We were only observers in this operation. The Potomac, another of the Maryland pilot boats, followed us in and would receive the departing pilot. The pilot run between Norfolk, Virginia, and Baltimore, Maryland, is the longest in U.S. waters, and ours had been aboard since the ship left Baltimore, roughly eight hours earlier. Our sister pilot boat maneuvered through the turbulence near the ship's waterline and snuggled up against her hull. A short while later, the pilot appeared on the deck of the ship, near the rope ladder he'd descend, and sent his kit on a line to the deckhand aboard the pilot boat. After the deckhand stabilized the ladder, the pilot descended.