Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Waiting for passage to St Martin/Sint Maarten

The only thing about the Road Harbour is the entertainment it provides. Yes, we are back there to get our clearance, which we did yesterday, February 11th; and this afternoon, around 4:00 pm we are to be off to St Martin.

This morning about 7:00 am, a cruise backed into the huge dock, almost next to us. Well, the ship is so big that it seems close, but the crew inside look like small plastic figurines with hard-hats, that my daughter loved to play with as a child. When I saw the several hard hats appearing at the lower back side openings, who are in charge of letting out the lines to be secured to the dock, I remembered my daughter. The harbour crew of three people, who get hold of the lines on the other hand, always strike me as leisurely and slow to respond. Nobody makes any haste, no running or even brisk walking to sling the lines over the bollards, after catching the guide lines. I remember watching the ferries docking in Istanbul during my summer holidays. In Istanbul, ferries have always been a part of life, tying the European and Asian sides. Moreover, it had been my main transportation in every summer, since my grand-parents owned a summer house on an island, an hour away from the city centre.

The dock crews around Istanbul would mostly shout (usually at the passengers, who try to embark/disembark before the ferry is fully docked) and run around to secure the aft line around the bollards, pull the ferry closer, tie it tighter several times, then run to the fore to get that line. All my life, I loved watching the process, while waiting to embark among the crowd that gets tighter with impatience.

Anyway, in Road Town tying the cruise ships take a good half hour, and Al and I have been watching it while having our morning tea after breakfast, almost every day that we anchored at the Road harbour channel. We always wondered where their next stop would be, since they travel at night and stay at a port during the day until around 5:00 pm. This morning two of them came and entertained us, before we started our preparations to make our passage to St Martin/Sint Maarten.

Our preparations included clearing all the clutter around the galley/our living quarters; having a nutritious lunch with a subsequent siesta; and making sandwiches, filling the thermos with hot water, closing all the drains to avoid any seepage from the pounding of the expected waves. We got tied at the BVI Yacht Charters marina for the last time, to fill up our diesel and water tanks.

Al tinkered with the radar that we had never used before, to get acquainted with it. He had heard of boats making crossings without turning on any lights, and he was afraid of hitting one, so he was convinced that should keep his eyes glued on the radar.

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