Wednesday, February 07, 2007

a little help goes a long way.

Everyone knows that we have been through a difficult time recently with problems on the boats and soo many people have offered help and words of encouragement. I expressed on this blog how desperately hard Tony had worked to get us ship shape in time for scheduled tours and he wasn't alone. One of our young new guys who just started working with us is Louis and I will write bit about him here soon. Anyway, he's into his cars and bikes and owns a quad bike which has had extra engine work done to make it faster I guess. Anyway, he helped Tony quite a bit over the past month and deserves a pat on the back too. It’s good to have people who understand how our equipment works.

I already mentioned how much we spend in terms of labor and parts, and obviously the people at the big mechanic shops have been paid well too. However, they have always gone the extra mile with Adventure Antigua. Companies like Antigua Marine Services (tom), Marine Power Services (the millers) out in English Harbour, and A-1 Marine (Carl, Joel, and glen) in Jolly Harbour all have stopped what they were doing to assist us during emergencies. They have each done favors for us too with Carl and glen at A-1 being soooooo generous.....thanks!!!!

What people from the "civilized" world don't realize is that doing business here is even more difficult because of shipping times and shipping mistakes. We always have problems getting parts. Sometimes they send the wrong parts, sometimes they don't send enough parts, sometimes they say "parts are on order". We can't just run down to the nearest store because we don't have them here on this tiny island. I will give you one of a million examples I have on this topic. Tom from AMS ordered a new "steering helm" which is the main mechanics of the steering wheel side of our steering system. He specifically asked in his email for a 90 degree helm and of course after paying for FEDEX to send it to us.....we get a 45 degree steering helm!!!! Now we need this thing badly so like in all "third world" countries where we cant just change the wrong part.....we modified and fabricated it. These islands and other under-developed countries have some of the best machine shops on the planet. I am sure you must have heard about Cuba’s 1950s cars right? When things break here we try to fix them before we just run out and buy this usually isn't an option. Anyway, when we got this 45 degree helm station I knew we had no choice but to take it to the guys in jolly harbour. We needed to modify one part and completely make another. Woodwork and welding were going to be needed, and Jolly Harbour has the best of both. The photos today are of George from Jolly Harbour woodworks and Glen of A-1 Marine. Glen is actually welding a water tank for another boat just after he cut and welded the steering bracket to the proper size and angle that I needed, and George is making from scratch a new steering base. Both of these modifications ended up being stronger and better than if I had gotten them new even if they did take more time and effort. Both of these guys, by the way, were working on other jobs before they picked up my emergency project.

Anyway, that was Saturday and all went well the past few days on the boat until this morning when I was in jolly harbour about to set off Francis, Tony and Louis on the eco boat. They had a full boat of guests to go and collect and when Tony turned over the port engine we knew we had a problem. The starting motor was stuck!!!! Well we had to laugh because this just takes the engines shouldn’t have these problems!!!! Anyway, I was on the phone to Nell in seconds while Tony quickly, like a formula 1 mechanic...took off the starter. Nell was already picking up the spare starter from Tom and was on her way into St. Johns to meet the boat by the time the boat left jolly harbour. Tony and crew were quickly on their way into town on one engine to meet her and the main core of our guests....They ended up being twenty minutes late to pick up the guests with the spare starter. Within 5 minutes they were back up and running properly on the two engines going a little faster than normal to make up the time. pfffhheeww!

I guess its all about teamwork here with our associates, our family and crew and we all have one goal at the end of the day which is to make sure your day in Antigua is the best it possibly can be. We want you happy no matter what it takes.

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