Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Ferry Ride instead of a Car Ride

Since January 2010, I have been mostly car-free for work. This was an essential step in decreasing my dependence on petroleum in a big way. With climate change happening and the point of no return approaching like a freight train, the point isn't to replace our disposable lifestyle with an eco-friendly version but to adjust to a reusable life.

All through winter and spring I walked 35 minutes to and from our apartment to work. A few days were particularly memorable... including the snowstorm that involved walking in two feet of snow (sidewalks weren't plowed), and a rainstorm that left me soaked to my drawers.

In July we moved into our new place which meant I was only a 15 min walk from work! Which was so fantastical, especially in the 40 degree humid heat we had (celcius).

Now I can say that I've been granted a new three year contract and actually have my own office! With a window overlooking the harbour!! Yay office plants!!! The catch... it's across the harbour in Dartmouth. Walking all the way around on the bridge isn't really an option, so I decided that I would bite a small fee and take the ferry.
waterfront warf
view of the street up to Citadel Hill this morning
Unlike Halifax's terrible bus system (seriously, catastrophically unreliable and non-user friendly. And they wonder why more people don't use it), the ferries are a well-run, consistent and reliable transportation option. Never late and rarely canceled you can depend on the ferry really being there on schedule.
"gotham city" or the oil refinery across the harbour in Dartmouth. I get to watch the flames all day from my office window
About a 20 minute walk from our new apartment and five minutes away from my work at the Dartmouth side, the ferry was a doable option. My very first day I was pretty nervous. I mean, I've never taken the ferry before, I had no idea how to pay or what the social etiquette for ferrying was.

The walk to the terminal was picturesque and peaceful. I'm so looking forward to beginning my mornings with a walk along the waterfront. It's almost empty of tourists, quite and smells like the Atlantic ocean (no poo-smell which is ideal).

As per my usual awkward self, since I had no idea what I was doing I just marched up to the first official looking dude and announced that "This is my first time on the ferry and I have no idea what to do". Thank goodness the dude was an older man who reminded me of an older version of my dad. He even announced that I better locate the paddles on the boat. 

It was so peaceful. I took my earbuds out (I always listen to French cbc podcasts on the way to work) and just breathed. 

The mouth of the harbour into the Atlantic ocean
the MacDonald Bridge and part of Halifax "skyline"
As it gently took me across the harbour I was surprised by just how peaceful and quiet the trip was. Compared to driving or hurriedly walking and avoiding being hit by terrible Haligonian drivers, this was paradise. Listening to the waves against the boat, the smell of the salty ocean and the seagulls cawing away it was instant meditation.  Even on the ride home people were quieter, were hushed.

The other ferry, identical to mine!
As the editorial in Grist points out: we are running out of time. Instead of waiting for sweeping governmental changes, together we can make a difference and protect our planet. As Peak Oil has most likely come and gone, we'll be forced to deal with a fuel shortage in a few short years. It's time to make the change.

How will you take (or are taking) the steps to decrease your transportation use?

article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com


  1. How wonderful to experience that as a daily commute! And congrats on your contract and office!

  2. excellent! i love to see people adapt instead of saying 'it's too harrrrrrd'. and congrats on the job!!

    i don't own a car but i try to not make excuses to not bike - taking the bus for me is cheating and i almost always regret it because i get to work tired instead of refreshed. it's our first day of rain in a couple months so it was 'too harrrrd' to ride my bike this morning -t alk about whiny huh! either that or denial :)

  3. What lovely views . . . so envious! I am working from home now (aside from teaching yoga 2 days per week). Love it on so many levels!

  4. Love the photos---sure looks and sounds like the commute would be a great way to mentally prepare for work and destress after a day at the office too. Looks lovely! Makes me miss all the walking and Max transport I could take back in Portland. Here there's no public transport whatsoever, but we do try to reduce the number of trips we take out and try to compile all errands into one trip. Some mornings I'm able to commute with a coworker who lives in the neighborhood when we're working the same schedule, although that's unfortunately a rare occasion these days. Sigh....you make me realize there's much to ponder and much work to do....

  5. Ferries are marvelous! I used to take them a bit when I lived in Sydney. And yes, generally they are a peaceful way to travel (unless the weather is rough!). It is nice to slow down and look out on such beautiful surrounds, too!

  6. hey, congratulations on the new contract and the office!

    What a beautiful journey to work, so lovely.

    My journey to work is either a 30 min drive or the most ridiculous 1h 45 on public transport involving 2 trains, 1 bus and about 20 mins of walking. Really silly

  7. That sounds like such a wonderful way to get to work! And, congrats on the new contract and new office!

  8. i adore ferry rides!! congrats on the job. the views are wonderful! hugs!!

  9. Ah you know me. Just me and my bike :D

    (which has done 800 miles since March and is falling apart...)

    Congratulations on the contract xx

  10. My goodness, I envy you! What a great commute you have.
    (we have lousy options at present)
    Congrats on the extension of your work!

  11. Therea something about a ferry commute that feels extra special. When I visited Amsterdam I thought it was rad you could bike from the suburbs to a ferry to take you into the main city. And I enjoyed ferry trips instead of car trips on my Caribbean trip this spring. Bon daily voyage. I wonder how the energy usage of ferry compares to bus or train? Prob less because it's floating and there's
    less resistence?

  12. I love ferries!!! When I go to see my Grandma in Victoria I always take the ferry from Vancouver. It's the most beautiful trip through the islands. Magical.

  13. I love the ferry, it costs the same as the bus and you can use your bus transfer. I don't find the buses so awful in Halifax, but then again we live near the #1 bus route and it runs fairly close to the published schedule.


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