The day before our jet catamaran ferrythe HSC Manannanwas to depart, we enjoyed the various Beatles attractions of Liverpool and then simply walked down to the Merseyside, retrieved our tickets at the "cruise terminal" and hopped onboard the menacing-looking boat, to depart the city in the middle of a gray and drenching rainstorm.
The HSC Manannan is more than just a passenger ferry; it's a car ferry, with everyone forced to leave their vehicles below and come into the cozy confines of the enclosed passenger deck for the duration of the journey. And, as we'd also learn while reading Wikipedia on the crossing, it's also a former US Navy vessel. Cool, we thought, as we walked around the single main deck and peeked upstairs into the smaller deck for reserved seats (which looks the same as the non-reserved sections, just quieter).
It's only a two-hour voyage, but that's enough for there to be several snack bars, a proper English Breakfast offered and even beer on tap. Brits don't mess about. We spent some time napping, some time out on the small back deck getting sprayed with salt water, and some time daydreaming about what we'd find on the Isle of Man. If you've taken one big ferry in your life it's not too different except that it goes much faster, and the entire process was ridiculously easy.
In the early afternoon we docked at the port in Douglas Harbour, Douglas being the capital and largest town on the island. It was lovely even in the misty rain, as the Victorian-era promenade stretched down the waterfront and green hills brought up the background. All new territory for our exploration! That is the best kind of feeling, truly.
After a quick disappointment that we'd get no passport stamps (!!), we set out on our weird little British island adventure...
[Photos: Jaunted, Steam-Packet]