Back In Panama

Home, Moldy, Home. Click on photos to enlarge.
October 30, 2010
Hi All,
I can’t believe it’s been seven months since my last post. Tempus fugit. We have been home in California for those months and I have been too lazy and preoccupied to bother with my blog.
We have been back in Panama for three nights, but last night was the first night aboard Peregrine. The first night we stayed in Panama City and headed out by bus for Fort Sherman/Shelter Bay Marina the next morning.
When we were home, Gene noticed that our monthly slip fee was billed for a slip number different than the one we were in when we left. He emailed the marina and was told that Peregrine had been moved to slip without electricity to accommodate boats needing the hook-ups. Gene emailed again on several occasions the week before we left to alert them we were returning and Peregrine needed to be moved back to a slip with power and water. He got no response, so it wasn’t a great shock to find her moored at the new, unfinished dock when we arrived at the marina.
What was a shock (for me) was Peregrine’s condition. When we opened the main hatch, a river of moldy smelling air flowed out.

Every cushion, bulkhead, and stowage area was covered in a thin grey, green film of mold. As I stood there thinking about the hours it was going to take cleaning up, Gene pipes up with, “It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.” Really?
We went to the office to tell them we needed to be moved. Our prop and rudder are covered with growth of all kinds and steerage was a worry. We needed them to move us by dink—the same way they moved us from our slip.
We got a stare and a shrug from the new assistant manager, and the manager was gone. When he did speak, he said it was too late to organize the move. It was 2:00. We reminded him that we had sent emails letting the marina know we would be back today and there were vacant slips. Finally, Dave, a face Gene knows well, comes in. Gene has spent hours watching the haul-outs and comings and goings of the hard-stand area and Dave is the manager. We explained that we couldn’t get Peregrine cleaned up without water and electricity and we really had to have her clean so we could have a place to sleep. He tells us the guys who transport the boats are trying to get a large catamaran off the hard and into the water and there is no way they are going to be able to move us. He arranges a room for us in the small hotel above the marina restaurant and says we will be moved first thing in the morning. It was really good of him to get things organized as this is not his job.
We spent a good night in the immaculate room although I was up for much of it watching the rain and lightening and listening to the thunder. I don’t think we’ve had that much rain in three years at home. No wonder Peregrine is in the shape she’s in after seven months in the Panamanian rainy season.
Thank God the boat maintenance/yard people are all mostly still here; they did a great job with the transfer and while I had breakfast at the restaurant, Gene hooked up the electricity and got an air conditioner fitted to the main hatch to help with the drying out process. We hauled all the cushions out and I washed them with bleach water. We scrubbed the v-berth, head, headliners and main salon bulkheads down with bleach water also. Never think things are bad, because when you do, things get worse. Peregrine has become overrun with cockroaches. I picked Gene’s moldy backpack off the moldy settee cushion and four of them scuttered out. I handed it to Gene and told him to throw it in the cockpit. As I made up the V-berth for a much needed sleep, a cockroach ran across my mattress and scurried for sanctuary in the recesses of the sail storage area under the berths. I will make up the yachties famous cockroach cocktail today and begin the elimination process. I got out my air filtering machine and turned on the ionizer/ozone thingy in hopes that it will start killing and filtering spores.
Well, I have finished my coffee and must get to work. Gene took the bus into town to go to the grocery. We scrubbed a lot yesterday, but didn’t get to the pilot berths, hanging lockers, cupboards, drawers or the aft cabin. The aft cabin needs to be unloaded and scrubbed. We treat the aft cabin like a garage and it is packed with stuff; and all that stuff is covered in mold and mildew. If it doesn’t stop raining, it’s going to be an even tougher job. Everything will have to be dragged out into the main salon, cleaned and put back. I already have Mount Everest in laundry in the center of the salon. All the towels stored in the plastic bins that are our linen closet are mildewy smelling; all the clothes hanging are mildewy smelling or covered in mold. Even our underwear and sock bins are contaminated. I have to wash everything in the boat. I planned to do laundry last night, but I was so into getting a superficially clean place to sleep that I failed to get tokens. Didn’t matter—I was too worn out to do laundry anyway.

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