THE EDITOR: After not being able to travel to Tobago by the Inter-Island Ferry Service due to what had been described as a “lack of car space,” I did so one week ago.
I had made a conscious decision to “sample” the Galleons Passage which had been subjected to adverse comment (even before it had set sail from China), most of which can be described as being nakedly political, uninformed, or even puerile. These seem to have gone to sleep.
Having made the trip to Tobago by the T&T Spirit fast ferry, I made certain that the return voyage would be by the Galleons Passage as I did not wish to be experiencing the well-known heavier waters on the outward journey.
Let me say that even a blind person would be aware that the Galleons Passage is a completely new vessel with up-to-date facilities and fixtures. One would hope, therefore, that our customary knack to destroy and our failure to maintain will not be exhibited here.
A very unusual feature of the Galleons Passage, unlike the T&T Spirit and its sister ship, the T&T Express, is what I would describe as being two distinct passenger compartments – one on the port side and the other on the starboard side which one is normally not allowed to access when the vessel is at sea and while passengers would tend to view this as a disadvantage, I hold a different view as I consider this a “safety measure” if one were to be aware of the somewhat regularity of ferries being overturned in the Far East, in particular, due to being overloaded on one side of the vessel. This is unlikely to occur with the Galleons Passage.
Much ado has been made of the four-hour sailing time of the Galleons Passage in comparison with the now three hours by the T&T Spirit. However, although not being an engineer of any kind, I had always felt that the initial regular two and a half hours sailing time was an overkill and could have been responsible for the relative under-performance of the two fast ferries.
Now we, like Oliver Twist, are bemoaning the fact that the Galleons Passage, by taking four hours, is a “slow boat.”
Indeed, this reminds me of the national habit of speeding on the highways and byways at “break-neck” speeds which are prone to take us nowhere except perhaps to the cemetery in this relatively small island.
Thus, let the Galleons Passage maintain its four-hour schedule. In fact the vessel is armed with a cadre of courteous stewards as well as two separate cafeterias, thus making the four-hour trip comfortable and tolerable.
One positive outcome of which nothing has been said is the location of the ramp, by being close to the terminal building. This makes the new boarding and disembarking arrangement a distinct advantage for senior citizens and the disabled.
ERROL OC CUPID, Tacarigua