When we're on land, we take for granted fast travel. At 70 mph (112 kph), you can really put some miles behind you. In a sailboat, not so much. We consider 150 nm an overnight trip on Nine of Cups, a distance covered in two hours in a car on a highway.
We get back and forth from Cups to the States via jet ... average speed 500 knots (575 mph/925 kph). We always figure the distance that's taken us years to cover by boat is reversed in a matter of hours … 13 years to get to Australia by sailboat… 30 hours to return from Oz to the States by plane. Wow … talk about undoing what you've done.
We've taken trains in Ecuador, Peru and New Zealand to see the sights. Sometimes we sat in seats; sometimes we rode on top; and sometimes we just hung off the side.
We rode mules in the Dominican Republic to get to the top of Pico Duarte, the highest point in the Caribbean.
We shared a dugout canoe with new local friends, paddling up the Rio Mogue in the Darien Jungle of Panama to get to a remote village.
On Lake Titicaca, highest navigable lake in the world, we visited the floating island of Uros where we took a ride in a boat made completely of totora reeds as was the island itself.
We've ridden on chicken buses (literally lots of chickens ... and pigs, goats, whatever) and Executivo coaches in our travels around South America. We certainly rent cars when it makes sense and fly when we're trying to get there in a hurry, but alternative forms of travel seem to be more appealing and certainly more interesting.
In the city of Iquitos, on the banks of the Amazon, motos, three-wheeled motorcycles, were the norm. We still consider Iguazu the “loudest” city we've ever visited. Motorcycles and scooters, in general, are popular in South America because people are poor and cars are expensive. We've seen whole families on little motor scooters out for a family drive, kids hanging precariously off the sides or clinging to their moms for dear life. There were manual pedal-versions of the motos, like trikes, in Ecuador, where the locals did all the work for 50 cents.
On the Amazon River itself, we traveled in “collectivos”, thatch-covered, long, wooden boats that ferried people up and down the river.
In Sydney, ferries were the travel mode of choice to get around the harbor.
And, of course, there's our indispensable dinghy aka RIB (rigid inflatable boat) which gets us from Nine of Cups to shore.
Mostly though, we prefer walking when it's a reasonable alternative. We see more. It's cheap. It's good exercise and though slow...we get there just the same. Walking from Australia, however, just wasn't reasonable. The bridge hasn't been completed yet.