Posted by: catamarantwooceans | September 7, 2011

Back in Vanuatu

3.9.11 – Saturday – I flew to Vanuatu after visiting my daughter’s family in California. My route was San Francisco – L.A – Nadi,Fiji and then on an ATR 72 to Port Vila. The immigration officer asked for my outbound airline ticket and when I explained that I am leaving by yacht he informed me that I had to pay 5000 Vatu, a little over 60$ U.S. When I asked for a recipt he told me to come to the immigration office in town later in the week to get it… After my long, tiring flight I was happy to find “Two Oceans” in good condition and immediately started preparing her for the coming voyage. I called Volkmar and learnt that he is coming to Port Vila the next day. On an impulse I invited him to spend Monday night on the boat and then crashed into bed.

4.9.11 – Sunday – My crew will be coming on Tuesday and there were a few things I wanted to do before their arrival.Number one job was replacing the windlass’s control box which gave us trouble on the last trip. I dismantled the old unit, put in the new one and pressed the switch – a click sounded but the windlass did not move! O.K, Volkmar, the electrical engineer will be here tomorrow and will surely be able to fix it.

5.9.11 – Monday – Volkmar arrived with his considerable baggage which we put in the boat and went for dinner at the nearby Brewery restaurant. Volkmar had Falafel which looked anything but the real thing.

6.9.11 – Tuesday – In the morning we started working on the windlass, Volkmar brandishing the electrical Multimeter like a magic wand but alas! He could not fix it!

Ing. Volkmar at work

The suspect was the electrical motor so we took the windlass out in order to dismantle and check it. Removing the motor’s cover we were shocked to see its interior full of salt!

Salty motor

A decision was taken to find a professional electrician and let him do the work.

Before I could search for one I had to rush to the airport to greet my crew. As I tied the dinghy to the dock, Volkmar, with the eagerness to disembark quickly, found himself holding onto the deck with both hands, feet still planted on the dinghy, which was slowly backing away.The inevitable result was a “Man overboard” with two cellular phones in his pocket, sucking saltwater. This could seem comical to somebody watching from aside but poor Volkmar was understandably quite pissed off. With some other bystanders I pulled him ashore, made sure he was O.K and took a bus to the airport.

Coming to sail with me were Zvi Shaffer, who sailed on “Two Oceans” from Costa Rica to the Marquesas two years ago and Israel Perlov, at 65 the younger man on board.



As they were settling in the new environment I went over to the marina office and asked Lemara, who is the one in charge there, whether she could direct me to an electrician. “Yes, No problem” said she and hollered:”Charley!”. A young man who was busy sweeping the grass came forward. Lemara said he was electrician “Numbawan” and I decided to let him try and fix the windlass’s motor. “When will it be ready?” “Oh, probably on Friday” What? We want to leave ASAP! I promised him a bonus if he finishes the work the next day, he took the windlass and went away.

7.9.11 – Wednesday – Close to 8 am we motored to the fuel dock to refuel. Moses, on of the marina employees, told us that Charley fixed the motor. We tied to the dock and Charley came aboard with the windlass. Let me cut this short; It took another three hours of trials and errors, but finally he found some broken electrical connection and we were operational once again! Quick dash to customs and a rush to immigrations with the hope of departing early next morning came to naught when I found the immigration office to be “Closed Wednesday afternoon, sorry for the inconvenience”. We have to readjust our plans, no big deal.


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