All for a $5 Washer

Apologies for the delay, as this is old news to us at present. But to fill you in on detail from our expedition out to Tonga, a proper conclusion to our “mis-adventures” will update interested parties on the reason for our system failures on the trip out.

It is well known that after an ocean passage, set in your new tropical oasis, the leisure you seek is still far from sight. After entering port at Neiafu, we spent the following days on task trying to sort out heads, engine and batteries issues.

Fortunately, John has a number of contacts in Tonga as he has worked for the Moorings in past and is familiar with a number of individuals about town. We started to ask around for some assistance as we had hit wits end with finding a solution to our engine woes. With a sample of diesel in hand, John was introduced to an engineer who – after taking a good swallow of our brine – informed us that it was more a cache of seawater than any form of fuel. The one test that has escaped us provided our reprieve.

With a diagnosis in hand, the solution was clear. After sourcing jerry cans, we pumped out 300 liters of contaminated fuel, flushed the filters and got our engine revving again. The engine, being the heart of the boat and the power behind all our systems, once working brought life back to all our other luxuries. We once again had our fridge, freezer, lights, heads, water maker and water pressure up and running. All could have been averted for a $5 washer.

The crux of the issue was the lack of one coin-sized rubber washer over the fuel filler pipe – purchasable at any local hardware store for a $5 note.  Because this was not present, when the boat heeled over it allowed salt water to seep into the tank, slowly converting our diesel into a saltwater cocktail.

Once the engine and batteries were sorted, we (a.k.a John) had the non-performing head to contend with. The last on our list of critical items, we turned to sorting a solution before our holiday could begin.

The heads, comic in that we purchased the boat from a gentleman who owned a plumbing business, had very poor pipe work and an incorrectly fitted pump (and appropriate, for who ever services at home what they do as a profession?!). Leaving John to enjoy the glory of an afternoon in ankle-deep s*@%, he tapped and tinkered and ….. well, to be fair, I asked him to skip the details…. but the end result is a fully functioning head, and the pleasure of my first piss in privacy in over two weeks.

Finally, four days after our arrival in Tonga, we were “adventure free” and finally able to start enjoying our holiday in the islands.

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