This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (http://rbmartiniv.smugmug.com).

Friday, July 26, 2013

The MV Atlantic Vision


We eased out of St. John’s around 11:30AM yesterday.  There was no hurry as we only had 84 miles to drive to the ferry terminal at Argentia where the ferry, the MV Atlantic Vision, would be waiting for us.  Boarding would not begin until 3:00PM for the 5:00PM departure.  We had planned to stop somewhere along the way for lunch but didn’t find anything before reaching the terminal a little before 1:30PM.  We entered a short line at the entry gatewhere the length of our motorhome and towed vehicle was measured and the tag numbers of the motorhome and car checked off of the pre-approved list.  I was given a slip of paper with the tag numbers and length written on it and instructed to drive up to one of several booths.  We drove to the booth and presented this slip of paper along with our photo IDs and reservation number to the agent.  She checked her computer, confirmed the reservation and gave us boarding passes and key cards to our cabin.  She told us that the computer showed that we had prepaid for a length of 62 feet but it only measured 60 feet so we would receive a $140 refund!  Why didn’t I get a refund on the ride over to Newfoundland?  I guess the rig shrank two feet somewhere along the way.  Of course I certainly wasn’t going to argue with her.  Once all of that was taken care of we were directed to drive through a long metal building in which ferry employees with high-pressure hoses “rinsed” off the motorhome as we slowly drove through.  I was told this was done for agricultural reasons (apparently Nova Scotia wants as little dirt from Newfoundland as possible).  After the rinse (no blow dry) we were told to line up in row #10 of 13 or 14 long rows that were divided by solid yellow lines.  All of that took perhaps 10 or 15 minutes so we still had over an hour before loading was scheduled to begin.  Carol Ann and I went into the ferry terminal to grab some lunch but found the cafeteria closed.  However, there was free coffee (or tea) and your choice of all kinds of Tim Horton’s donuts and muffins (as many as you thought you could eat).  After two sour cream donuts and a cup of coffee I strolled into the gift shop and bought a Newfoundland T-shirt.  Since I have yet to see a moose I didn’t want one with a moose on it but every one of their T-shirts had a moose somewhere on it in some shape or form.  I wanted a Newfoundland T-shirt so had no choice but to get one with a moose.

We went back out to the motorhome, which by now was surrounded by other vehicles.  I chatted with a group of Canadians who were sitting out in lawn chairs between two campers.  They were from New Brunswick and were returning from a two-week holiday.  Finally, an announcement was made over the PA system for everyone to return to their vehicles for boarding.  Loading the four garage decks of a ferry does not happen real fast.  It was probably 3:30PM before we drove onto the ferry.  After shutting off the engine we set out plenty of food and water for the cats, cracked a few windows, and opened the two overhead vents to make sure they would get fresh air.  We told the cats we were sorry for leaving them overnight, locked up the coach, and got in the elevator for deck 8 and our cabin.  The cabin had two single beds about three feet apart.  They were both against the walls of the room with a bedside table and window between them.  There was a small closet and a desk on one side of the room and the bathroom on the other side.  The shower in our motorhome is larger than the shower in the cabin.  We also had cable TV, something we haven’t seen since leaving the states five weeks ago.  Unfortunately, it was Canadian TV, one of the very few things (black flies head the list) that I dislike about Canada. 

After putting our stuff away we went exploring.  I have never been on a cruise ship, but this ferry must have been very much like a somewhat smaller version of one.  There were eleven decks which housed not only the vehicles but also cabins, movie theaters, bars, restaurants, a card room, internet room (the internet was so slow that I could not use it), kennels, a small “casino” (just a few machines), health club, and sauna.  As we explored I couldn’t believe how smooth the ride was even though there was a strong wind making white caps on the water.  Then I realized that we had yet to cast off from the dock!   It was so foggy that you couldn’t see much beyond the railing of the ship and I couldn’t help but think about the icebergs we had seen earlier in the trip along with the graves of the Titanic victims.

A short while later the ship left the dock and the buffets were opened.  We had been given vouchers for dinner and helped ourselves to some very good food.  There was roast beef, ham, pot roast, pork roast, and bacon-wrapped cod plus several vegetables, salads, and desserts.  After dinner we returned to our cabin and turned on the TV.  The Discovery Channel came on and it was Shark Week!  Great.  Now I had great whites to worry about along with the icebergs and fog.

It didn’t take long once we were out in the Atlantic before the ship began to pitch and roll.  The ocean was rough but the ship was big.  I sat up in my bed to write this and the rocking and rolling motion never stopped.  We had a fairly big window but it was useless because of the fog.  It was like looking out of an airplane window while flying through a cloud (and experiencing a little turbulence).   I went to bed hoping to be rocked to sleep to the music of the lonely foghorn.

Our ETA in N. Sydney, NS was 10:00AM.  We would have time to get some breakfast and hopefully see something other than fog.  The RV park was only 3 miles from the ferry terminal and we would be there for 4 days.  It is the same park (Arm of Gold RV Park) we stayed in the night before boarding the ferry from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland.  I don’t remember if they had Wi-Fi but hope to get this posted from somewhere tomorrow

I awoke at what was a very early time for me.  It was around 6:00AM and daylight.  The ride was exceptionally smooth, the fog almost gone, and the ocean calm.  We hadn’t hit an iceberg or been eaten by a great white so I tried to go back to sleep.  I was up and getting dressed when the alarm went off at 7:00AM.  Carol Ann was still a little woozy from the ship’s motions last night so I went down to the breakfast buffet alone.  It was a good breakfast and I ate my fill, drank coffee, and chatted with some of our group that was also having breakfast.  At 8:30AM we were given the “one hour warning” that we would be docking at 9:30AM.  I met Carol Ann back at the cabin and after getting our clothes packed we went down to the lounge area and waited with the rest of our group.  Once the ship was secured at the dock we were instructed to return to our vehicles and be ready to off-load.  She Kitty was waiting for us in the passenger seat and welcomed us back when I opened the door to the motorhome.  The other two were nowhere in sight.  Carol Ann found Goblin in one of her hiding places and pulled her out but Pumpkin was still in hiding.  We were one of the first to drive off the ferry, behind two other motorhomes from our group.

Since the RV park was only about 3 miles away we were parked before 10:00AM.  We then began searching for Pumpkin and found him in the cabinet behind the DVD player.  It is 10:30AM now and the motorhome is set up and the car unhooked.  The remainder of the day is free but it is overcast and damp with light fog and right now we don’t really know what we will do today.

2 comments :

Croft Randle said...

Your "stateroom" is almost identical to the one we had on our "cruise" to the Bahamas. Our room was blessed with a speaker that could not be turned down or off an made continuous announcements. "There is a margarita party starting in the aft deck bar, margaritas are on sale for two for eighteen dollars plus fifteen percent mandatory tip" or, "The lineup for the six PM dinner sitting will start at five PM. Get there early as this seating is overbooked".

I hate cruising!

Anonymous said...

How can you get eaten by a great white shark inside of a boat? That's retarded...