20th January, 2020
Given our early departure from St Kitts yesterday afternoon, it was a leisurely southern passage towards Guadeloupe, passing to the west of Montserrat overnight. We had a delayed arrival this morning due to ‘traffic’; there are two cruise berths in Pointe A Pitre. The ship on the inner, northern berth generally swings and thus the southern berth cannot be occupied if a ship is going to the northern berth. We were assigned the southern berth today and thus I was directed to wait for the ‘first’ ship to complete her manoeuvre before I could make my entry. That’s fine, we had the time to do this.
The passage into Pointe A Pitre is around the southern end of the Island; with sunrise at 0637, it made for quite spectacular coastal navigation, it was a shame that not too many Guests were up to take in the views. I embarked the Pilot at 0715 and commenced our inwards passage. It is 9 miles passage skirting around outcrops of shoaling waters adorned with tropical trees and vegetation. Glass like waters, blue skies and just about breathless; what a lovely pilotage inwards, such a change from yesterday!
Although breathless, I had the services of Tugs this morning on the account of no Bow Thruster. This made for a slightly slower manoeuvre and we were ‘all done’ for 0830, just a tad behind schedule but no impact upon the Tours of this morning. A lovely day and quite a lovely island, looking from the bridge wing. This is as close as I get to going ashore these days!
Sailing was scheduled for 1800, but planned for 2130 ensuring that our technical requirements were back to full strength before sailing. True enough, Len the Chief, called me and confirmed ‘good to go’ just before 2130. The Pilot had been arranged for 2115, 15 minutes before departure is the ‘norm’. At 2130, no sign of the Pilot. Making enquiries with the Harbour Authority we were advised that the Pilot was stuck on anther ship with a failed engine!
After some negotiations, the Pilot authority finally agreed to send another Pilot. We finally got going just before 2300, another long day!
I’m off to bed it’s a 0630 start in the morning.
Captain Stuart Horne
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