Spectacular storm clouds roll over Shelter Bay daily. At night deafening thunderclaps rattle the buildings and jagged lightning illuminates dripping rainforest. Add the to that eerie calls of the howler monkeys and it is all quite primeval.
It is 9.30 in the morning and I’m fresh from my 4th shower. They say the dry season is just around the corner and humidity will then plummet to 70%, but it certainly hasn’t arrived yet. You get used to a sodden shirt and fogged glasses, but sadly beer just doesn’t seem to work as a rehydrating agent – heaven knows, I’ve tested it to the limit.
Yacht lightning strikes are common hereabouts. They say about half a dozen vessels are struck each year on the Panama coast. The big problem is that a strike cooks all the electronics on your boat, including even digital watches and hair dryers – that’s a $50,000 repair job for most (excluding the watch and the hair dryer). So this year I indulged in a comprehensive insurance policy for the first time in a decade.
Fortunately Tainui was unscathed, although an unfortunate problem during application of her shrink wrapping meant serious thermal injury to her topsides. The yard immediately undertook to make good the damage and they have given her a splendid new paint job. While the work is being completed I sit like Lord Muck at the marina hotel, courtesy of the boatyard. They’re good folk at Shelter Bay and despite this problem I can recommend them.
Despite the rain, Tainui is dry and airy down below, thanks to a dehumidifier and fan which have been running nonstop for 5 months. All the power switches produce reassuring and appropriate responses and her new radar is up and running.
Miss Perfect arrives in 4 days. On Friday 13th of course. Before she gets here I must remember to clean the coffee grounds out of the sink (she hates them).
The mast is in but I still have to tune the rigging. I hope we can launch in the next couple of days. After the boat has been measured for the canal transit, we then wait for our canal agent (Roy Bravo) to give us the green light. The plan is to provision at the other end.