August 19

Today is Tuesday and our last day in Port Vila, yippeee! The new drive belt for the generator finally came in today, though not till about 2:30pm. The damn thing has been at the airport since Saturday I am told but Customs would not release them. The belt was part of a consignment ordered by a local company who we asked to get us the new belt (plus a spare). There were several items in the package and, I was told, customs was holding it back pending an inspection and this caused the delay since they were backlogged.

Turned out I made a big mistake and should have just ordered them direct myself. The cost came out to about US$120 each! Yes, $120 for a damn belt. Its more then a typical fan belt for a car, but still, the cost in the US would probably be no more then $30. The guy claims he added ONLY 25% to his cost. $20 of this was tax, though I think we are exempt from tax seeing how it is repair parts and we are a "yacht in transit". But I blew the negotiations when I started claiming I was being robbed and he got all pissed off. Anyway, that's life.

The important thing is the generator is back in business after about 3 hours of hard labor. Two of which was spent just unpacking and repacking the cockpit lockers. We had to unpack both port and starboard lockers to install the belt. Ugh. By the time we were done I was exhausted. To top it off I also had to fix on of our hatches, which I broke myself today. We went to the fuel dock to fill up (US$290, KA-CHING as my good friend on "Lionheart" loves to say) and paid our mooring bill for the last 3+ weeks (KA-CHING). That plus the cost of the belts made it a very expensive day in paradise.

Anyway, I digress... I was stowing the fenders after coming back from the fuel dock and I tossed one to the other side of the boat but it landed right on an open hatch ripping the hinges right out of the wood. Its sitting in the salon right now with clamps on and glue drying. Then I have to re-drill and re-install the hinges. So, we won't leave till tomorrow afternoon. We have about 95 miles to reach the island of Epi so we will leave around 5pm and go real, real slow. At 5 knots it should take us about 19 hours putting us at the anchorage at about noon. We are very excited to get going again.