Thursday, June 17, 2021

Yay! The Ship Is On Its Way!



The ship Chipolbrok Star left Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania yesterday and is on its way to Port Everglades, currently offshore from Ocean City, New Jersey! I'm now tracking the ship in real time, no longer relying solely on what the shipping agent tells me.

Weather in the Atlantic looks good for the ship's voyage and ETA here is currently on Sunday afternoon. If all goes well, I'm hoping to load on Monday or Tuesday.

What a relief. I am finally feeling like my long wait is coming to an end.

My previous post may have been a bit dramatic. I expressed my despondency over what was only a one- to two-day delay, for goodness sake. Yet, the pain was real. It's like I've been mentally kicked in the same spot over and over.

Here is the list of ship arrival dates provided the shipping agent, Peters & May, since I signed the transport contract with them in January:

  • March 20-25
  • March 1-15
  • March 15-30
  • March 10-15
  • April 5-20
  • April 19
  • April 19-20
  • April 19-25
  • May 8
  • May 17
  • May 25
  • June 9-13
  • June 14-15
  • June 17-18
  • June 18-19
  • June 20

That's a lot of kicks to the head! Three months of being repeatedly disappointed, having to change plans and wait, not knowing. And if I consider that I could have gone back to continue exploring the Bahamas in April and May, well....ugh. But that's 20-20 hindsight, not useful thinking

In any case, with the ship on its way, at least something is really happening now. Uncertainty is decreasing as the ship gets closer.

Chipolbrok Star's route to Port Everglades (Got to miss that Gulf Stream current!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I received word that my ship is delayed...again. This would be funny if it wasn't testing my mental health and casting a pall over my life. It's torture to wait patiently for a loading date to arrive only to have the date moved further away.

The ship has been docked at the Kinder Morgan Fairless Hills Terminal near Philadelphia. The loading of bulk cargo was delayed by heavy rain. Once it finishes loading it will depart and head straight here to Port Everglades.  The ETA has moved out from June 18 to June 20 and the loading dates are now June 20-22. That results in an ETA in La Paz of July 6.

I figure it will take the ship three days to get from Fairless Hills to Port Everglades. That means the ship needs to leave by tomorrow. As of tonight, it's still at wharf. 

This has been one of the most frustrating experiences I can remember. 

I'm hanging in there, but it's demoralizing, lonely and depressing at times. It's been raining almost constantly here, which doesn't help.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Blog Housekeeping

I'm doing a bit of housekeeping on my Sailing Intermezzo blog that affects those of you who follow by email subscription.

Google is discontinuing its Feedburner application that my blog uses to send emails to subscribers. So, I've switched to a new service called "". Hopefully the transition is seamless, although you might need to confirm with that you want to continue receiving emails and you might get a redundant email via Feedburner until I've tested that everything is working okay and stop that service. If you notice that you are not receiving emails, please check you junk mail folder or try subscribing again.

For those of you reading this who haven't subscribed, please consider doing so via the new "Follow by email" subscription box on the upper right. Your email address is not shared by or to anyone and you can unsubscribe any time.

Good News, Bad News


The schedule for the ship to transport Intermezzo to La Paz is firming up.  That's the good news.

The bad news is that the ship is not arriving in Port Everglades until June 18, three days later than the previous schedule.

More bad news is that I misunderstood the previous arrival window of June 14-15 as also being the loading dates. My bad. It takes three days to load the ship. So my new loading window is June 19-21.

Even more bad news is that I misunderstood the seven days sailing time from Port Everglades to La Paz. It is actually seven days sailing after the ship's first stop in Cristobal, Panama, which adds another three days.  My bad, again. So instead of arriving in La Paz per my original calculation on June 23, Intermezzo will not arrive there until July 4-5.

More waiting and now I won't get Intermezzo out of the water before hurricane season "officially" starts on July 1. I'm going to work with my insurance carrier to see if I can get a coverage rider.

Yesterday, divers cleaned Intemezzo's hulls and props so that we will be presentable when we show our undersides on the ship. A vanity cleaning, but also one engine was not getting up to speed due to all the growth on the prop. Stuff grows fast in Florida's warm, nutrient rich waters.

I spent today completing paperwork for loading and clearing into Mexico. The shipping agent will send me a definitive loading day/time as soon as they have figured out the arrangement for loading boats onto the ship. They have to fit together on the deck taking into consideration which boats get unloaded along the way. After Cristobal and La Paz, the ship will continue on from to Ensenada, Mexico and then all the way to Victoria, British Columbia.

My saga continues, but at least with more clarity and understanding. We're getting close!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

New Ship, Later Loading, Faster Voyage


The ship to transport Intermezzo to La Paz has been changed. Originally, we were loading onto MV Wladyslaw Orkan between June 9 and 14. Now we are loading onto the Chipolbrok Star on June 14 or 15. The good news is that the new ship will only make one stop on the way to La Paz, reducing the transit time from 14 days to just seven days. I estimate arrival in La Paz on June 23.

I'm delaying my return to Fort Lauderdale until June 10.

Looking forward to getting back to Intermezzo and then back in Mexico!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

A Ship!

I am happy to report that a ship to take Intermezzo to La Paz has materialized!

Intermezzo is scheduled to be loaded onto the MV Wladyslaw Orkan, a 656 ft long general cargo ship sometime between June 9 and 13 in Port Everglades. The voyage to La Paz will take about two weeks, so I'm anticipating arrival there on or about June 28.  If I hustle, I can get the boat out of the water by July 1.

It is a great relief for the waiting and uncertainty to be over. Things can still happen that could cause further delays to loading, transit time and unloading, but we have a ship. I'll deal with matters as they unfold.

I'll be heading back to Fort Lauderdale on June 6 to finalize preparations for loading. Hell, I might even enjoy myself a little when I get back there.

Many thanks to all of those who crossed their fingers, made wishes and expressed sympathy and support while I've waited for my ship to arrive.

MV Wladyslaw Orkan, Intermezzo's ride to La Paz

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Circumstances Improved, Some Hope

 After making my decision to wait up to another 30 days for a ship, I set about trying to find dockage for Intermezzo so that I could take a break from living on the boat. Kinga, my main contact at the shipping company had mentioned a private dock not far from the Las Olas anchorage where I had been bobbing around for the better part of a month. I made a phone call, checked out the dock with the dinghy and sealed the deal.

The dock is great. It's on a peaceful canal in a very nice neighborhood, along the waterfront of a very nice home that is mostly vacant this time of year. The dock is in great shape, pretty secure with water and electricity. I can even use the swimming pool and patio area when the owner is away. Nice!

Much to my pleasant surprise, Kinga told me that the shipping company will reimburse me for the cost of the dock from May 25 until Intermezzo gets loaded on a ship. I'm really grateful for that and it makes me think that the company has some confidence that it won't be too long before a ship materializes.

I also had an informative and reassuring conversation with Simon Judson, Peter & May's CEO. He filled me in on the current big picture situation with the shipping industry. Demand is far exceeding the supply of ships due to economic recovery from the global Covid recession and ship owners are charging much higher rates for cargo, double from a year ago. Finding space on the deck of ships for yachts at economically feasible rates is very challenging.

Simon explained the details of the deals Peters & May are trying to negotiate with three candidate ships to carry Intermezzo and dozens of other boats that have been waiting like I have been. The key to these deals is the base below deck cargo. The space on the ship to carry yachts and its ports of call isn't known until the base cargo has been booked. Then it's a matter of figuring out what combination of yachts can fit on the ship and negotiating a price to carry them. The logistics are complicated and constantly changing, lots of moving pieces. However, Simon is quite confident that they will work something out for the first week of June. I hope he's right.

I'm going to take a break from Intermezzo and head back to California to visit family and friends, enjoy a change of scenery. The current earliest possible date for securing a ship is May 30. I'm planning on returning then, although Kinga tells me that she hasn't experienced a ship being "nominated" sooner than 14 days prior to arrival, which as of today makes June 3 the earliest possibility. Thanks to Covid, I can make changes to my flight reservations without penalty, so I can stay longer in California if I want to.

That means the countdown clock stays set on 14 days until I hear from Kinga that a ship has been nominated. Loading usually takes place a few days after the ship arrives and takes two to three days. So, that puts loading 16-17 days out. It takes about two weeks for the ship to sail to La Paz. I'll be lucky to get Intermezzo out of the water by July 1 and the risk of hurricanes increases every day after June 1. That's cutting it a bit too close for comfort, but nothing I can do about it other than move quickly once the boat is unloaded off the ship and watch the weather carefully.

I feel better having Intermezzo on a dock so that I'm not tied to the boat as much and don't have to deal with a crappy dinghy access to land. I'm looking forward to my break in California. And I'm a bit more hopeful that my Fort Lauderdale ordeal will end soon.