Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Chesapeake Bay

We arrived at Ambrose pilot station early yesterday morning. It was a
busy start to the week for the apprentice pilot running the pilot
cutter and orchestrating the delivery and retrieval of the pilots.
There were 27 total ships coming in or out of New York, most being
inbound after the long holiday weekend. The infamous Ambrose light
tower was absent from the approach to New York. Originally a manned
light vessel, it was reduced to a twisted pile of metal by the bow of
a wayward tanker earlier in the year and finally removed this fall.
Naturally this wasn't the first time the tower or the old light ship
had been physically visited by a passing ship. In the old days of RDF
or radio direction finding every now and then an inbound ship in fog
would zero in on the ship's radio beacon and forget that it was
originating from an actual vessel either terrifying the crew or
running smack in to it. The new pilot boarding area has been expanded
allowing for more room to maneuver for the pilot and ample time to
line up for the channel prior to the "Bailout point" or your last
chance to exit the approach before your are committed to the channel
and the depth limitations of either bank. Cargo operations were quick
and we were passing under the Verazano bridge for probably the last
time well before dinner. Due to a change in scheduling the remaining
vessels in our fleet will no longer be calling on the fair city of
Bayonne New Jersey. Today we're headed up the 150 miles of inland
waters to Baltimore for a three day port stay. Day one, tomorrow, will
be hectic with a discharge of automobiles, the annual US Coast Guard
COI and our annual classification survey by Lloyd's. Every one is
making sure that their paperwork is in order, enough signatures in all
the right places and that equipment is ready to be inspected. The
annual certificate of inspection is commonly a cause for heartburn
among Mariner's which is only natural for one of the most heavily
regulated industries in the world. Day two and we will have shifted
across the harbor to discharge our high and heavy cargoes. Day three
should be spent idle at the berth allowing the crew some time ashore
to get the Christmas cards sent out. Then we'll be headed for
Charleston South Carolina.

No comments:

Post a Comment