Getting Parts in the Galapagos
04 June 2008 | Isabela
We had a lazy day on the boat today. I spent much of the day under the boat removing the hub of the missing prop. The hub was still very securely bolted on and hard to remove with SCUBA. The breaker bar gave me plenty of purchase but I had no way to hold the hub still, or myself, while cranking. Eventually persistence prevailed and I got all of the pieces off and into the cockpit.
We spent many BGAN dollars making satellite calls to the Saint Francis factory in South Africa and Bruntons, the prop manufacturers, in England. I must admit that while I am fairly unhappy that the prop has gone missing, Duncan at Saint Francis and Adrian at Bruntons both were fantastic and we had a new prop in the air within 24 hours. No idea what caused the issue at this point but speculations are that something fouled the prop and forced the prop loose from the adapter hub. I have much interest in discovering how the adapter hub is attached to the prop (I though it was one secure piece previously).
Crazy plans began to develop as we considered how to get our new prop. After all we were in a two boat anchorage in Isabela, Galapagos, Ecuador. Ecuador is bad enough, the Galapagos adds insult to injury, and to try to ship to Isabela, well... Isabela does have an airstrip. That said it is host to no more than prop planes that fly to the Santa Cruz airport on irregular schedule with few exceptions.
Just as I was pondering the all of this I received an email from Margaret, a sailing buddy of ours who joined us in Cartagena for the San Blas cruise. She was writing to say that she wanted to try to join us for the Isabela to Marquisas hop! She said she would happily bring us our prop if she could arrange flights. I couldn't believe it.
In the end it didn't work out because flights out of the Marquisas were a hard to organize from Stateside. We were sad Margaret would not be joining us. We also decided that it was too risky to try to ship the prop to Isabela, particularly given the customs procedures in this country.
Our boat it tricky to handle under power at low speeds with only one prop (on the outboard end of an 8 meter wide platform). It certainly isn't disabled however. The trip to the Marquisas is all sailing and should we need to motor we only ever run one engine anyway. Getting in and out of anchorages certainly requires a bit more care but all within reason. I suppose we're just spoiled being used to the ability to spin in a circle within our own length.
After further considering our options we decided to sail for the Marquisas and impose upon our good friends Pablo and Louise. Pabs and Lou are coming to visit us in French Polynesia. They fly into Tahiti in July and we will then shuttle them up to Hiva Oa or there abouts. They kindly agreed to bring our big hunk of brass and the rest of our mail.
Having wrapped up our high priority business we fired up the genset and relaxed with a good movie and Hideko's wonderful cooking. Meanwhile the boat prepared itself for the crossing; the washer/dryer washed cloths, the water maker filled tanks (under careful supervision), the cold box cooled drinks, the air conditioning allowed us to close up and keep the bugs out (there are some annoying little bugs here at night in Isabela but none that bite have found us), the batteries charged and various other systems hummed away.