En route from Antigua to Barbuda, we shifted course to avoid the Costa Magica cruise ship heading into St. John’s, Antigua. Annoying, but it gave us a good view of the pilot-boarding process. Out from the harbor comes the pilot boat, heading toward the cruise ship. Upon reaching the ship, it turns 180 degrees so the two vessels are travelling side by side, the pilot boat now matching the ship’s speed. Amidships on Costa Magica is an open door, which the pilot boat maneuvers under. Then…the pilot steps from the pilot boat to the ship. We were too far to see the actual transfer, but the pilot boat hung under the open door for a bit, then swung off to starboard, gunned the engines, and headed back to town. The cruise ship, door now closed, followed at a slightly more leisurely pace, which is to say, still too freaking fast for me to want to be anywhere close to it, much less close enough to step onto a boarding ladder or platform. Those pilots earn their money.
|Pilot boat is the little black thing near the bow of the ship|
|Pilot boat is now directly beneath the open door, depositing the pilot aboard the ship|