MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Navigating through Mobile Bay takes seafaring experience at its highest level. That's why three Mobile Bar Pilots with local waterway knowledge are guiding Carnival's Triumph to shore.
Captain John Hunt took members of the media aboard a separate Pilot boat, named the Alabama.
It took about an hour to reach the Triumph, and it seemed like minutes to drop off the three pilots.
Two boarded Carnival's Triumph and one boarded the initial lead tug, Resolve Pioneer.
It felt like a rescue mission as we approached the Carnival Triumph, and in a way it was.
The Triumph first appeared as a silhouette on the horizon and then up close it revealed hundreds of waving passengers.
For Captain Hunt it was a routine operation.
"It's calm, two to three foot seas, which is good. It's good weather for out here. Not a bad day to board at all," said Hunt.
The Alabama circled the Triumph to allow members of the media to get a good look at her.
The three pilots were dropped off and got right to work.
"Right now, they're getting all the tugs tied up, lashed up so they can start their way in to Mobile," said Hunt.
Hunt said the bar pilots are the experts at navigating the channel, they guide large ships safely to port.
"They tell the captain what to do, the recommendations for keeping his ship in the channel and getting it docked up safely and they're in charge of that," said Hunt.
Hunt said everything went as planned, so after an hour he piloted back to Dauphin Island.
But when the boat passed by the Lighthouse, it made an abrupt u-turn and sped back toward the Triumph.
As it turns out, the lead tug's line snapped and Captain Hunt needed to transfer the bar pilot to a different tug.
Once that was complete Hunt guided the Alabama back to Dauphin Island.
Carnival officials said the tug was replaced and Triumph was once again headed to Mobile, Thursday afternoon.
Triumph is scheduled to reach Mobile's Cruise Terminal Thursday night.
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