Well I should be telling you tales of our visit to the city of Cognac, France and the tasting at the Hennessey Coeur du Cognac. However, that seems rather insignificant considering the adventure we are experiencing at the moment.
Yesterday when we anchored at Belle Ille the ship suffered a major structural problem. While opening the marina door at the rear of the ship to get the tender’s out, it was discovered that one of the door’s hinges and bolts were missing. This compromised the other hinge and damaged the hydraulic system to move the door up and down. This probably doesn’t sound like a major problem to those of you who do not know the ship, but this door needs to be closed and secured so that water will not enter the ship. Because the door is in an awkard position and cannot be moved, the crew spent the entire day roping the door so that it would at least remain attached to the ship. This has presented a major problem for the cruise line. The Captain had to find a port that was close by and who had equipment to repair the ship. As of this morning we know the following: the 20 ft waves of yesterday have calmed down and are in the right direction for us to sail at a very slow speed to the port where the Queen Mary 2 was built (about 45 nautical miles away- Saint -Nazaire). We should pick up the pilot around 5:30pm and be docked by 7 pm - we need to be there at the exact time as it all depends on the tides whether we can get in or not. Sometime tomorrow huge cranes will lift the ship at an angle that they can either replace the hinge and bolt (providing they have the right parts) or they will cut the door off and weld on new material that will seal off the marina until it can get to dry dock. The hinge and bolt are huge and heavy and we doubt that the shipyard will have spares on hand. These parts are supposedly built for the life of the ship. We are so lucky to have Capt. Nilsen as our commander. He is the best and will not jeopardize our safety or lives at all. One question remaining is whether they will allow us to stay onboard while repairs are being made or will they have to evacuate the ship and find other accommodations for us. What a headache those in charge must be having.
So, we missed the port of Belle Ille and will miss St. Malo and Guernsey for sure. It is still up in the air whether we will miss Rouen. We have to be in London by Saturday May 26. Speculation is running rampant that we will get a major reimbursement for this 2 weeks as we also missed 2 other ports on the way due to weather - or will they disembark all of us and fly us home and take the ship directly to dry dock.
Stay tuned - it is always an exciting adventure for us!!!!!!!!!!!!!