How did the pilots get on and off my cruise ship?

Just got back from a Caribbean cruise. In most of the ports a local pilot came aboard to guide the ship in/out of the channel or whatever. But if the ship was leaving, how did he get back to the dock? When passengers got off onto shuttle boats, the ship was anchored. But the pilot would have to leave a moving ship (not fast, maybe a few knots). If the pilot left the ship to go to a small boat, how did he get from the ship to the boat? Did he leap onto the boat like those guys in the adventure movies jumping from the train to their horse? Was the boat rafted up against the ship and being towed alongside?

I think they use a ladder, like this (youtube clip of a pilot tranferring to a pilot boat).

That is a good clip. The piolet boat crossed into the wake of the ship. It begins to steer cnot the hip at a slight angle as it touches the ship it will then turn into the ship and press its bow into the ship hard. then the pilot goes out a hatch and down a ladder onto the pilot boat. It is repeated seveal times each day so the operator of the boat learns the skill to do it safely.

I believe most of the time it is done on a slow or dead slow bell.

Yes, it is difficult and even dangerous, but these people are expert. It is the same everywhere in the World and for every ship type.

I’ve done it quite a number of times. The ship turns onto a heading to provide a lee on the side from which you are boarding but there is still a lot of movement and it does feel a bit hairy. I’ve never done it under difficult conditions. A pilot died in the Torres Strait by falling o/b during the transfer a year or two back.