Arrival in Monrovia

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We did indeed arrive in Monrovia without a hitch. During the sail, the seas were calm and the sun was bright. Everyone was taking it all in outside.

We had a service one night on the bow as we sailed.

I got to go up to the bridge of the ship as we were sailing, and see how the do it. I’ve been up there before when we were at port, but this was a special treat to see how the machines actually work.

I even got to steer for a few minutes, after they showed by how they set courses, etc. You keep turning the wheel to keep it on the numerical course they’ve set.
We were zooming along at the grand pace of 12 knots, which is about 15 miles per hour. That’s why it took us three days to get to Liberia.

This gadget is called an Engine Order Telegraph. The deck doesn’t actually have control over engine speed, so they have to tell the engineers in the engine room how fast to go. There is an identical one down there that is turned by the lever on this one to show speed on its dial. Remember Star Trek, the captain was always telling engineering, ‘full power’? Well its the same here. The engineers keep the engines running during the whole trip. We were at ‘full power’ the whole trip at a zippy 12 knots.

We even saw dolphins during the 3 day journey. They are such joyous creatures, they were jumping up out of the water as we passed. Only once, however, did they actually ‘ride the bow’ of the ship. I wasn’t there, but here is a great shot a crew members took as they did so.

When we got to Monrovia, we came into the port. A very small one, and were met by the port’s one tug boat, a rusty tug with a bent antenna.
Here the rusty tug approaches –>

The port pilot got on off of it. Normally there is a special smaller pilot boat that does this, but Monrovia only has one tug, that’s it. Here’s a shot of him coming onboard while we are still moving into the harbor, to steer the ship into the port. They enter on a lower door on our ship, at left. You can just see people sticking out of it.

We entered into the Harbor passing Mamba point in background.

We definitely need our pilot on this approach because there are over 30 wrecks in Monrovia harbor, they are all underwater, so of course, you cannot see them. There are three alone on the other side of our dock area, seen below. We had to be navigated into our dock very carefully, and not directly, in order to by pass them.

This is a big deal for Liberia for us coming. They feel like they have not been forgotten when they see us returning after having left eight months ago. Unlike, Ghana, everyone here knows us, knows Mercy Ships and people on the street say, ‘welcome back’. They see hope when they see that we have returned.

When we arrived, there was a whole crowd waiting for us. The ladies on the left photo in the russet colored dresses were our advance team, who came to Liberia six weeks ago to plan our arrival.

The Vice President of Liberia came to wish us well. Here is his motorcade arriving, at left —>.

Here he is, in the gray suit, next to our executive director, Solfrid Quist, in the green dress outfit.

Our first sighting of a UN Police vehicle on the dock before the VP arrived. There are tons of UN and NGO vehicles here. There are 15,000 UN troops here in Liberia keeping the peace, which seems to be succeeding. But, I’ll cover that later.

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