B took M on a ship with him yesterday! It's something she's always wanted to do, but he wanted to be sure that she was mature enough to handle it. Plus it had to be the "right" ship - at a reasonable time, in decent condition, and a situation where he could get her home afterwards.
They left from the Virginia Beach office, so they stayed overnight. All of the pilot offices have sleeping rooms, like hotel rooms. M said she didn't sleep well; she was nervous about being in the room by herself and getting up in the morning. They got called about 4:30 am.
B said she did really great. She's done a "practice climb" on a ladder once before when we took a ride on the pilot launch. She climbed a few rungs on the ladder, but didn't actually get on the ship. That was the part that made me so very nervous about all of this. If you've ever been on a cruise, you may have seen how a pilot boards/deboards a ship. Well, cargo ships are generally much taller off the water, with much longer ladders. This ship -- the "Marvelous Ace" -- wasn't too bad. They said it was about 20 steps on the ladder. But keep in mind that both the pilot launch boat and the ship are MOVING ... in the open water. I was nervous about it. B does it so much that I really don't give much thought to the actual danger of it all, but thinking about M up there, dangling off the side of a ship -- eek! (If you want more information about how pilots board ships, there are a couple of videos at YouTube that give you a good idea. Like this one and this one.)
M had fun, but she was a little bit bored. They got on the ship about 5:45 am and got to Baltimore about 2:30. Then they had to drive back to Va. Beach. On a summer Friday. Through the tunnel. Let's just say it took a while. What should be a four hour trip took more like five.
Here are some pics of M on the bridge wing of the ship. That's the Bay Bridge in Annapolis in the distance.
B sent me some more pictures this afternoon. Here is M coming down the ladder when they got off the ship in Baltimore.
Here she is on the launch after getting off the ship.
There's the ship that they piloted - the "Marvelous Ace." It's a ro-ro ship, that's why it is so boxy. (Ro-ro=roll on, roll off. They carry vehicles. This one was full of Subarus. I think they said 1,500 Subarus.)