Travelin' Tony T (Editor @ Large)
"Cat" approaches dockside in
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
over 30 years, the crossing from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to
Bar Harbor, Maine was handled by the government run, “MV
Bluenose” and was a nice little ride offering an alternative
to driving around from Nova Scotia to Maine. But the times
have changed and the old run became unviable. There
was talk that the ferry service would cease, leaving Yarmouth’s
tourism industry, and the spin off commerce it creates, in
a commercial quandry. Then along came Bay Ferries Ltd.,
who had turned the ferry service from Caribou, Nova Scotia
to Wood Islands, PEI into a profitable venture some years
ago. Their plan was to acquire the Yarmouth and Digby runs
from the government and make them viable private enterprises.
A big part of that plan was “The Cat”.
in Australia in 1997, the Cat spent its first five months
traversing the longest fery run in the world in the Tasmanian
Sea/Bass Straight area, until it was acquired by Bay Ferries.
This sleek high seas craft cruises at an impressive 47 knots
(more than twice that of the old service), with its 4 huge engines
each pumping through the equivalent of an olympic size swimming
pool per second of water (photo below). So now the
tedious six hour crossing has become a 3 hour tour (yes, a three
hour tour). It helps that the ship is an awesome sight
to the uninitiated, children swarm to catch a glimpse of this
“sea monster” like craft. Top off the trip with clean,
new decor, a full service cafeteria, loads of lounging space
and a casino (well, slot machines, black jack and a roulette
wheel anyway) and this ferry is an adventure. There’s even a
wonderful theatre area which shows kids movies on video to keep
the little ones occupied during the journey.
forget that the International crossing gives you the opportunity
to buy a few duty free items. If you enjoy the occasional
drink, don’t miss the amazing prices on alcohol. Traveling
on the shrinking Canadian dollar, even though the prices
where in US funds, the total amounted to less than half
of the shelf prices on the spirits and liqueurs. Tobacco
is also bargain priced. Check with the clerks to find out
your allowable limit.
the time you’ve shopped, dined, slipped a few quarters in
the one armed bandit and had a look off the deck Capt.
Ken Smith (who knows these waters well, since both Cat
Captains piloted the old Bluenose ferry here before
taking the trip to Tasmania and bringing the cat to the
northern hemisphere) will have you safe and sound in Bar
spray flies from the Cat's Engines
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