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.