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.
|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.
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"