Life on the Hard
04 August 2016 | Vava'u Boatyard, Neiafu, Tonga
Several weeks ago, while were in Bora Bora, the propellor hub on our starboard engine failed. Whether we were in forward or reverse, we had no thrust from that engine. Other than making low speed maneuvering more challenging, it wasn’t a big problem since we still had the port engine. We were relieved to figure out that it was the prop hub and not the transmission.
We were anxious to get this fixed so we had Gartside Marine Engines ship a new propellor hub to us here in Tonga.
When we arrived, the new hub was already here, but getting it from customs still provided quite the challenge! The agent that I was working with was great, but she had an amazing bureaucracy of paperwork and authorizations to negotiate on my behalf. The goal, of course, is to import the part for a “yacht in transit” so that the import duties can be avoided, saving about $700 Pa’anga (CAN$ 500.) Even once all the clearances were in place, I still had to visit several more people at the customs office and sign a bunch more receipts. They do love their paperwork here! Once everything was done, I was very excited to have my new part in my hand.
John & Deb from Moonshadow came over to the boatyard with us to help us get Speakeasy on the trailer for the haul out. The Vava’u Boatyard is new, only a year old, and their equipment is just as shiny and new. They use special hydraulic trailer to pick up catamarans from underneath the bridge deck. It was a piece of cake, for us at least! We just motored over the sunken trailer and they did the rest.
Soon, we were parked in a lovely, flat, clean, grassy boatyard where we could do our own work while living on the boat. Other perks included very clean bathrooms and a shower with unlimited on-demand hot water. For most cruisers, their life on the hard here would be more luxurious than living on board.
Joe and Allan, the owners, have done a great job creating a boatyard that is well situated between French Polynesia and Fiji. One was definitely needed here in this great cruising area. With the steep cliffs around, I expect that it is well protected from tropical storms as well.
The new prop hub installed easily, and we had enough time to give the hull a good wax. I do realize that I won’t be able to move my arms tomorrow! It’s been just about 24 hours and we will be going back into the water later today. Hopefully, once we are floating, both engines work the way that they are supposed to! Keep your fingers crossed for us!