Safe on speeding ferry

The summer following my sophomore year of college, I traveled to Kuala Lumpur. I was visiting my sister, her husband, and their 10-month- old baby. During my visit, we took a number of sightseeing tours. One trip was to Langkawi, a tropical island bordered by turquoise waters and liberally sprinkled with historical sites. To reach the island, we took a local ferry, and after a day of touring, we again boarded the ferry to return to the mainland.

The ferry was packed with tourists and commuters. Our departure was behind schedule. When we finally got underway, several people around us commented on how late we'd been in getting started. Then, about 15 minutes into the trip, the speed at which we were traveling accelerated noticeably. We were traveling at a much faster rate than on the previous trip. Through the porthole next to our seats, I could see large waves pounding against the boat, which by now was rocking fiercely. People around us began to be ill from the increased movement.

FROM THE editors
Glass flowers—and thinking for yourself
November 17, 2003

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