Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Monday - Isle of Man to Hull

Monday, 20th June


Wake up at 5.30am.  Get the bike set up with luggage and rolling along the Ramsey to Douglas coastroad at 6am.  Turn on my new gadget, Oregon Scientific Action Cam ATC9K, and fix to the bike mirror.

Arrive in Douglas, we take a breath and a view of Douglas from the head.  A beautiful view at 6.30am, there to greet us was a pheasant. Confidently walking upto us not even bothered by the fact I like pheasant on a plate.  Maybe this little fella is many generations down the line where his great great grandparents probably lived in East Baldwin and knew me as a child running in the fields about the farm.  Hey, maybe that is why he looked us and gave a knowing nod.

So, anyway... Aboard the SeaCat is often an amusing event.  Since I selected the Niarbyl Lounge for some quiet so to sleep a little, I wouldnt expect the Niarbyl Lounge to be considered a family lounge with little crumb crushers and snot bubble blowers running and screaming.  Kids will be kids and some parents probably, well, shouldnt be parents...but what would I know, not being a parent an all.

We land in Liverpool docks.  This always gives my belly a nice feeling because I know we will get lost trying to find the M62.  True to my word I end up riding into a residential estate.

On the M62 which was not actually hard to find at all, then the M18, followed by the M62 again.   We made two stops at a service station for food and drink.  And as we approached Hull we went under this collosal bridge with I now know as the Humber Bridge.  An Amazing piece of kit the humber, I tried to keep my eyes on the road but just had to look.  Remember, on the Isle of Man the largest bridge is probably the Ramsey swing bridge!

The Deep

As it happened I spotted signs for The Deep, an acquarium that our friends Paul, Karen and Jennifer told us about.  So we head for 'The Deep', park up and get our tickets!  £9.95each for adults (20th June).

Wandering around we noted there were lots for children to do, but for tired hot bikers we just wanted to see lots of fish.  The fish are lower down in the building, they are very nice too.  I would be tempted to go in with a speargun to catch me a fish, seems the only way I will be able to catch a fish at this point (ask Aimee or my colleagues...they will tell you all about it).

The coolest area for me and probably Aimee too was the Jellyfish and funny worms.  Aimee enjoyed the fish aquarium the most.  They show you them throughout the stages of their lives.  As horrible stinging lil fellas they are, they are very beautiful creatures.

At the bottom you can view the huge fish tank from below and take the lift back up which is very slow for viewing the fish as it raises through the tank.

The Ferry

We leave 'The Deep' and head for the ferry.  Found the area but again got lost within the compound and had to as a guy in a high barrier hut who pointed 'that way mate'.  The way he pointed and facial expression suggested that was exactly what he was saying.

Find a group of cars and briefly communicate with a German who is waiting for the ferry to Zebrugge.  After a good hour we get get our boarding cards and ride to the holding area.

I must add the sun was really beating down this day, and we were kitted up and really hot.  I head into the terminal which was empty.  The security guy stopped me and asked for my ID and directed me to the drinks machine.  I had only notes, so the security guy had to escort me to a change machine, £coins claimed I head to a nearby drinks machine.  He wouldnt let me use this machine and directed me back to the previous machine.  I asked him why I couldn't use the machine his reply was "security".

So, back outside enjoying cold drinks we are allowed on the ship.  Bikes go to the front of the ship for loading.  And they 'do not' tie your bike down.  Rider ties own bike down with the ropes provided.  To be honest I had a mild panic as I aint no fisherman who has an array of funky knots under my belt.  So I did the usual 'weave and tie as tight as possible and convince yourself that you just invented a new knot that will hold a 500,000 tonne ship to the pier in force 10 winds' trick.

Bike seemed secure so we headed to the deck where we were efficiently given a key for the cabin.   Cabin was small which you would expect and being our first time with a cabin we waiting anxiously to see if anyone was to come in to share the 3rd bed that seemed to be made up.  After a good 30mins we realised the made bad was fixed open, so we assumed correctly that cabins are not shared with strangers.

We head up to the cafe for a coffee and hot chocolate where I purchased a Collins Europe Handy Road Atlas. Once we finished our coffees and I had exhausted my map reading skills we retired back to the cabin where we could rest and I planned out the routes we would be taking through

SLEEP!  We have a long hard day ahead of us when we land in Zebrugge the following morning.



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