Bringing Anju Home – Part Two

23rd May - 14th June 2015

We'd already been running around like crazy, getting things prepared and offloading from Anju items we wanted to remain in the USA to use on the RV.

Somehow we'd got lucky with our anchoring spot. The car rental office was only about half a mile away. Behind the canal we had to travel by dinghy to get there, was what seemed to be the only street in Fort Lauderdale with no parking restrictions. Our goods were stowed in the racy little VW beetle parked there, ready for our get-away after loading.

As luck would have it again, the dock where the HHL Lagos was berthed to pick up its load was very close to both our anchorage and the spot where we'd parked. It seemed the fates were smiling on us again.

There he is!

Using an app based on AIS technology we'd been eagerly watching the ship's approach to Port Everglades and watched it sail right up the inlet, just on the other side of the houses surrounding our anchorage.

We heard from Peters and May, our shipping company, that deck preparations would mean no loading until the next day, so more anxious waiting was in store.

Finally we got the call to come alongside the ship at 3 pm ready to load at 3.30 pm. We hauled up our anchor and high-tailed it around to Port Everglades. It didn't bode well when the vessel to be loaded before us was still alongside. Coming alongside the behemoth of a ship was daunting, particularly as there was nothing for us to grab onto. Eventually we managed to attract attention and lines were dropped for us, allowing us to pull up behind the other yacht.

Things seemed promising when the crew of the earlier yacht were instructed to climb up the rope ladder onto the ship and leave. We later learned from our lovely contact Claudia that this was because the delivery skipper was so drunk that his false teeth kept falling out and the crew of the ship didn't want him around. We were so glad we delivered our own yacht to the ship!

Time moved on and we were becoming exhausted fending Anju's spreaders off the side of the huge ship, to prevent damage to our rigging. Nobody had thought that very large fenders might be required to protect the yachts being loaded. The team of two divers, after a long wait in the water, decided it would be more pleasant to jump aboard our boat until she was loaded and help us fend off. This was a great help and eventually Claudia managed to scrape together a couple of huge fenders from somewhere, giving our arms a rest.

Three thirty became six thirty and the divers were back in the water to position the lifting straps. We'd removed the forestay as instructed but found that this had been unnecessary with such a huge crane. We were allowed to stay aboard until Anju was balanced correctly to lift and raised alongside up to the top of the ship's side. It was so much easier stepping from Anju's deck onto the ship's than climbing the very long rope ladder up to the ship's deck would have been!

Initial attempts at placing Anju on the deck left her at an alarming list, but with the aid of straps and blocks of wood, she was safely secured in the cradle and we were able to leave. It was a strange feeling leaving our precious boat in the care of others, almost like sending a child on their first school trip!

A long way up!

Getting ready to lift

Don't drop me!

Hello Big Boy!

Now that just doesn't look right.

Exhausted, dirty and hot we left Anju and got a lift back to our rental car. Our friends George and Julie had kindly offered to put us up at their waterfront Condo near Stuart, an hour and a half away. By the time we arrived we were so glad to see our friends, a warm shower and a comfortable bed.

We spent a lovely day with our friends, enjoying their company and recovering from the stress of the previous day. It was a pity we couldn't visit longer but we had to get back to Jacksonville to catch a flight back to the UK.

When we booked our flights we'd been worried that Anju might get to the UK before us, especially taking into account the fifteen day loading window which was quoted. In effect we'd had to pick a date out of the air and hope. Things had however worked out perfectly and by the time Anju had enjoyed her Caribbean Cruise to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, where a further thirty boats were being loaded onto HHL Lagos, we'd even had a little R & R time back home in the UK before heading to Southampton to meet her.

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