There I was, on the foggiest of late March days with an atrocious weather forecast ahead, on board the MV John H sailing north out of Orient Point. Not my favorite ship by any stretch of the imagination. Built exclusively for the Cross Sound Ferry company in 1989 she is huge by ferry standards, practical, yet uninspiring in design. And given that she is a mere quarter of a century old her outward condition seems tired and shabby. No matter – she is strong, and when going astern out of port her engines sound as engines going astern ought to sound. Loud.
I avoided eating in the cafeteria as it was Sunday lunchtime and full of larger-than-life people standing in line and ordering fries with everything. Even with those family-size, heart-shaped pretzels which look as if they’ve been hanging in their glass server since the beginning of Lent. Just a cup of coffee for me. Seattle’s Best!
Guaranteed a seat I chose the “Pets in this Section” part of ship and settled down to watch people, animals, and take notes. I think I was the only person with a notepad and pen. All others (with the exception of one young lady who wore the thickest of sunglasses on that dull afternoon and picked pieces of salad out of a plastic container on her lap) were engrossed in their smartphones or tablets, or else watching the giant television screen on the far bulkhead. Screening? CNN reporting on the latest piece of non-news about a missing airliner.
I was trying to remember the last time I had made this journey. Mid-autumn possibly, over a year ago, for I spent day after day fishing the ponds of the Outer Cape. No fishing for me on this occasion. It will be a short break. Three days in which to breathe good air, reconnect with a few places, and maybe even do a bit of hiking.