At last we have a sailing date! We’re due to leave on 4 February 2014. We’ve been waiting like cats on hot bricks for Grimaldi shipping company to release the schedule. This will be the first sailing of the year although we were hoping to depart in early January; at least it gives us more time to save. For those of you who don’t know, we’ll be shipping our bikes to South America by a freighter ship. We will also be travelling with the bikes, ‘ride on, roll off’ style. We’re talking up to 300 metres long weighing in at 170,000 tons. And we’ll be two of just twelve passengers on board. Our container ship will sail from Antwerp in Belgium stopping at Dakar in Senegal, Santos in Brazil, Zarate in Argentina and finishing in Montevideo (Uruguay). The crossing should take about 25 days if there are no unscheduled delays.
Some people think we’re mad to spend all that time on a cargo ship. We won’t be swabbing the decks or ‘working our passage’ – ooh err missus. What an amazing ‘first’ to kickstart the trip, it’s got to be an experience. For our hard earned dollar, we get a cabin with en-suite, three meals a day in the guest dining area and all the sun bathing, whale watching, book reading and movie watching our hearts desire. Opportune time to learn a bit of Spanish too. I like to think of it as a ‘Poor man’s cruise’, with time to get off when the ship is in port loading and off-loading. I don’t particularly like flying either and if we did fly, there’s no risk of us having to hang around for our bikes should they get delayed on a boat. On even more of the plus side, there’s less paperwork hassle when we arrive in South America, plus no need for a ‘fixer’ because we will ride the bikes straight to Customs and Immigration. It’s like any land border crossing – effectively a long distance ferry crossing under our belts and we’re good to ride.