We made it to Swansea with plenty of time to spare, but not before getting caught in a rain storm. We hid under a bridge, wondering if it would clear, and when it slowed down to a drizzle we kept on riding.
After hanging out for a while we decided to go down to the ferry terminal early, about 5pm. When we got there I figured we were in the wrong place, with a checkpoint and big semi-trailer trucks pouring through. We asked the man, twice because we couldn’t understand the first time, if we could go through to the ferry. ‘Six o’clock is the earliest ye can coom, no earler’ then this’ he said.
7pm and we go back to the checkpoint, but the man has left, so we just keep on riding, until we hit the traffic jam. Half an hour of standing in line, sitting on our bikes and it seems we’re nearing the front of the queue when we see someone yelling out to us, in Irish and gesturing that we should go around the back way. Thanks for telling us, Shanna says laughing, and mumbles something to me about us freezing our butts off for nothing.
We get down to the spot and there’s no one there who knows what’s going on, so one of the coppa digga’s (police) standing around doing nothing sends his buddy off to find out.
Ten minutes later and he comes back and tells us we have to go join the queue and line up with everyone else so that customs can search our bags. Awesome, I say, annoyed, no more like pissed off.
Half an hour later after going through customs were one man is working and being watched by six other people (no wonder the UK is going broke!) and we are finally on board. After riding more than ten ferries over short and long distance this one has taken well over double the time to board of the next best challenger.
We watched the boat leave the harbor under Swansea’s glittering lights and then found our room on board, a hot shoe box. It was so hot in there we decided to check out the boats attractions, and found, a leprechaun for sale in the down stairs shop.
Over the PA system the captain announces that the stabilizers are coming out to try and settle things a bit, but nothing seems to change, and our stomachs are still churning. Finally, with the boat rocking like mad we fall asleep at midnight, but get woken up by a bunch of drunk welsh women at one in the morning. In my sleeping attire (a pair of jocks), groggy and still half asleep I open the door to see what all the fuss is about, and immediately get an ear full of cat calls. One of them says sorry and I hope this means the noise will lower a few decibels.
6am and the captain is on the PA again to let us all know that the restaurant is open for our business, if we would be so kind to get up now and cough up some more money.
At 8am we go down below to the cargo area to untie our bikes, only to find that they’ve been untied already, and are now in a different position. We look at each other, droopy eyes, both thinking the same thing, it can only get better from here.
And it does.
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia