Tulagi has been a good stop for us. Being anchored in front of Raiders Hotel, with stern lines to their trees, made for a very comfortable, calm and cozy stay. But all good things must come to an end, and, for around-the-world-sailors it is requisite to keep moving. So we’re off to Marovo Lagoon, approximately 150 miles northwest from Tulagi.
Rehua underwent some major upgrades in the last two weeks. First up were the engine mounts. Replacing engine mounts is a BIG job anytime, so add to that that Seathan accomplished this whilst the boat remained in the water and it’s an even bigger achievement. The engines had to be lifted out and propped up with a cleverly self-invented pull-up system. Each engine is fit into place with four engine mounts, which had to be taken out and replaced with new ones. The shafts were then re-aligned and fine-tuned to perfection. The entire upgrade took about a week to complete and adds a big improvement to our boat.
Next up were the propellers. Our eight year-old props were upgraded from a three blade to our four-blade version to give us extra bite in heavy weather. Changing the props was tricky business too, especially as it was also completed in the water. To make it easier, Bob from Raiders suggested we pulled even closer into the shore and tied onto the pillars of the bar. That way, we had barely 4 feet of water underneath the hull and Seathan could stand up on the seabed with his dive tank on to replace the props. Tyrii was his little helper, breathing from the occy, with a weight belt on to keep him down. The first attempt to remove the old props didn’t go very well. They were impossible to get off. Luckily Ian from Sasape shipyard around the corner offered to lend us a special prop-puller tool. That got them off pretty quick. The shiny new four-blade versions went on and after some fine-tuning and tweaking another hard day’s work was done. Skip certainly deserved his beer that afternoon.
Now Rehua is purring away like a quiet cat. The engines run smoothly, no more vibrations! We are ready to go again!