen and bar. 

Walk from side to side down passageway, compensating for movement of waves.  Swaying our strange lurching gait, we encounter others, some whose look says: this is nothing unusual, some whose look is troubled, some who grin like crazy, rejoicing in turbulence.

Out on deck, sis and I lurched about, cameras in hand, trying to snap pictures. Going virtually from stem to stern: wind and spray won’t let us forward past the wheelhouse. Snap a pic of her daring it, leaning into the uproar like an airplane in the horizontal wash of rain. Pass the smiling steward in the hatchway. He sees, but does not look directly at us, our glee. The elements, the many elements and their greatness on this trip!  

Up until this ferry ride I have questioned: what am I doing here on a road trip to Newfoundland with my sister and friend?  I am too old and dead in my ways. Too old to travel away from my (also sometimes dead) too comfortable nest. Then, meeting these mighty elements brings me alive again and makes me grateful with the sense of purpose and life.

A definite rhythm to the turbulence.  Try to capture (trying): sitting at the dining room table I feel it: rattle rattle rattle, bang bang bang; back and forth and back and forth and back and forth.  Glassware jiggles to this incessant rhythm, the doors on commode stalls jiggle and bang (the latter left open to the rhythm). There is something ominous and eerie about this rhythm. I am exactly reminded of turbulence while flying. The passengers are silent.

The above are my notes from the trip.

At the end of September my sister and my old friend and I went to Newfoundland together, starting out in my truck here in Maine and driving through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and Cape Breton till we came to the ferry. Then the real adventure began, as we rode six hours on the waves of the remnants of Isidore, the hurricane. Exhilarating to be heaved on those waves. Sis and I scampered about, the only ones on deck in the plume and wind. We saw a steward standing at the open hatch. He was grinning from here-to-there and not-looking at us as though we were both in on the secret too. Such elemental thrills, making me alive every inch. I don’t experience that often now. And I look forward to such renewal again, but maybe not in this life (though I hope). 

Everything on board rattled around and crashed  to the floor. So many poor sad ill people, the sound of vomiting in the. I had taken motion sickness pills and was not bothered. My friend was wondering when they were going to break out the life jackets. Maybe a word over the now silent intercom about life-boats? She would not stir from her seat in the canteen, handmade books (artwork) spread out around her: a queen ensconced.

There was a definite rhythm to the banging around, and from the dining cabin we could hear all the toilet stall doors rattling in this rhythm. We heard the jingling of cutlery and plate and glass; and, in the bar, racks of glasses fell and broke on the cabin floor. All the chairs in the dining room on the port side fell at once to the floor.

When finally we sailed smoothly, engines reversing, toward the harbor (the shaking done) it was dark and the lights of Newfoundland shone from the town like some jeweled planet in deep space. Then we knew we were in for a (new) land of adventure.