Saturday, 6 October 2012

The Navy, The President and The Stern Tube - Morotai 2012

Getting into the groove of being on time, we arrived in Morotai for the start of the festivities with a dinner and some local dance performances. All the days and evenings were taken up with a new event, our favourite being the lobster bake where BBQ’s lined the streets of Morotai for as far as the eye could see to grill more than 2,500 lobsters.  Our new aussie crew, Scotty was lucky enough to arrive this evening slap bang in the middle of BBQ’ing. The festivities culminated in a sail by including navy ships, yachties and local boats. We sailed past the war memorial and podium where the president was – was being the operative word – with Thyme being near the end of the alphabet by the time we reached the podium the heat was too much and everyone had cleared off!

While the day time festivities were taking place, we were distracted, busily pumping the bilges and working to try and fix a leaky stern tube. No, Simon did not have the runs – the shaft which runs from the engine to the prop outside the boat was leaking. We were using a Manecraft Deep Sea Seal – only half of the mechanical seal running on a bronze plate. This had worn a groove in the bronze over time, and with a change in engine alignment the groove shifted allowing water to leak. With the Australian Navy (warship Sirius) in town for the festivities we thought – why not ask them for help, they will surely have a lathe onboard to reface the bronze plate. Turns out their lathe was out of order but their Chief Engineer and team couldn’t have been more helpful, coming over to Thyme with a bunch of tools and parts to help fix the problem. What a great help – we finally managed to revert to the old stuffing box after pulling the shaft back while still in the water – a nervous few hours!

With the leak fixed, the president departed and the town slowly winding down we sadly farewelled Chamois and Basia to the land of Nasi Goering and bugs and sea sick free travel, Scotty jumped aboard surfboard and all and we set sail for Halmahera, stern tube all nice and dry.

Sail Morotai 2012
Each year a couple of hundred yacht sail through Indonesia, a good majority sail as part of the Sail Indonesia rally. A different region is spotlighted each year, this year being a combined Sail Indonesia ( and Sail Samal ( rally highlighting both Philippines and the Davao Gulf – the first ever rally in the Philippines and Morotai which is in the northern Muluccus. To show his support for the event and to promote tourism in the area this year the president attended Morotai. In order to encourage yachting tourism, rumour has it that next year CAITs and clearances will be even easier with CAIT applications being available online. Anyway, for us once again it was a hassle free clearance and CAIT process and a wonderful event organized by Sail Indonesia and Sail Samal – thanks!

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