When you visit a small island for a holiday, you inevitably think about boats.

We sailed to the Isle of Man on a catamaran:

Whilst we were at Liverpool waiting to board the ship, we saw first-hand just how enormous a cruise ship (Caribbean Princess) is. We were stunned at the differences in size, only imagining how lost we’d get on such a vessel!

Our catamaran crossed the Irish Sea from Liverpool to Douglas to take us on holiday. At many points on the island, you can watch other ferries taking passengers and cargo to different destinations. This ferry was seen from the northernmost point of the Isle of Man:

We went on a boat trip around the southernmost part of the island to look at wildlife. That was a relatively small boat, holding about a dozen people.

Some people got off at the Calf of Man to wander around the rugged rock:

From this boat, we got to see the Calf of Man and other rocks off the southernmost part of the island, enjoying a beautiful day and relatively calm seas:

Apparently, however, these beautiful rocks make for treacherous sailing at times and many boats have been shipwrecked here. The lighthouse on the Calf of Man has a vital role to play in avoiding such disasters:

Whilst on holiday, we enjoyed using rowing boats and even had a go on a pedalo! These boat trips were in the ‘safe’ confines of man-made lakes, often small pleasure lakes.

As I’ve been looking at photos and thinking about the various boat trips we made, I have been musing on life as a journey. I generally enjoy boat trips, but only if the sea is calm. I don’t enjoy rough seas where the up-and-down motion seems far too much like a roller-coaster for my pleasure! Similarly, I prefer life when it’s calm and sedate, but often it has times of turmoil and uncertainty, rather like being out on a rough sea!

The boat trip I took around the Calf of Man seemed typically laid-back in style; the whole island has that attitude. We turned up at the harbour at Port Erin; there was a sign advertising trips; a man sauntered up to us, asked if we wanted to go, named a time and a price and we returned at that point. You wandered down some steps to reach the boat; they cast off, sailed around, pausing the engines at times so we could see the seals and birds without disturbing or alarming the creatures:

The trip worked so well because the people in charge were clearly totally comfortable with what they were doing and their experience and expertise gave us a real sense of security. They would point out sights for us to see when we could only look at those things through binoculars; with the naked eye, we would have totally missed the treasures they were showing us. They worked as a team, tying the boat up with practised skill and then casting us off when it was necessary. It made me think a lot about the disciples as fishermen and about the storms which frightened them and how Jesus is never afraid, even on the roughest seas.

On our last day, we visited a museum about the island’s history and were amazed to look at a model of a Viking longship:

The thoughts of sailing the open seas on this kind of boat compared to the ferry, catamaran or cruise ship is mind-blowing! Yet our worlds were explored and discovered in such boats, long before the comforts of the present age, where cruise ships are like towns-on-water!

I love the sea. God created land and seas and I love exploring His creation. The sea has featured in many Bible stories I love, perhaps most vividly in the parting of the Red Sea or the story of Jonah or the calming of the storm in the New Testament. I am immensely grateful, however, for the skill and ingenuity of men in making boats so that we can explore this part of God’s creation, venture further afield and spread the gospel.