The waiting game

Its almost 2 hours since Susanne talked to the Port escort , which is needed to enter the port of Galveston to drop off Esmeralda. Its the last day to drop off, 5 days before the ship will sail , and the shipping lines Wallenius Wilhelmsen office is about to close until later afternoon. My imagination is running wild , with the possibility of not making the boat to South america, which we had started preparing for, many month ago. I try the other escort again, but now both available escorts have stopped answering our calls . In my desperation, i drive again to the Port gatehouse to ask for “other options ?” There are none …. you cannot enter the Port without an escort.

Galveston ,Texas could be the Côte d’Azur of the US . Sitting on a barrier Island with fine , white sandy beaches in all direction on the Gulf of Mexico, the weekend crowds from Houston are filling the beaches. But as I get out of the car and get hit by the moist, hot air , all I want is some cooling off. The promising jump into the waves disappoints. With water temperatures of 87 degrees in the ocean, there is no relieve.

Then Susannes phone rings again …. they must have listened to our desperate messages and had found someone to help us. We meet a one armed, older man at the Port entry and follow his truck to the Pier , where our shipping lines office is .

In 5 minutes we got our paper stamped and asked to park and leave the keys in the truck .We pull the tarp over the camper to make it less inviting to break in and say good by to Esmeralda ….. we hope the truck will get picked up in 5 days on August 10th and we see her again on August 21 in Cartagena,Colombia.

Now we have to wait for the “Torrent vehicle carrier” , the name of the WWL vessel, to arrive in Galveston and load our truck .On our shippers advice to stick around until the Truck has left the port, we had booked an Airbnb in Houston and planning our 7 waiting days like real city dwellers .

Here is a small collection of our city adventures – Museums , Malls , Parks, Theater, Beach, Breweries

PS: today is Sunday August 11th and i had been tracking the vessel as it entered the Port of Galveston late Saturday evening .

And we wake up with the update on our vehicle tracker : Vehicle loaded on vessel!

Bridging the Gap

The planning for the continuation of our trip to South america, has started in earnest. We are planning to take off in August. While there is the Panamericana , 19000 miles of roads  from Alsaka to Patagonia,  there is no way to drive the whole way. The  rainforest break between Panama and Columbia of approximately  100 miles, is called the Darién Gap, which forces us overlanders  to put our rigs onto a ship.

The complexity of the international shipping world , becomes obvious when trying to get quotes from different freight lines. The options include

  • driving to Panama and shipping to Columbia ( the shortest route )
  • driving to Mexico and shipping to Columbia
  • driving to Texas and shipping to Columbia or Argentina
  • westcoast shipping, from LA to Ecuador, Peru  or Chile  (the most expensive )

It seems like the overlanders are the lowest priority for the shipping companies , but if there is space between commercial container shipments and household moves to other countries they take them on , either as Roro (roll on roll off ) or in a container . While researching the options the following news came in …. one of the ships used by overlanders from Europe just sank .

Now we definitly start considering full insurance of our new Rig !