Riding The Sir Robert Bond
Like most of the clientele it carries, the Sir Robert Bond is unpretentious and slightly salty. Originally a container ship for railcars, this ferry is the main mode of transportation between Goose Bay and Cartwright and continuing further down the coast to Lewisporte. There is scheduled air service but it is notoriously unreliable.
Upon boarding the ship at 3:30pm, I made a beeline to the pursers’ office. If available, I wanted to reserve a sleeping cabin – a quiet place to retreat in the wee hours of the night. After a weeks of hearing only the wind blowing through the grass, my senses rebelled against the innocent hub bub of people noise after weeks alone. Success! A four person berth for the price of a double…Alfred and I quickly inspected the bunks, finding clean towels, fresh linen and only the faint throbbing of some distant engine.
Time passed quickly with a carnival like atmosphere on board. Happy to escape the oppressive 27C heat and humidity of Goose Bay, locals and tourists alike mingled on the top deck, enjoying the air currents created by the moving ship.
Cheered on by us passengers, Seadoos zipped across the shallows and sand bars of Lake Melville, playing chicken, tag and other daredevil maneuvers with each other. I was just happy to bask in the golden light, soaking up UV rays.
The purser knocked on the cabin door about 5:30am, waking us for the 6am disembarkment at Cartwright. Being prone to seasickness, I was thankful it had been a calm passage. Feeling disoriented from the short sleep and unfamiliar surrounding, it looked like practiced chaos at the unloading area, shipping containers, passenger vehicles, pedestrians, motorcycles all mixed up and spewing from the guts of the ship.