For as long as humans have been building boats, we’ve been using them not just to travel, explore, or trade, but to simply move people and stuff from one side of a waterway to another. In the 11th century B.C., an ancient Chinese king built a bridge of boats to cross the River Wei in west-central China. In ancient Greek mythology, the ferryman Charon steers deceased souls across the River Styx to the underworld. In medieval England, the northeastern town of Hull maintained a ferry that made frequent trips across the Humber estuary. Today, (depending on how you count) there are thousands upon thousands of ferries operating around the world. Most are your average movers of goods, people, and vehicles, but some of them do this while also being very, very strange.
In Saugatuck, Michigan, you can ride the last hand-cranked ferry in the United States. In Laos, hired boats traverse a pitch-black cave to move tourists and cargo alike. In the small coastal town of Hamble-le-Rice, England, a bright pink ferry continues a 500-year tradition. When it comes to these floating oddities, the journey far outweighs the destination.
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