My high-speed ferry commute is so easy, zipping me back and forth from Cowes on my daily commute. I take it for granted, until it’s gone. Red Funnel has had a busy fortnight, ferrying so many passengers across the Solent with one boat down. So, I’ve seen less of home these last couple weeks. I’ve missed the sea, the golden light, and the easy-going Islanders.
Even with a ferry service under intense demand, I’ve been charmed by the ever-cheery faces of the staff, and the unruffled Very British Queuing as we all wait for the boat. I’ve been on the slower car ferry more often than usual. The one hour crossing turns out to be the perfect amount of time to finish a beer, knit 20 rows, and get through a whole Spotify playlist (thank you free ferry wifi!) I usually take the car ferry with my bike and always appreciate how they let the bikes go to the front of the queue (unlike other Isle of Wight ferry services, which shall remain nameless.) It makes a big difference to be the first passengers to pedal off on the other side, without having to sit in the belly of a boat and get gassed out by two floors of departing cars.
Absence always makes the heart grow fonder. I’ve enjoyed the evening light in Hampshire, but found myself thinking ‘Just imagine how beautiful it must look over Tennyson Down right now!’ So, with the Red Jet service now back to its complete set of fast catamarans, it was a sweet feeling to end my working day with a swift hop over the Solent, glimpsing the far west point of the Isle of Wight, before seeing the lights of Cowes appear out of the evening mist. It’s as sweet a sight as there ever were.