Knowing how much of a nail-biter taking our boat into a strange harbor can be, I find it fascinating to watch huge ships manage the task. I have come to learn that the captains of these ships are most often assisted in this task by a pilot, a professional who has intimate knowledge of the harbor.
When first studying my “rules of the road” and memorizing the special light combinations that different types of vessels displayed, I read that a pilot boat is signified by a white light over top of a red light. That was all well and fine but I didn’t really know what a pilot boat was. Now, after having spent time observing the comings and goings of large ships, and listening to their radio traffic, I’ve learned that a pilot typically meets an incoming ship while it is approaching the harbor and while it is still underway, boards the ship to lend assistance to the captain and crew. The reverse of this procedure occurs when the ship is leaving port, the pilot, after having ensured that the ship is safely back in open waters, is picked up by the pilot boat and returned to shore or shuttled to his next duty.
Cool job? Yes, and one that, according to wikipedia, is well compensated. It comes with a fair degree of responsibility though so I guess they earn it.
A pilot was “on the job” just astern of our boat this morning.
Now caught up on our internet responsibilities, and having enjoyed ourselves on a great hash last night, Rebecca and I plan to head back to our island hideaway later this morning. You know what that means… another break in posting. Sorry guys, I promise to do better next week when we’ll be stuck in Chaguaramas.