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Published: September 10th 2011
Grand Manan Adventure
Approaching North Head on her maiden voyage
Grand Manan Ferries
When you live on an island such as Grand Manan, the ferry is your highway and lifeline to the outside world. Over the years, the island has been served by many ferries. The Grand Manan Website's Ferry Page
has a link that will take you to a list of all the ferries that have served the island (on the right, just click on Ferry History
under Grand Manan Ferry
. Up until this summer, Grand Manan was served year round by the MV Grand Manan V (or as we used to call it, "the big ferry"), which carries 64 cars and 300 passengers. During the summer, the island was also served by the MV Grand Manan ("the black ferry"), which dates back to 1965; she carried a maximum of 26 cars and 80 passengers.
Grand Manan Adventure Arrives
During our visit to Grand Manan in August 2011, we had the honor and pleasure of being at North Head ferry terminal when the new, MV Grand Manan Adventure
arrived. The Grand Manan Adventure carries 82 cars and a combined maximum of 380 passengers and crew.
August 11, 2011 began as a cool cloudy day. We walked the mile or so from our
cottage on Whale Cove Road to join the other well wishers. We stood on the rocks by the ferry terminal, talking to those around us, taking in the scene, and waiting. Suddenly, the word begin to spread, "She just passed Swallowtail," so we knew we would see her in a few moments. It was actually quite thrilling to watch her come around the head and towards the ferry dock. You could feel the excitement in the crowd.
Once Grand Manan Adventure maneuvered into the dock, it seemed as if it took forever for the bow doors to open and for those onboard to disembark. Finally we all got the word and streamed on board. The first impression we all had was that the car deck was huge! On either side there are platforms that go up and down allowing additional headroom for 18-wheelers if necessary. The platform on the port side is wide enough for two cars side-by-side and the one on the starboard side is one car wide.
After a brief ceremony (including a demonstration of lowering the starboard platform) we were all free to swarm over the ship and explore. This is one beautiful ferry! For
me, perhaps the most fun was visiting the bridge, being able to chat with the Captain and ask questions about the ship. The bridge is huge, with seemingly simple and high tech controls; not at all what one imagines on a ferry. Overall, we probably spent about an hour and a half looking around and checking out those sections of the ship which are not normally open to the public.
Onboard the Grand Manan Adventure
Two days later we rode the Grand Manan Adventure back to Blacks Harbour. After parking on the dual-wide platform on the port side, we were amazed by how much room we had! We could actually open both car doors fully without hitting the car next to us! The ride was smooth and comfortable. Now we have to figure out where the best place is to sit and enjoy the view. There are multiple options including some comfortable looking nooks along the sides. We look forward to riding her again next year when we return to Grand Manan.
As is wont to sometimes happen with new ships, the Grand Manan Adventure has had some system problems. A few days after we left there
was a problem with the electrical system for the bow thrusters, which are crucial for maneuvering the ship into the dock. This put the ship out of commission for about a week while workers from the shipyard trekked up to Blacks Harbour to correct the problem. Unfortunately, the problem continues to persist, so the ferry will be taken out of service once the high-traffic summer season wraps up and go into dry dock on September 11, 2011. She is expected to be there for 10 days, plus travel time to the shipyard. Fortunately, the ship is still under warranty. Just growing pains, I'm sure.
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