April 15, 2013

When You're About To Die On A Ferry

This is a true story. There was one distinct moment in Ireland where I truly thought we were about to die. It wasn't like how I was expecting we would die if we were to somehow perish in Ireland. I had always thought we'd run into a herd of sheep or get hit by a truck on a one lane road (which there are a LOT of in the countryside of Ireland). But instead, we almost died on a boat.
After an amazingly sunny day in Galway at the Cliffs of Moher, we were feeling confident about the weather and were looking forward to waking up the next morning to take a ferry over to Inis Mor, part of the Aran islands that lie right off the western coast of Ireland. I decided against boots (bad idea) and an extra sweater (worse idea), and we headed to the port to take the ferry. It was drizzling a bit but we didn't realize how INSANELY WINDY and cold it was outside until we got to the port to catch the ferry. We were running late and didn't have time to grab extra layers or boots, and ran to the ferry (they only go back and forth once a day in the off season, so if we missed it we'd be out of luck). 
The ferry ride over to the island wasn't calm by any means, but we made it there fine. We enjoyed the group of 50 French teenagers screaming and flirting with each other (seriously hilarious). Despite our original plan to rent bikes, we ended up jumping on a tiny tour van with a big German family instead to tour the island and stay out of the bitter wind (best idea we ever had- the poor French teenagers had to ride bikes all day in the wind and rain). 
The island was stunning, and much more quiet and slow moving than any other place we had been previous. They only speak Gaelic on the island and live in thatched cottages and go to the only local pub that's open in the winter and eat scones all day. It was lovely and cozy and mystic and magical all at once. The weather and the small population of the island made Inis Mor seem eerie and beautiful all in the same. We hiked up to Dun Aengus, a fort located on the highest point of the island, met a horse (a real life Fatty Lumpkin!) guarding a cottage, had tomato soup and scones to warm our freezing souls in a tiny cafe, and shopped for Irish sweaters before heading on the ferry. Despite the chill and continuous rain, the day was wonderful and the people delightful. 
We were excited to get back on the ferry simply for the warmth, and took our seats on the bottom floor by the windows. And here's where it gets good. In the 7 hours we spent on Inis Mor, the waves and the wind and the sea seemed ready to teach us a lesson of sorts. We embarked on our hour journey across the sea back to the mainland, and encountered some of the biggest waves I'd ever seen. It started out with the waves coming at us from the side, making the boat rock side to side, starting the sea sickness of everyone on the ferry (imagine being rocked to a side, looking at the window, and being perpendicular with the water. I died a little inside). I started to get a little nervous, gripping my seat- and Chin- tighter and tighter. I don't get sea sick so I just enjoyed the couple in front and behind us throwing up into the bags that the crew brought around. Truly wonderful.
Then, this is where I thought we would truly, honestly die- the ferry changed direction and all of the sudden every 5 seconds the ferry was engulfed in waves, being thrown practically under the ocean surface. I felt as though we were in the Life of Pi, except in a much smaller boat and the zoo animals were French teenagers throwing up and screaming hysterically. At this point I lost it. Our drizzly but magical day on the island turned into The Perfect Storm, and I found myself praying to God that when we died that it wouldn't hurt, and that we wouldn't feel how cold the water was. My nervous grip on my seat turned into hands that were shaking uncontrollably, covering my face as I sobbed and basically was screaming in hysterics right along with our little French friends. 
I have always loved boats. I've endured plenty of "rocky" boat rides, and due to my lack of sea-sickness, nothing had really phased me before. But that hour of my life was the longest I could imagine. Maybe it was because I lost my wit and nerve, and everything just seemed amplified as I yelled repeatedly at Chin, "WE'RE GOING TO DIE," but when we got off that boat I vowed to not go on a ferry again for a long, LONG, time. It was not my shining moment by any means, but if you had been there, I don't think you could blamed me.
It's comical looking back, because the crew told us as we were getting off that they had endured MUCH worse, and that it would take a LOT to sink that ferry, but at the time I was horrified. And now I just feel dumb. I'm sure I made the people throwing up around me feel much better, no?
After that sob/ridiculous story, here are some pictures of the beautiful Inis Mor. If you go to Ireland, make a trip here (but just not on a windy day in March). Plus, this is where they filmed most of the movie Leap Year- including the end where he proposes (!).  
Dun Aengus

We froze at the top, but the climb was so worth it!
Our very own Fatty Lumpkin, protecting his master's cottage (someone seriously lives there)
Coastal living is the best kind of living
According to our Patrick, our tour guide for the day, this cottage sold for 250,000 euro. A quarter of a mil people!
Feeling a little wind blown, but I'll never forget that soup and raisin scone (divine).

So many sweaters, so little time. Chin ended up getting a couple pairs of cozy wool socks, and I found myself my very own Irish sweater!


Elizabeth said...

Oh, Hayley--- you make me laugh so hard! Love your posts---'the zoo animals were French teenagers throwing up and screaming hysterically' And the photos are gorgeous! I can't look at them without feeling intense wanderlust.

Sueper Natural said...

You need to write a book or two!:) I love reading about your adventures!:)

Jaraka Drew Hansen said...

Random: have you ever seen Leap Year (with Amy Adams)? I'm 99% sure that place is in the movie... but that house thingy is a train station and they climb up to the castle thingy.

okay. randomness over.

Jaraka Drew Hansen said...

also. i clearly didn't read the whole thing before I saw the picture and got all excited about the movie.

my apologies.

Ali Kirk said...

That pic of the horse needs to be blown up and printed on a canvas. I seriously want it in my house.