Lagos 2

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Back to Lagos on Sunday and of course there’s been almost zero progress on the boat.  Engine serviced and prop-shaft out but no new prop-shaft in evidence and no fridge.  

The fridge situation takes us into local politics that makes the Montagues & Capulets seem like good mates.  We had ordered the fridge on a supply and fit basis from Blue Water Algarve, based in the marina.  As well as being the local Isotherm agents they offer a full range of yacht related services, most of which they sub-contract out.  They were not, it transpired, allowed to work in the boatyard, and hell will have frozen over and be serving ice-cream before they will be allowed so to do.  A long history of poaching work from the various organisations based within the marina being the root cause we believe. They were allowed to deliver the fridge to the boatyard gate, but that was it.  They certainly weren’t allowed to fit it.  The boatyard carpenters were however far too busy to deal with a trivial job like fitting a fridge.    

There followed a 2/3 day period of Henry Kissinger -like shuttle diplomacy.  Eg:   

Me - “Pedro, because we’re out of the water and can’t run the engine, we have no way of cooling our food.  It’s very difficult.  If the boatyard carpenters are too busy to fit our fridge, can Blue Water fit the fridge for us?”  

Pedro – “Never. They used to work here.  They don’t respect the rules. I will find you another carpenter.” 

Me – “Can Blue water at least deliver the fridge on board the boat so that we can power it up in the cockpit?” 

Pedro – “They can deliver it to the gate.” 

Me – “Getting the fridge up the ladder and onto the boat is very difficult.  If Blue Water deliver to the boat then it will be their responsibility if the fridge is damaged.” 

Pedro (smiling) – “Yes, that’s true.  Yes, yes, they can deliver on board. But no work!” 

And so we got a fridge, which stood in the middle of the saloon whilst we waited for Pedro’s carpenter – and true to his word he did find us one – to fit it.  The Blue Water guys were almost physically thrown out of the yard the moment they’d got the fridge on board and it became clear that they weren’t going to drop it.   

A slight diversion as we invited Ian &  Jenny from Moidart to admire our fridge, followed by us being invited back to Moidart to admire the fact that it actually floated in water – unlike Samarang.  This followed by dinner, drinks, return to Moidart, drinks, discussion of politics (Ian’s v.dodgy) and all of a sudden its 4.30am and you’ll be sorry (later) in the morning!  

Back to the prop-shaft. The old shaft was not in fact bent, but too short, and appears to have been joined to gearbox with many flanges + much angle grinding -hence wobble.  This was presumably when the old Volvo was replaced with the new Perkins, which I think was done in the Caribbean.

Arguably since it’s done a 1000+ hours in that condition it could go on for another 1000, but it really doesn't look very pretty when you see it out on the bench. 

Local machine shop wanted E1000 to machine one whilst Lancing Marine price was c.£200 (E300).  What bankers call a “spread”.  Nothing's ever easy though and after a week + ASAP, who have always in the past been excellent, were still unable to quote a delivery date and Lancing Marine are too busy to even take the order.

Finally made contact (via David Sheppard at Bruntons, who supplied our feathering prop) with Paul Bell of 1st Marine Propulsion, for whom nothing was too much trouble.  He made the shaft, acquired the coupling and shaft seal, boxed the whole lot up and shipped it to Lagos.

On the plus side:  while we wait -  being on the hard is a lot cheaper than the marina, is closer to the beach, it's warm and sunny and we're getting some jobs done on the boat.  We also have a fine view across the fishing harbour to the town of Lagos.  We would at this point however very much like to get back on the water.  On the down side:  our toilets don’t work whilst we’re out of the water, so there’s a choice between much use of bucket or much use of 12 foot ladder and walking to the toilet on the other side of the yard.  Actually, we can/could pump our heads into the holding tank, but that’s obviously a finite resource - probably about 25 flushes.  After which we’re full of shit so to speak – which people have said about me before! 

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View from our "balcony"

Meanwhile Lindy and I were getting on with a list of jobs which never seems to decrease no matter how many we tick off – though the boat does feel more like home every day. Seeking to complete one of these jobs I made my third trip to “interesting” local timber yard.  They don’t have teak or iroko, but do have a hard wood that looks a bit like mahogany but lighter (maybe sapelle?) and what they assure me is marine ply.  At least I think that’s what they assure me, as nobody speaks English and I can only order beer in Portuguese.  Given a sketch and dimensions though they will cut and machine anything I require. Only one person there today who I hadn’t met before.  We managed with signs, pen, paper and tape to: order my wood, discover that one of his colleagues was in hospital having an operation on his leg, the other on holiday and that the Patron would be back that evening.  He himself had been a carpenter for 20 years, but although he could of course drive the routing machine to make the moldings I needed, he did not have the appropriate EU certificate to allow him to do so.  He would speak to his boss later and if I could return tomorrow morning (not afternoon!) he would let me know if he could make them or whether I would have to wait until the following week – when of course there would be a backlog of work. 

This took over half an hour (plus a half hour walk in each direction) and I left promising to return the following day with amongst other things a dictionary.  If you add this to exchanging pleasantries with other yachties in the boat yard (minimum 15 minutes each), discussion with Hugo about the slowness of the government in allocating land for extension to boatyard, admiring with the owners each new boat lifted ashore (followed by them admiring Samarang), acquiring at least one thing of which there is only one in Lagos, but requiring visits to several shops to find, having lunch, etc, then you begin to understand why our rate of progress has slowed down.  We are however becoming very comfortable with this pace of life.

Many Deliveries - The prop shaft arrived a few days after dispatched, as promised.  Even more miraculously  the electric winch from Enkes finally arrived.  This is a real saga:- Ordered and paid for in advance (they don't take credit cards or sterling cheques), back at the beginning of April. Dispatched by TNT next day delivery at end of April.  Had not arrived in Eastbourne by 1st June when we left.  Via intercession of Dutch intermediary, Ronald Pronk at Enkes agreed to manufacture a new winch and dispatch to me when I reached a reached a fixed point.  Called Ronald when we first arrived in Lagos ( e/o June).  Second winch has now been manufactured, first winch has also been returned.  First winch now dispatched, inexplicably by parcel post. By E/O July winch has not arrived so second is dispatched via TNT.  Second winch arrives on the same day as first winch is located in Beirut!!  Only remaining fly in the ointment is that installation instructions are all in Dutch and I phone Enkes to discover a recorded message in Dutch which I think says that the factory is closed for August.  

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Last updated 18th March 2018