Michael has been country hopping and has returned from New Zealand with a new transmission in hand on Wednesday afternoon. He got a great lesson from Moon Engines in Auckland on the installation of the transmission and things to check and made it back to the airport. He sweet talked the airline into letting him carry it on as "carry-on" luggage. All flights were on time and upon arrival in Fiji he had to spend a long time in customs. They wanted a big duty to be paid and Michael kept showing them all the boat papers saying we are a boat in transit and had what Fiji needs, a rotation number. Finally, after a long time, they let him go without the $800 duty!
He gets back to Vuda Marine where the election results are coming in from the States. People are in shock. Most Americans and all the Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Brits, Germans and Fijians can't believe what is going on and are fearful for the world. We are offered flags from many countries. It is always interesting and eye-opening to get a world view of what happens in the USA.
Back to the transmission...the next morning (Thursday), Michael dives into the engine room and removes the old transmission. He then installs the new one. All goes quite smoothly. New transmission fluid is put in and we test start the motor. So far so good. All seems smooth. While in the slip, we put it into forward – it works. Then reverse – it works. It was a full days work – we go up to Happy Hour in the bar and celebrate.
On Friday, we go for a test run leaving the safety of the slip. The help here in Vuda Marina is terrific and Toba guides us out in the fiberglass launch and stays nearby in case anything goes wrong. It is a very narrow cut in the reef to get into and out of the marina. All good so far. We run for 45 minutes to get it good and warmed up with Michael checking it every five minutes. All good. We then put it into neutral, reverse, neutral, forward a few times while out in the sea away from anything. Because of the slightly different gear ration, we notice that it takes a bit longer to react...so planning ahead will be more critical. We also think we have lost about two or three tenths of a knot of speed with the same tachometer reading. But the good news is we have a working engine again.
It cost us a bit more for replacing the transmission – but we have it done and can take the next weather window for New Zealand. If we waited for it to be shipped here – it would cost us the time in the marina, probably a harder Fiji "duty" fight, and the possibility of it lost in transit. Now it's done and Michael did a terrific job.
It looks like next week may have a possible leave time – perhaps as early as Tuesday. A few more days to look at weather and we'll make the call. Hope NZ lets us in!
At 11/2/2016 5:08 AM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 17°40.86'S 177°23.21'E
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