Built in 1983, the Arahura has made more than 50,000 crossings and clocked up 5 million kilometres in her 32 years on the water.
Interislander general manager Mark Thompson says the boat's greatest moment came not long after she launched: "Going to the aid of the Russian cruise ship Mikhail Lermontov (in 1986), helping save over 700 people... she's been a fantastic ship for us."
Former crew and staff, people with fond memories of the Arahura - and perhaps rose-tinted glasses - were aboard the final voyage.
I heard a radio announcer last Wednesday bemoan her departure: "Farewell, old friend, you've served us well." Holy hell, what planet was that muppet on??!! Breakdowns, missed sailings, crashes into wharves etc...just read my blog and be reminded!
The "old friend" is the second inter-island ferry to bear the Arahura name. The earlier one, built in 1905, served until the early 1950s and was sunk by the RNZAF as target practice. We can thank our lucky stars that the current Arahura didn't sink too, the way she performed of late! May the navy to put this one out of its misery, and not inflict it on any other
Now we permanently have one dog to replace another!
And so the Interislander joke continues...
UPDATE: 09 Nov.2015 - Arahura ready for wrecking.