A New Engine
15 August 2009
On arriving in the small port of Luderitz, we had a local diesel mechanic, named "Duppie", come down to the boat to look at our port engine. The verdict was: "It's buggered" - basically the same verdict as mine, except I used different words to define my verdict.
Then the satellite phone started ringing with the message that a new engine was on it's way from Cape Town in a pick-up driven by Graham Kirk and accompanied by a Robertson & Caine mechanic. Now, let me explain to those folk who do not know - Luderitz is in a country called Namibia, which is just north of South Africa and prides itself as being independent. Luderitz is also a solid two day drive from Cape Town. When Graham arrived at the border post, he had all the necessary documentation to import the new engine into Namibia but unfortunately the mechanic was a Ghanaian citizen and, unknown to all, needed a visa to enter Namibia. He did not have one and was denied entry. Graham had to turn around and take the poor fellow back to the South African side of the border, find a holiday camp and he is now having an all paid-for safari on the Orange River.
Next thing the satellite phone is ringing again and I was informed that a new mechanic with the necessary travel documents was flying up on Thursday morning and work would start immediately with the engine replacement. Well, you all know when things go wrong, go wrong, go wrong. Eric, the new mechanic, arrived and was only given a 24 hour visa and refused permission to be able to do any work. So, all he could do was stand on the quay whilst Duppie, the local mechanic, and his assistants were busy dismantling the broken engine. Whilst this is happening, Graham was running around trying to get the customs inspector so that they can open the new engines box - it could not be opened without a customs inspector present.
Eventually it was out with the old and in with the new, sea trials and we are ready to go again. Neels is heading back to Cape Town with Graham Kirk whilst we wait for the wind to change from north west.
It is now Saturday morning and we have been up before the sun was, preparing to depart. We all went to the emigration office and were stamped out after paying N$80 for the service - we cleared with the port authorities and customs yesterday afternoon.
What caused our engine to fail is unknown but our thanks to the Robertson & Caine factory and staff who made the engine swap as fast as possible. So, as we head northwest, regards from the three of us - Andries, Hardy and myself, John.