I had the most amazing experience the other day. Needed to meet a friend in Auckland City and was figuring out how long it’d take me to drive there from Beachlands. I hate being late when I meet people and Auckland traffic can be diabolical at times. I find it very hard to judge how long it’ll take to get from point A to point B sometimes.
However, on this day, I had another option. Just a few kays away was Pineharbour, who run a regular ferry service to the City Centre. It also had a ferry leaving at just the right time so I’d make it into the city for my lunch appointment. So rather than drive, have hassles with parking, possibly getting lost (my navigation around Auckland is occasionally a little random at times) and getting stressed over all the idiot drivers on the road, I decided the ferry made sense.
Free parking was a nice perk, and it helped that it was a gorgeous sunny day. Someone had left the paper and it was a nice chance for a comfortable sit down and catch up on local events. Forty minutes later, we’re pulling up at the dock in the city. Brilliant!
Catching the ferry back was just as painless. This time, I sat outside, enjoying a little bit of salt spray, while watching the other boats out on the harbour. Looking at the ferry, I was struck with how good a houseboat that double hull would make. (Note to self: try and find out how much Q-west would charge for a fairly empty shell of a boat..) There’s also a decent enough surface area. Just by eye, I reckon it was something like 16m long and a bit over 5m wide, which’d give around 60kW of solar energy hitting the boat when the sun was out. That’d give around 80hp if you could convert it all into mechanical energy (you can’t), which’d be plenty enough to push it along, albeit at a bit of a dainty pace. Definitely wouldn’t be giving the dual diesel engines of this particular ferry any sort of challenge.
So, I was sold. If I find myself living in Auckland anytime in the near future (and working in the city) then I’ll probably try and base myself in a location that’s a short ferry ride away. I’m sure it won’t be quite as pleasant in winter, but still beats driving a car.
I also notice a massive difference in driving styles between Auckland and Wellington. Wellingtonian’s are, for the most part, quite courteous. You’ve got a pretty good chance of being let into a queue, or being waited for if you’re turning off a main road onto a side street. It’s something I’m very used to in the UK, but Aucklanders are very much out for themselves on the road. Truly awful drivers! And I’ve got to admit, it angers me when I see blatant stupidity on the road. Hence why I don’t think I should ever try and commute. It’d just stress me out.
That said, could just avoid work altogether?