One of the occasional frustrations of long distance cruising occurs when you find that the exhaustive spares inventory you carry doesn't include that special piece of your boat that has decided to play up. So you either have to find the piece where you are or often get it sent from home. Hence we presently find ourselves trying to get hold of a small and relatively simple piece of gadgetry that senses the position of the rudder, and without which our usually trusty autopilot refuses to work.
I was startled to find that the first chandlery I went into in Spain actually had one in stock. This, it should be said, was after a fairly lengthy mime and garbled Spanitch session, as I'd left our resident translator back on board. The bad news was that they wanted over 300 Euros for it. Cue a hasty retreat and reference to Ebay, where we bought one for £70.
Ah, if only that were the end of the story.
The seller agreed to send it to Gijon marina, a little further along the coast in Asturias. Sadly he didn't think to include “Spain” on the end of the address so the next thing we discovered was when we looked at the tracking and found that it was already on a plane and winging its way to ….. Australia. Nice one Royal Mail!
Still, we managed to actually speak to someone in the Australian Postal Service a couple of days later who helpfully told us that it had been efficiently intercepted on arrival and been redirected....... to Austria...... no, seriously!
They later wrote and told us that this actually might or might not be the case, but they and we couldn't find out unless and until it surfaces on some other country's postal tracking system, either Spain, Austria or back to the UK.... or maybe someone in Melbourne has despaired and kicked it into a corner of the sorting office.
So if you see it, please drop us a line.