You never know what to expect on a ferry crossing

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Taking a ferry crossing is often a relaxing and enjoyable experience, with passengers making the most of the on-board facilities as they sail towards their destination. However, there is the odd situation where things do not quite go according to plan, giving guests and ferry staff a trip that is a little out of the ordinary.

It is not only members of the public who can land themselves in a spot of bother while travelling on ferries, as was recently demonstrated by England rugby player Manu Tuilagi. Following his team's less-than-exceptional performance at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, the 20-year-old took a ferry from Auckland harbour for a spot of rest and relaxation.

However, his journey proved a little more eventful than planned when Tuilagi jumped from the vessel that was about to berth at the Auckland Ferry Terminal. He then swam to a nearby pier before being taken in by police. The rugby star was held for an hour in police custody before eventually being allowed to leave - but not without paying a £3,000 fine for his antics. England team manager Martin Johnson felt the need to apologise for his player's behaviour, saying: "This was an irresponsible thing to do. Manu has been disciplined internally and I have warned him about his future conduct."

Police and the Rugby Football Union refused to comment on whether or not Mr Tuilagi was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.

Taking pets on board ferries is not uncommon, but one pooch found itself in a spot of bother a couple of years ago. Owner Jan Griffith and her family were enjoying a boat trip when their Australian cattle dog, Sophie Tucker, ended up overboard. She disappeared off the Mackay coast in north Queensland, with her owners believing they would never see their pet again.

The pooch had somehow navigated her way over to St Bees Island, which was around five nautical miles away from where she had last been seen.

However, Sophie Tucker defied the odds and turned up four months later, during which time her family had already invested in a new dog. The pooch had somehow navigated her way over to St Bees Island, which was around five nautical miles away from where she had last been seen.

Believing her to be a wild dog, rangers on the island captured the animal after finding her hunting baby goats in order to survive. Rangers took the dog back to the mainland to see if she was the missing Sophie Tucker, much to the amazement of Mrs Griffiths and her family. "We called the dog and she started whimpering and banging the cage and they let her out and she just about flattened us," Mrs Griffiths commented.It is often said that the best laid plans never work, and this has never been quite so true as it was for some travellers last year. As thousands of people became stranded due to the volcanic ash cloud, ferries provided a much needed lifeline for those who were unable to fly to their destinations.

Nonetheless, many individuals hoping to travel with Norfolkline found their plans were scuppered when demand from foot passengers reached an unprecedented high. As a result, only cyclists were allowed on board the ships, leaving many tourists frantically trying to secure themselves some two-wheeled transport. Tom Noble, aged 52 from Highgate in north London, was one of those who was caught up in the frenzy after being told he could only embark if he was a genuine cyclist. He visited a local charity shop and purchased a rusty old bike to gain him permission to travel on the ferry. However, when he turned up at the port, staff required him to push the bike up the ramp before he was allowed to board. When arriving in Dover, Mr Noble then had to dispose of his bike in order to get on a bus to take him to the railway station.

Mr Noble was far from the only one with the same ingenious idea. His colleague picked out a bright pink ladies bike with a giant basket on the front just so he was able to travel home.

Mr Noble was far from the only one with the same ingenious idea. His colleague picked out a bright pink ladies bike with a giant basket on the front just so he was able to travel home. Another man, reported to have been a British Airways gold card member, was even seen riding a children's bicycle to convince Norfolkline to transport him home.

Last year's ash cloud saga did far from just affect everyday travellers, as singing superstar Whitney Houston was also forced to change her plans. The diva ended up catching a Stena Line ferry from Belfast to Stranraer following three concerts in Dublin so not to disappoint her fans. Stena Line Communications Manager Nigel Tilson commented: "Whitney was the most famous but not the only celebrity to travel with us at this time as we also carried rising golf star Rory McIlroy the Ulster Rugby and Ospreys Rugby teams and millionaire businessman and racehorse owner JP McManus."

Ferry crossings can lead to the most unusual of circumstances, showing that it is indeed one of the most fascinating ways to travel. So next time you take a ferry, whether it be with Irish Ferries, an England to Jersey ferry or any of the hundreds of ferry companies AFerry offers, expect the unexpected. And if something interesting does happen, please come back and write a review!


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