Reading the numerous adverse comments in the Isle of Wight County Press about our apparently terrible and unreliable ferry service brought back memories of how things used to be.

I have not been off The Isle of Wight for more thanfive years as I can't think of a good enough reason to do so, but I feel sorry for those attempting to travel to the mainland, especially for essential reasons.

Back in the 1970s, when we first moved to The Island, the Sealink (as it was then) ferry service was limited but totally reliable.

There was no catering on board the Yarmouth to Lymington ferry, no cafe or restaurant but the crew could be relied upon to make you a cup of tea or coffee down in the only "lounge" next to the engine room — nice and warm but a bit noisy and smelling faintly of diesel.

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They would even offer to wash your car for you for a small consideration on the way over.
I particularly remember one time when we travelled from Yarmouth - I think it was onboard Freshwater.

It was blowing a gale - a really big one. The normal half-hour crossing took over an hour and a half.

We held on to our seats surrounded by the sound of smashing crockery while the ship almost stood on its head.

The captain altered course numerous times, zigzagging - sometimes head-on into the mountainous seas trying to avoid the ship rolling too violently.

No way was he going to admit defeat and attempt the return to Yarmouth.

At last we arrived and into the safe waters of the Lymington River — an unforgettable experience.

How times have changed!
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