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Crossing the Berbice River with the Big Ferry

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Photo by Transport and Harbours Department

First Published: 10th of January, 2015

Last updated: May 19, 2022 at 15:09 pm

I miss the good old days of boarding the Ferry named the “MV Torani” to travel across the Berbice River at Region 6, Guyana, South America…of standing on the upper floor and looking down on the gentle waters below, of feeling the wind touch my face and move gracefully through my hair as the boat sets into motion and I’m gracefully pushed to the other side of the river.

I remember looking out at the slowly retracting wharf, the town of New Amsterdam drifting away into the distance, the outline of trees on the waterfront; the beautiful clouds above, and the majestic waters below.

And even though at times it was necessary to wait for hours for the gate to open for boarding after purchasing a ticket, the serenity of crossing the Berbice River on the turtle-back ferry made it worth the while.

The MV Torani was biggest boat to ply the waters of the Berbice River. There was also a smaller boat which worked different hours, called the launch, and then there were a few speedboats here and there.

With the advent of the much longed-for and anticipated Berbice River Bridge, the boat became obsolete for most people, and now, we’re whizzed across the river in the vehicle of choice in a fraction of the time it once took by boat. Similar ferries, however, still ply other waters across the country, such as the Essequibo River at Parika and others at the Northwest Region.

Today, there is little to complain about when it comes to crossing the Berbice River, but whether the convenience of moving across the river at will with little to no impediment is worth the loss of a priceless experience – sailing slowly and admiring the beauty of nature – I’ll never be able to decide.