Land ahoy matey! 6,906 nautical miles sailed and we finally arrived at large to Uruguay’s capital Montevideo. Despite both of our bikes being subjected to a little petty theft whilst in Paranagua and Zarate from external dock staff, primarily coming onto the boat to discharge cargo, we were still brimming with that just-rolled-off-the-ferry feeling.
What’s it like to travel on a cargo ship? Well, pretty groovy really. While I was on the ship, I had the time to do some filming so I put together a little movie to give a flavour of life on board. Please excuse the quality of the video which I had to unfortunately reduce to upload it to You Tube. We hope you enjoy it.
Eight days in, we dropped anchor to spend the afternoon in Dakar. The crew instructed us to be back by 20:00 sharp having released us at 15:00. Past our curfew and the ship would set sail, no questions asked, or search party mounted by the sounds of it. A local, John, who looked streetwise was on standby and acted as a guide for us. For a good price, of course – T.I.A. – This is Africa. Nevertheless, he had something we needed: local knowledge. We saw very little of Dakar; shame the small bit of the capital we encountered was ramshackled and dirty, frenzied and on the same path as a pickpocket. I guess we were never going to see the best of Senegal so close to its shipping port. Nothing was stolen as we left our valuables behind although Ludwig nearly got his camera snatched.
In our case, stream translates to the Atlantic ocean and by boat, we’re talking about a 200+ metre long, 30 metre wide freighter weighing in at just shy of 45,000 tons, with all her cargo. Her engine reached around 25,000 bhp compared to say Pearl, my bike, which has 48 bhp. Meet our magnificent vessel – the Grande Amburgo!
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.