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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Off-loading in Marmaris

We are a bit tardy in making this posting about the arrival of the transport ship in Marmaris.  But here it finally is.

The BBC EVEREST arrived outside Marmaris very late on Thursday 28 April 2011 and held off well outside the port area until the next morning when the pilot and clearance officials went out to meet them.  Owners of all the yachts being transported had been requested to be at the Customs Wharf at 0900 Friday morning 29 April.  Twelve of us were staying in the same apartment complex and shared a tour van to the wharf, where we joined all the others.  Our agent soon arrived, and the BBC EVEREST was soon docked.  The captain disembarked and spoke to us as a group and many photos were taken.  Then our agent was advised by the SevenStar load master of the names of the first 7 yachts that would be unloaded on the first day.  BeBe was not among the first 7.  The rest of us were told to return to the ship at 14:00 to learn which yachts would be unloaded next.  We knew all along that BeBe would not be off-loaded until sometime Saturday afternoon or even Sunday morning.  Note:  Look closely at the photo on the right and you will see a catamaran loaded on top of the large square ballast tanks.  This was SLAPDASH; he was the second yacht to splash; first was the 83-ft MUSTANG.   Every conceivable space was utilized in order to get all our yachts on this ship.

Snuggled up beneath the big new motor yacht
The Italian catamaran ANDROMEDE was placed literally beneath the stern overhang of the big new motor yacht that had been picked up in Taiwan.  There was a bit of drama regarding this big motor yacht this day because the delivery destination kept changing.  First, it was going to Malta; then here to Marmaris; then to Malta; then to Marmaris. 
Red Sea desert sand on ship's deck
A decision was finally made to deliver this new yacht to Malta.  There was a Pantaenius surveyor on board because the captain said he would not place this new yacht into the water until it had been surveyed.  Newly built yachts have been known to sink the first time floated, and he refused to take any chances.

Several of us then visited the agent's office in the covered bazaar area of Old Town and collected our passports and clearance documents; then off for a doner kebab lunch.  Everyone was understandably in a celebratory mood.  Most of us arrived back at the ship at the appointed time.  The captain invited everyone up to the bridge while we awaited the unloading schedule.

The view from way up on top was neat.  The yachts were placed very close together.  The SevenStar load master and ship's crew had done an excellent job of utilizing every meter of deck space in order to get all 17 yachts aboard.

Yacht on left allegedly sustained sugar scoop damage
Really close together!  Excellent loading job!
We heard that one yacht sustained damaged during the transport.  But, of course, that is what the insurance is for.  Remember, SevenStar included transport insurance through Pantaenius for each yacht at no additional charge.  I do not want to divulge the name of this yacht in case the owner wishes this matter to remain private.  The yacht was loaded with a portion of the rear of the boat in a position where the loading crew needed to install tie-down straps criss-crossed over the stern sugar scoop.  Unfortunately, this sugar scoop was not part of the original hull design for this yacht.  The sugar scoop had been added in New Zealand during a major refit, and the scoop was very thin GRP.  The yacht owner told several of us on the transport ship that he believes the criss-crossed tie-down straps caused the sugar scoop to crack during the transport passage.  Again, that is what insurance is for.  This is the only alleged damage that we are aware of.  IMHO, if the tie-down straps were considered necessary by the load master to prevent movement during transport, then SevenStar was correct to place these straps.  Better to have a retro-fitted modification to a yacht sustain damage than to have this yacht move on the deck during transport and cause damage to other yachts being transported.






Can you spot BeBe in there?

BeBe is the center boat.
The 7th and final yacht to be off-loaded on the first day was ESPRIT.  Chay and Katie said that ESPRIT was very quickly lifted, moved over the deck and lowered beside the ship.  A small squall was approaching over the mountains and lightning was getting heavy.  They finished off-loading and ESPRIT quickly moved to a slip in nearby Netsel Marina.

Our agent, Soner.  He is a real gem!! Saved us over $1200
But the drama was not yet over for this day.  The catamaran SLAPDASH had been the second yacht to be off-loaded.  They had moved to the anchorage off the beach at Marmaris.  When the small squall passed through, SLAPDASH was struck by lightning ... damaging their electronics.  What a shame!  To have your yacht make it safely this far and then to be struck by lightning within a few hours of getting back into the water.

We returned Saturday morning and learned that BeBe would be off-loaded that afternoon.
The load master had hoped to off-load all of the remaining 10 yachts on Saturday.  But Mother Nature had other plans.  Winds started gusting heartily shortly before our off-loading was started.  When they lifted BeBe, the wind caught the boat and caused it to swing far to starboard -- missing TAPESTRY by only a couple of inches and missing PASSAGE by a couple of feet.  But, as the saying goes, "Close only counts when playing horseshoes."  Missed by an inch or missed by a yard, it was still a miss; and all yachts were fine.  The crew were able to immediately gain control of BeBe and stop the swinging.  The crane moved over the deck and placed BeBe gently back into the sea.  BeBe was off-loaded by using the lifting points again rather than the normal straps beneath the hull.  But this time the ship was tied securely to the dock and was not rolling.  The lifting cables never touched the deck or anything else on BeBe except the shackles placed on our deck-level lifting points.  The off-loading process for BeBe was perfect!

We immediately motored over to the anchorage just outside Yacht Marine, where we spent 2 lovely nights at anchor prior to being hauled out on Monday for the routine bottom job.  While at anchor Bill cleaned what we had thought were cable scratches during the loading in Male.  Turned out to really just be cable grease; everything looked fine after a thorough cleaning.  The off-loading continued after we left the ship, but by the time B'SHERET was placed in the water the winds had picked up to the point that the load master determined it too dangerous to lift any more boats.  So PASSAGE, TAPESTRY, PROS PER AIM and ANDROMEDE were forced to wait until Sunday morning.  ANDROMEDE had to be the last yacht off because the 2 ballast tanks had to be removed before the yacht could be moved.  The captain really had wanted to get all the yachts off on Saturday so that he could enjoy a day off on Sunday, but the weather intervened.

While we were waiting for hours until time for BeBe to be off-loaded, we had stayed in the bridge and visited with the German captain.  He was a hoot!!  It was just me, Bill, our agent and the captain up there for several hours.  We truly enjoyed visiting with him.  He is part of a dying breed.  Within the next 2 decades there will be no more captains on the sea like him.  He said all the new shipping captains are Chinese.  As the current Germans and Russian captains retire, they are being replaced by Chinese.  Captain Graeber showed us lots of photos of this maiden voyage of BBC EVEREST. During the passage across the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden the ship had Russian snipers aboard for security.  SevenStar does not hire armed security guards, but BBC Chartering does not allow its ships through that area without armed security guards.  So our transport ship had Russian snipers as security guards.  The guards disembarked in Djibouti.  The captain also showed us videos of the installation of coiled razor wire all around the ship.  Pirates trying to board this ship would have been very cut up.  The captain said he saw no pirates on this voyage -- music to our ears!

Friday morning the captain had suggested that each yacht tip the crew of BBC EVEREST $10 USD so they could enjoy a barbeque after all the yachts were off-loaded.  Note that this is the captain requesting recognition for his crew; it is not the crew themselves asking for a tip.  We liked the way this captain tried to take care of his crew.  Also note that the crew works for the ship; they are not employees of SevenStar, which is the company we had paid for this transport.  Acknowledging the crew in this small way was appropriate in our views.  They had done a good job in difficult circumstances.

The Russian cook.  Doesn't he look like his name should be Boris?
We could tell that most of the yacht owners were not receptive to this idea.  Australians and Europeans do not believe in tipping for anything.  Several continued to complain just as they had for weeks ........ complaining about anything and everything regardless of how trivial.  We felt that the crew did a great job for all of us and deserved the treat of a barbeque, so we contributed more than our fair share to help cover what we knew the Australians and Europeans would not contribute.  Later we had an email from the captain.  Five American boats contributed and one British boat contributed -- a total of $120 -- of which BeBe had contributed $60.  The Australians and Europeans should be ashamed of themselves.  Such cheapskates!!  We are ashamed to be a part of this group.  The ship's crew brought their yachts safely through the pirates and up the notoriously bad weather of the Red Sea, and they did not see fit to participate in providing the crew with a celebratory dinner!  BTW, the ship has a Russian cook.  We heard from the crew that his cooking is terrible and they really look forward to a barbeque when they can afford it.

And this ends our saga of transporting BeBe through the increased pirate activity in the Northern Indian Ocean.  We compliment SevenStar on a job well done.  And we definitely thank Captain Juergen Graeber for delivering BeBe safely to Marmaris.

As a side note, all the crew were very polite and efficient.  They worked well together.  I really liked this one young man.  A script tattoo across his chest read "Love me or Leave me Alone"


13 comments:

  1. Hmm. You don't like it when other people make blanket statements about Americans. But it is ok to make such statements about Europeans or Australians? In doing so, you are falling into the stereotype many people have about Americans. (they think they are superior). I'm just saying....

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  2. Anonymous,

    Judy will have a lot more to say about your above comment...here is what I have to say: They deserved the negative comment! Additionally, we have been critical of certain Americans that we refer to as "Ugly Americans" who leave a filthy wake. If you are a sailor, you probably know what I mean. I will admit that we have never been critical of Texans, but it goes with the territory...I'm just saying...

    Bill

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  3. Anonymous -- Is the "You" in your comment intended as a plural noun or a singular noun -- meaning Americans in general or me individually? If your comment about blanket statements about Americans is intended to say that I personally do not like that practice, please note that I do not have a problem being categorized in that manner. Americans are well-known for being arrogant, demanding, less well-educated than Europeans as a whole, and very out-spoken when we receive a service or product that is less than what was stated. Why you believe that Americans think they are superior escapes me.

    Europeans and Australians do not tip for services provided. That is not in their cultures because service employees are paid much higher wages than similar employees in the USA. Therefore, Americans are accustomed to tipping for a wide variety of services for which Europeans and Australians do not tip -- they simply pay higher prices. As a result of tipping not being customary anywhere in Europe or Australia (except possibly for the chambermaid in hotels), people who live in those countries do not consider tipping to be a normal course of business.

    This was brought home to me years ago when I attempted to tip a French hairdresser. The bill was 78 Euro and I gave him 93 Euro. He repeated that the charge was 78 Euro and tried to give me back the extra 15. I told him that the extra 15 was for him. He asked "Why?" I said because he had done such a good job cutting my hair. He handed me back the 15 Euro and said "That is my job -- to cut hair well. If I wanted to be paid more for my job, I would have charged you more." This was the perfect illustration of the difference between American culture and European culture regarding the practice of tipping.

    Of the 17 yachts who transported, there were 6 American yachts and 11 yachts either European or Australian. Of the 6 American yachts, 5 contributed tips for the crew -- the owner of the 6th yacht was ill and hurried away and was hospitalized shortly thereafter. Of the 11 European or Australian yachts, only 1 British yacht owner tipped the ship's crew. I think those statistics speak for themselves.

    Judy

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  4. I stand corrected. :)

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  5. Tipping is indeed a rare occurrence in Australia. It has grated on a couple of American friends I have who visit us but, as per the French hairdresser example, we tend to charge what we think the job & our skills are worth rather than rely on the generosity (or "compulsory X% tip") to make up for the shortfall.

    I tend to tip only in the exceptional cases and this tends to be a big surprise to those receiving the tip. It's just not the way we price outselves and our services -shrug-

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  6. That said "Australians and Europeans do not believe in tipping for anything" is pushing the stereotype a bit far. We believe in tipping for goods/services above & beyond the average.

    If, for example, the crew happened to get the yachts unloaded quickly, efficiently, and with a minimum of fuss - I'd have tipped in a bit for the BBQ. On the other hand, it is quite rude in our culture to have a tip expected or explicitly requested - especially before the job is finished. To say we should be ashamed of that would be like claiming Americans should be ashamed of the assertiveness and the fact they won't be pushed around.

    Note, I am not one of the Aussies mentioned (being safely and sadly land-locked Down Under atm). I'm just someone from a culture that doesn't give tips for an adequately done job, only for exceptional service. The job seemed to be to get through the waters in question and deliver the boats, that they did that is what the money was given to them for in the first place.

    I don't find it shameful to not tip someone for doing the job quoted anymore than, say, someone complaining publicly about a contractor that doesn't turn up when they said they would. We're all entitlted to our opinions, of course, and I'm just clarifying the above post - not wanting to insult Judy & Bill.

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  7. OK, we have drifted off the subject, but I feel compelled to clarify something for my non-American friends.

    The minimum wage in the USA is $7.25. Restaurant, hospitality and some other workers in the US are legally paid one-half of the minimum $3.63 per hour because it is expected by the US government, by their employer's and by them to receive tips. Minimum wage in Australia is $13.74 per hour. No one expects tipping in Australia.

    Restaurant and hospitality worker's wages are higher in Australia; you can be assured the prices are higher...simple math. In the long-run those involved probably receive the same and pay the same, unless an Aussie is in the US and does not tip the waitress...in that case, the Aussie will pay less and the waitress will make less.

    This is the fundamental reason that tipping in the US is expected. When the government got involved and allowed one-half wages, tipping practically became law...and BTW, the government got involved because everyone knew the waitress was not reporting her cash tips for income tax purposes.

    For my American friends: Most Americans do not understand the the above differences between the US and other countries and are so accustomed to tipping that they add 10-15% to the bill when they are outside the US. I am sure that this upsets and frustrates certain people in other countries. To my US friends: Do not do this!

    Lastly, a Bar-B-Que for the crew was NOT a tip. It was a small gesture of appreciation for a tough job on the part of the crew of BBC Everest. Inviting your friends or even new acquaintances to a Bar-B-Que is never considered a tip regardless of what country you are in. If you are looking for a reason to NOT participate, you might twist this friendly gesture into a "tip."

    I hope I have cleared this up and not started another conversation in this lively posting.

    Bill

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  8. Sorry Bill, wasn't trying to cause a fuss. Just sticking up for our country and way of doing things. Patriotism and all that jazz. Hard not to defend the way of life you grew up with and find "normal".

    For what it is worth, I wouldn't have thought of the BBQ as a tip had it not been mentioned as such (...the captain had suggested that each yacht tip the crew...) and the discussion that followed focused on the vagaries of the practise across the world.

    Anyhow, as a "getting to know you" thing, I agree that not chipping in to be in on a BBQ at a momentous occasion (such the delivery of your boat) is pretty poor form. I've always got a beer on-hand for when contractors come around when I don't drink the stuff (I'm a spirits guy personally). It's just the friendly thing to do.

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  9. Please do not put everyone in one basket. We are very proud Australians and ALWAYS put in our bit........................... China Grove in Kota Kinabalu

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  10. I think you are absolutely correct about NOT placing all of one group in a single basket.

    It has happened to us, and it made me grumpy.

    I think the best way to sum it up is that there was some people who acted the way we did and some people who acted the way we would never act. We like to associate with those that share our values, almost never completely understand those that don't, and I rarely have any patience with those that don't. "They" make me grumpy, which is probably why "they" think that I am unsociable. Fortunately, I have developed a very wide and diverse group of citizens of the world who I call friends; and, I have not made too many enemies. There are some out there, but they would never read this blog.

    Thanks for all of your comments.

    Bill
    BeBe

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  11. You beat us to Turkey...go glad all is ok now for you
    Lynn and chuck on CYAN
    consider our blog at sailingcyan.blogspot.com
    for your favorites please...you have so many followers

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  12. Hi Bill,
    What did the crossing on the BBC Everets cost if you don't mind me asking?

    Anton

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    Replies
    1. The short answer is $650/foot LOA, all inclusive. I emailed you direct with a more complete answer.

      Bill

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