August 14

I was beginning to feel a little better today, then the genset stopped working. It didn't stop running though, just stopped making electricity, which is almost as bad. The end of its productivity was accompanied with a loud popping noise which I immediately realized meant that the drive belt had snapped. Sure enough, after unpacking the port side cockpit locker to gain access to the genset we found that indeed the belt had broken. The belt is drives the generator end which is really just a big AC alternator. Of course, we don't have a spare belt for this. Don't ask why, we have spares for almost everything else on the boat.

This means we are back to running the main engine for power generation which sucks big time as the noise is incredible. We have been spoiled by a working generator. A mechanic in town has ordered us a new belt (2 in fact, one as a spare) which has to come from New Zealand. The type and size is somewhat unusual so of course there are none like it here in Port Vila. This of course means we must stay here even longer to await its arrival. It could be worse, it could have broken while we were someplace even more remote. The guy claims he will have it by Monday, today being Thursday in this part of the world. We are optimistic.

Otherwise all is well. Jonah is having big fun playing with Shane from "Kekamalu" and Kate has quit whining about wanting to leave. I finally convinced her I was simply not well enough to sail the boat. Perhaps the incessant coughing helped convince her - she's been sleeping in the salon lately because my coughing is so disruptive (it seems to get worse the minute I lay down to go to sleep). I am improving though.

This afternoon we went around to Immigration and Customs to get our paperwork done. This was before we realized we were waiting till Monday to leave. Doesn't matter though, we can go or stay as we please now (we needed our visas extended and an 'inter-island' sailing permit). We also got our duty free papers which allowed us to shop at the (many) duty free shops in Vila. We bought 8 bottles of Mount Gay Rum (at app. US$10/bottle, fifths not liters) a few bottles of red wine and one Bailey's for Kate (she loves the stuff). Total bill was about US$100. That should last us for many, many months (the Rum at least).