It was mild with very dense fog when we got up on Saturday, August 23. We had reservations on the 11:30 ferry, with check-in an hour and a half before.
Due to the heavy fog we gave ourselves lots of time to travel about 15 km to the terminal. Check-in was simple with the reservations, you pulled up to a toll-type booth, gave them your name and they handed you the ticket. I made a point of telling the attendant how hospitable everyone had been in her province.
We were standing about, passing time with others in the motorcycle lane, and when I turned around, the MV Atlantic Vision
had appeared out of the fog. It was invisible when we first pulled up.
This is a huge ship, with five vehicle decks. Built in Kiel, Germany in 2002, it ran a route in the Baltic for a few years. The walls are still covered with directional signs in German, Russian and two other languages I didn't recognize. The ship is now under charter to Marine Atlantic for the Sydney - Port aux Basques run.
As we were strapping our bikes down, one of the deck hands said not to worry, it would be a calm crossing. The calm before the storm at it were. The prediction for hurricane Bill to make landfall in Nova Scotia was tomorrow. Given that four ferries were integral to the trip, we had carried our own tie downs, which worked out for the best.
When making the reservation, I noticed that cabins were available at a substantial discount during the daytime runs. The entire ship was quite luxurious compared to the Sir Robert Bond
and the cabin turned out to be a very good idea. It was equipped with an ensuite bathroom, so the first thing we did was take the showers we skipped in Isle aux Morts due to the scuzzy water.
Both of us were cleaned up and feeling human again by the time the ship pulled away from the dock.
There was still a lot of fog when we caught our last glimpse of Newfoundland receding into the distance. Contrary to my expectation, there was a warm breeze on deck for the entire crossing and the water was indeed calm.
We passed on the fancy restaurant (by comparison, the food on the Bond
was high school cafeteria quality) and got a light lunch in the cafeteria.
During the roughly seven hour crossing we alternated time on deck, naps, and reading time in the cabin. BTW we both brought books, I highly recommend it as it gave something to do for the waiting-for-ferries downtime. All-in-all a pleasant passage.
The weather was clear, warm, and sunny as we reached Sydney, NS at 7 pm local time. Bruce had made a reservation at another excellent mom and pop motel west of Baddeck, and we arrived before eight. Today comprised only 101 km of riding in addition to the ferry crossing.