May 15

We made good progress yesterday in solving our transmission problem. We met with a fellow from SeaMech who seemed highly competent (mid-thirties, well spoken, Indian, Educated in Vancouver in fact) and spent an hour looking over the setup. We will definitely have to remove a few adjacent components like the water lift (muffler) and a supporting beam of aluminum which supports the water lift and sits over the tranny.

I spoke with Billy Ramos from Shannon also yesterday. My main reasons for calling was to see if he could identify the type of gearbox (gear ratio) so that I could investigate the purchase of a replacement (before we decided to let SeaMech do the rebuild) and also to ask his opinion about the difficulties involved in removing the gearbox from the back without pulling the engine.

On the second score he was upbeat and convinced it would not be a problem to remove (of course, the boat is very different after our 1999-2000 renovation and he could not really know what was involved, but I knew this before I asked and was still interested to hear his view). On the first score, identifying the transmission, he was positive it was a Hurth 2:1. I had believed all along it was a Borg-Warner based on what I had been told by the yard in Seattle where we did the above mentioned refit.

In fact, once I removed the corroded plaque from the transmission and Kate went to work with a wire brush and some metal polish we found it was indeed a Borg Warner with a 1.91:1 gear ratio. I contacted a local guy who says he has connections with Borg Warner dealers in NZ and Aus, so he is checking for me on availability and cost. Meanwhile, the SeaMech guys can't begin the job till next Tuesday (today is Wednesday, 15th) and we are desperate to get away from Suva Harbor for the interim. One great option is an island we visited last season called Yanutha in the Mbengga Lagoon (see personal logs from October, 2001). Its only 31 miles away which is only 6 hours at 5k (ie. light wind or motoring) and only 4 hours at 6.5k (ie. good wind).

The only problem is that it started raining last night at about 4am and it hasn't stopped yet and its almost 10am now. It doesn't look to me like it will be stopping anytime soon either. Yesterdays weather report showed a trough to the NW of Fiji moving SE, so we are in for at least a day of this, perhaps two. So, we will probably end up just staying here in Suva till Tuesday when we begin work on the transmission.

The Yacht Club has a small dock with room for twenty or thirty boats. Some stern-to spots for larger boats and room for one boat to lie side-to at the end of the dock. Right now another American boat ("Herrier") is tied up there having some engine work done (by another local guy who I spoke with also before choosing SeaMech). He claims to be almost done and Herrier should be gone by Thursday. I spoke with the manager and I have reserved the spot once Herrier leaves. This is key for us since without a transmission in the boat it will be impossible to run the engine to make electricity (damn that generator - I HATE IT) and this way we can use dock power to keep our batteries up and our freezer humming.

We stayed aboard today till about 2pm and then went to the movies and saw "Spider-Man". It was pretty good; Jonah was very excited and then about halfway through he got really scared and sat on mom's lap for a while. Then he started saying he wanted to leave. I sat him on my lap and talked to him in his ear about the movie, how it was pretend, and not to worry that the evil bad-guy (Green Goblin) will get his in the end and Spider-Man will kick his you know what. He was ok for the rest and at the end, sure enough, the bad guy beats Spidy to a pulp before he finally makes his (Rockyesque) come back. Afterwards Jonah chattered on and on about the movie and how much he loved it. Typical.