Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We have liftoff........

This excursion into African lapidary materials has been an exercise in utter frustration. The containers were scheduled to ship late August, and they were actually on board the ship, the Maersk Jambi.

Then South African Customs got a bee in their bonnet about something--no one knows what--and out of all the orders on the Jambi pulled my little shipment of rocks off. They took two samples, kept the shipment a week, and then released it with an apology but no explanation.

Of course, by then the Jambi had sailed. So the exporter went in search of another vessel. They booked the shipment on the SAF Marine Oranje, due to leave Cape Town September 11. didn't. Bad weather kept it in port until September 17, when it finally left Cape Town, headed for New York.

Geemineez. New York. That means it still has to come overland from New York to Tampa.

Finally yesterday I got a copy of the waybill, with the container number and the actual shipment number and now I can track the shipment.'s not that easy. It may be on an SAF Marine vessel, but it's a Mediterranean Shipping Company shipment. And since it's a LCL--Less than Container Load--I can't track it on their website. No, I have to call the company's Atlanta office and find out where the ship actually is.

As of today, my little load of rocks is scheduled to arrive in New York on October 3. Vanguard will pick it up on Monday the 5th and load it on an 18-wheeler that should leave New York on the 8th.

That will put it in Tampa between the 15th and the 17th. Barely time to get it sorted and into crates before I have to set up for the Tampa Gem & Mineral Show on the 23rd. Certainly not enough time to get many slabs cut.

Fortunately I found some great western material for terrific price that I'm cutting right now. Lizardstone, amethyst lace agate, wonderstone, Bagdad agate, and Disaster Peak picture jasper. That, along with what I already had, will make nice tables.

Now if we just don't have any more delays.........