Camp Howze, Korea, 1963, 1964. I was standing in a chow line almost certainly with one of the guys in this picture waiting for breakfast. A twelve-year-old Korean lad came down the line selling Stars and Stripes newspapers, yelling, “Lots of Japs killed! Hurrah! Lots of Japs killed!”
Koreans still savored a deep hatred for Japanese in those days. Having your mamas and grandmamas raped more-or-less whenever the mood hit for a few decades probably does that. At least when the rapers are of a particular nationality. [I’ve wondered whether East Germans don’t feel some of that toward the Rooskies because of their grannies during the retreat from the Eastern Front].
Anyway, it was a ferry disaster of some sort carrying Japanese passengers. The first time I recall ever paying any mind to ferries and the associated dangers.
But over the decades I’ve certainly heard about a lot of them. I suspect a risk assessment involving frequent use of ferries would reveal it to be more dangerous than airliners, trains or busses. Not to say I haven’t ridden on a lot of them.
But on a ferry going between [I think] Newport News, RI, and Long Island, a nuclear attack submarine surfaced next to our ferry almost close enough to touch. We assumed at the time the submarine commander was perfectly aware of the ferry. By hindsight, though, I’m brought to wonder whether he had to go change his shorts when our presence and proximity came to his attention.
A person used to be able to pay once to get on the Statin Island Ferry and ride it back and forth all night, which I did a good many times. Near misses with smaller craft were relatively common and a source of amusement for the ferry passengers.
I was on a ferry to one of the outer banks islands of Georgia, or North Carolina once when it hit something hard enough to jangle the eye-teeth of everyone aboard. Never heard what it was, but none of the passengers were laughing.
Which is to say, life’s full of surprises and ferries have the potential for providing new ones.
I don’t recall when I began carrying a couple of hundred feet of small diameter 200 pound test rope with me in my luggage when I travelled. But I do recall it was a decision I made watching people diving out of the windows of burning multi-story buildings on the news. A bit of rope, I observed, would have saved a lot of them by allowing them to get off the upper floors and beneath the fires.
If I had to ride a ferry every day I’d probably decide an inflatable camp pillow would provide a nice place to sit on those hard ferry benches. One person aboard protected by one inflatable pillow would remove the temptation those vessels wave around in front of the Coincidence Coordinators inviting disaster.