Life lately: traveling by ferry on Lagos waters
Ever resorted to water transportation in Lagos? Everyone in Nigeria knows Lagos traffic can be your personal trial and tribulation.
Then there's Apapa gridlock, the mother of them all. I used to hear about it on morning radio and shake my head. Never did I dream I would have anything to do in Apapa. When I was posted here to serve, it felt like a sentence.
I was haunted by images of total standstill, free flowing sweat and the special brand of exhaust fumes produced by trailers and tankers.
My dad who doesn't live in Lagos had heard about people using ferry services to avoid traffic and get to work, and he suggested it. Truly truly, this is what I pictured:
Two other people made the same suggestion but I wasn't having it.
The first few times I came to Apapa by road. It was the beginning of the year and Lagos was deserted- people were away on holiday and the roads were free.
Then one morning I got on the bus at CMS, Lagos Island and it was taking forever to fill up (I've retired my car). A few people left the bus saying they were going to take the ferry. They crossed the road to the jetty. Five minutes later I thought, I'm gonna die Lordt, and I followed them.
|Jetty at CMS. Source: onepageafrica.com|
This ferry service is called Sea Coach. They are organised. You pay for your ticket and wait in the boat. If it hasn't arrived there's a waiting area.
They are consistently safety conscious. They help each person put on their life jacket properly before you get on. Inside, it's really spacious and I get to sit by myself.
|View from the boat|
Sea Coach is my favourite.
I once got on Texas Connection from Apapa to CMS because the Sea Coach boat hadn't arrived. I wished I had waited. Texas Connection has a much bigger craft, but they had their life jackets scattered on the seats and floor and they didn't care if I had one on. The jackets were even dirty. I had to cringe and put one on because as you already know, I love my life.
|A Texas Connection boat. Not the one I was on.|
To pass the time, we had company- a woman selling magic teas that are supposed to treat all ailments; she mispronounced and criminally misused medical terms. I was so angry I couldn't even look at her or I might have spoken up. I've seen patients who were deceived into stopping their meds in favour of one of these 'remedies', coming back with serious and sometimes fatal complications. It's personally frustrating.
Anyway we're talking about Ferries.
I've stayed faithful to Sea Coach ever since. The last time I was on board we even had a movie showing. I only caught one scene because short transit time. They should show music videos instead.
Happily, there has been no traffic so far. The tankers and trailers are off the road but I still like to travel by water every now and then, for speed as well as peace and scenery. I can't believe it's just N150 for the experience. N100 if you'd like to spend a little more time on a Texas Connection boat enjoying the scenery.
Other ferry routes I've heard of: CMS-Ikorodu, CMS-VI, Apapa-Ikorodu, VI-Ikorodu. The Ikorodu route is more expensive; I hear N500 or a little more.
Have you used ferry services in Lagos? Would you?