2nd June, 2019
The overnight run down the Nova Scotia coast was one long ‘fog’ experience, pea-souper all the way - not a lot of fun. The forecast for Halifax was overcast with heavy rain but reasonable wind conditions. I had been on the bridge since 0330 this morning and the wind was ‘getting’ up as we moved further south along the coast.
The arrival plan was to park bow-in to ensure we were quick, we were a little behind with our run down from Sydney and being bow-in allowed for the blustery prevailing winds which were not forecasted!
Staffy Denis, aka shorty, was driving in this morning, this would be a great experience for him as it was on the limit of manoeuvring for the ship without tugs. Coming up through the ‘cut’ the wind was blowing a hoolie; however the Pilot was confident that once in the lee of McNabs Island, conditions would improve. That what Pilots are really for, local information.
With ship setting 18 degrees contrary to the heading, Denis took the Con from the Pilot for the approach to the berth. As we approached the berth we were advised that ‘contractually’ the longshore men could not handle the ship ropes until 0801! Again, good fortune smiles upon us, with the wind blowing onto the berth, we could ‘park’ without mooring ropes and wait of 08.01 to arrive, then tie-up the ship. You couldn’t write this stuff!
The wind did ease, not as much as I was advised, nonetheless, using all the ships power to sit-up against the wind, Denis made his approach landed the ship nicely alongside - only waiting a few minutes before sending out the moorings. The ship was all secure for 0830, a little late but no impact upon the Tour programme.
What a miserable day, such a shame to end the Canadian Tour with a wet and wild day, indeed, a number of shore excursions were cancelled. During the afternoon the wind whipped up to 55 knots and prompted me to order two Tugs for departure. As my bedraggled Guest washed back on board, we thought about the departure manoeuvre.
With two tugs bent-on, the ship was lifted parallel off the berth, using the tugs, against 35 knot winds. Chris, the 3rd Officer, was executing the manoeuvre with the Pilot in close attention; there were places we could not go and not specifically indicated on the electronic nav charts. Clear of the berth and stern in the wind, the tugs were released from duty and we made our way to open seas. Disembarking the Pilot in choppy coastal waters at about 1715, we set passage. The weather forecast was not good, and yes, you have guessed, straight back into the fog as we set out on our 4.5 day crossing to the Azores.
Hard to sleep with the Fog-horn blasting away. . . night night!
Captain Stuart Horne
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