Installing a new auto pilot pump
21 April 2021 | 09 22.025'N:79 56.642'W, Shelter Bay Marina, Cristobel, Panama
09 22. 025 N
79 56.642 W
Weather; hot and humid, wind n/a, waves n/a
MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF THE DAY BARBARA, HOPE IT'S A GOOD ONE.
Up early and Gerry was straining at the bit to go to the office and find out what was happening with the delivery of our auto pilot pump - I'm sure it gave him a restless night and he was banging on the office door as soon as they were open. I have no idea what transpired but he came back to the boat a bit happier and apparently the pump would probably be with us today.
I had a hateful job ahead of me for the day, it sounds simple when I say it but don't be fooled, I was going to have to transfer funds from our Australian bank to our agent's account to cover the cost of the transit through the Panama Canal. This was a job that Gerry had passed over to me as he is doesn't do international transfers himself (I have done a few) and I had warned him that it was going to be a headache and a half and we would probably end up having to phone the bank in Australia to get it done, yes I was crystal ball gazing at the time! I started off by going to internet banking as I had done international transfers before in this manner, I didn't get very far as the list of countries that you can transfer to didn't include Panama. Our Agent has obviously had this issue before and had included a choice of 2 interim banks to send money to and then it would be directed onwards to his bank in Panama. I'm not sure how this works as the interim account is in the USA and there is nowhere on our banking end to include a forwarding account outside of the USA and I wasn't prepared to part with the US3619.00 without the reassurance of it ending up in the agent's account and us having a receipt for the Transit. Guess what happened next - we phoned the bank in Australia on an overseas call number and waited on hold for 40 mins to get some help. The man that answered the call was very pleasant and as helpful as he could be, BUT he wasn't able to help us as we needed to speak with an international assistant who would be able to manually transfer the money and they were only at work during regular business hours from Monday to Friday, you have to remember that we are on a different planet, whoops I mean time to Australia so we now need to call back again during Australian EST business hours!. I hate being right all the time and I am so looking forward to the repeat call later on tonight.
We did have the option of paying the account by credit card but this attracts a fee at 1.5% - and I would rather have that in my pocket than the agent's so that is never going to happen. In case you are interested the breakdown of the Canal Transit cost is as follows
Transit toll $1600.00
TVI Inspection charge $ 54.00
Security charge $ 130.00
Agent fee Including, lines and fenders $ 350.00
Guarantee (refundable deposit after transit) $ 900.00
3 line handlers $ 360.00
Cruising permit $ 185.00
Agent's Bank charge $ 40.00
Total cost to transit through Panama Canal $3619.00
It's not cheap but it's better than the alternative!
After the stress of the bank phone call we settled in to doing not a lot and sure enough there was a knock on the side of the boat and a delivery person standing there with our package in hand. Gerry had to pay the duty directly to him the grand amount of US $148 on a $1100 pump including freight and in return received a Matryoshka box. The excitement was palpable! So opening the first box and discovering the next one was a job only Gerry could undertake, eventually unmasking the brand new pump - crunch time! It wasn't exactly the same as the old pump - why would it be, at least a decade has passed since that one was installed and things have moved on in that time, at least it did bear a resemblance to the old pump. A side by side comparison was done - see the photo in the gallery, it was with baited breath he tried the connections and thank goodness they were all the same size as the old pump. It was time to install the new pump. I followed Gerry out into the cockpit as I was certain I would need to be on hand to pass stuff to him and or fetch things from other places. To cut the boring installation story in half he did boat yoga and squashed himself into the lazarette where the auto pilot is housed and proceeded to fit the new pump in place with just one small hiccough - the plate to hold it in place had holes which were too small for the bolts that he had so he had to drill out the holes a little to make them fit. With the pump in place it was time to top it up with new oil, pressurize it to get the oil into the pump and to remove the air from the system, cross our fingers and give it a try. Yes, I let him get out of the lazarette but not before I took a couple of incriminating photos - as you can see in the gallery it is a very tight squeeze! The instruments went on and he began trying to get the auto pilot to turn in each direction to recalibrate it. There were a couple of hiccoughs or teething troubles but it seems to have settled as far as we can tell whilst we are stationary in the slip. Whilst all the lights are doing what they are supposed to do on the panels and the auto pilot seems to move the rudder to each side when we input a 10 degree course change it is a bit difficult to say for certain that it is a done deal until we can do a sea trial. Gerry is second guessing himself and has even resorted to checking the online manual to make sure that he has done everything possible to make sure it is going to work properly, only time and a sea trial will tell. For the moment everything is packed away and we are crossing our fingers that it is all going to be OK.
It's Pizza night at the marina tonight so we are going to indulge and I need to get moving and put some halfway decent clothes on - a sarong just doesn't cut it!
Will be back again soon with more exciting happenings or more of nothing!