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Oct 2014

23 Oct. 2014; Key West, Florida, USA.

In the dark of the early morning the Veendam arrived at the Key West pilot station after a breezy night at sea. But the weather did not throw a spanner in the wheel and on arrival at the dock there was hardly any wind. Wind is an issue in Key West, as the houses are barely built above sea level and there is no shelter anywhere in the port apart from those houses and three story apartment buildings. If I am not mistaken, the highest mountain in Key West is about 20 feet above sea level.  There are three docks in Key West, Mallory, Pier B and the Navy dock. All the ships want to dock at Mallory or Pier B, at least the company’s that is, but most captains prefer the Navy dock as it has much better bollards and more of them to hold the ship if a sudden squall comes through. The problem with the navy dock is that it is far away from town and has a long pier so they use those sjoek –sjoek trains there to get the people to the Gate. Mallory is the most limited dock as far as bollards go, and if there is also a ship at Pier B then the ship at Mallory has to go forward as much as possible, to enable both ships to get their gangways out.  Today there was an Apartment of the Seas at the B pier and thus the Veendam had to move forward. That means that forward there are only spring lines that hold the ship. Some lines you could call breast lines (normally under 90o to the ship) but they were also sort of leading aft. Not nice if you expect a rainy day with the chance of an occasional wind burst. With the ship so far forward, the gangway is laid out in the Marshalling area of the ship (where we load the luggage and the provisions) and thus the guests have to walk through the crew area. Everybody finds that fascinating as you can peek into the crew mess rooms […]

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