Well I went ahead and bought a Garmin GPS from the States. The price was good, their reputation on E-Bay exemplary (if that's how you spell it) - had a good long e-mail conversation about exactly what I wanted - GPSMAP 298C with external antenna, NO transducer - and paid the extra $10 to get USPS express delivery, 3 - 5 days.
Well the store shipped it within 2 days of getting the order. USPS 3 - 5 day worldwide delivery took 11 days. Paid my £25 VAT, and the ParcelForce 'handling fee' of £13.50 (
It arrived yesterday, and I'm now the proud owner of a spangly new Garmin GPSMAP 298C, with an internal antenna, and a sonar transducer.
Completely useless 'cos I can't flush mount it into the hole that the 188C went into, or use the existing infrastructure that's already on the boat.
And the best bit, apparently it's my fault, because although we had a big discussion about my needs and requirements, they say I filled the form in wrong when I ordered it.
SO - a word to the wise about buying stuff on t'internet. Be careful if you use the e-bay stores that use the 'buy it now' function - because you pays your money, and then don't get the opportunity to click on the options you actually want - and by then you can't back out because you've already bought it. Even a follow up confirmation e-mail to clarify thigs didn't help (obviously).
SO - if anyone is interested in a brand new, still in it's box, everything still wrapped in plastic, even got the screen protector membrane on it, Garmin GPSMAP298 C with INTERNAL ANTENNA and a DUAL FREQUENCY TRANSPONDER (
), I'm going to go and put it on the 'for sale' bit of the website in a minute. I'd rather sell it to someone on RIBNet than go through E-Scam anyday.
You can even have the packet of microwave pop-corn that arrived sellotaped to the top of the box (use by Jan 08). I have NO IDEA what that's about. I can only assume that most US boats either have a microwave, or they've invented sail-in cinemas since I was last over there. Very random.
Much happier now...