I spend quite a bit of time in the engine rooms. But, as long as I have food and water and someone to hand me a tool occasionally – I don’t mind it as much as I used to. The one pet-peeve of mine is that the engine rooms are dirty right now. I hate having dirty engine rooms. It leads to a dirty Nate. Which leads to a dirty boat. Other than that – I was as happy as a guy working on a boat, on a schedule, can be.
Luke started getting our other cabin in order. We had a new crew member coming: Amanda. Another blonde-haired Australian traveler. She’d reached out, seemed very keen, and had immediate availability with a relatively open-ended schedule. That’s the kind of thing that I can work with. So we agreed, I sent her “directions” and right about the time I got the boatwork complete – she arrived. I picked her up covered in soot and engine oil – but that’s probably a realistic first impression. We had a beer, she ate, I took her back to the boat.
That night Rob was interested in meeting our new Aussie crewmember. He had already buzzed by the boat and made very clear hand-gestures (hours earlier) indicating that we should make haste to come and have a drink onboard Southern Comfort. We did so after a little visit to see the monkeys. After a couple of months of absence – the monkeys and I are still on good terms.
When we arrived Rob had other Aussie friends onboard and a Swiss guy who’d bought a boat and contractually received something like 700 bottles of various liquors and wines with the boat (in his keel/bilge). The bottles were being carried in the bilge of the boat he purchased, and the rumor is they were worth nearly as much as the asking price of the boat. Some very old wines were in there. He provided the alcohol that night, and we all had to do the smell/taste tests to figure out what was what – as many of the labels had begun peeling off. We came back, I cooked, we went to sleep.
The next day Amanda and Luke scrubbed decks while I finished some work on the engines. Then we went to lunch at PanamaMarina – where the Frenchies cook some great food. We had a couple of drinks with lunch, then came back and started arranging for our departure the following day. I checked weather and we had a small window – though we’d be beating against 10 foot seas, 15 knots of wind, and likely a current. That was the best weather we were going to get, though, at least for a week or so. As a buddy said, “Oh well, sometimes you just get plastered.” It’s true. Perfect weather is often a luxury.
Luke was very ready to go. Amanda wasn’t worried. I’d been through worse. I made the call – we were leaving tomorrow. So we tightened everything down. Then I made arrangements to have my car and mooring sold while I was gone. Then I said my goodbyes.
When I got back to the boat I noticed a troubling problem with the electrical system – it was shorting out, sometimes knocking out power to my entire house-system (fridge, radio, lights, water-pumps). The problem was intermittent, the worst kind. So I started trying to isolate the problem – starting with the things that I’d changed over the past few days. After two hours of work, I’d been sure I fixed it twice – only to have it re-appear. It was late, I was hungry, and I needed to be 100% the next day – so I gave up. We cooked a larger-than-average dinner, so we’d have leftovers for lunch the following day. The seas were large enough that cooking was going to be a challenge underway. I went to sleep around 10PM, and woke up around 5:30AM.
I started coffee, started prepping the boat, and grabbed a bite to eat. Then the crew was up and we were getting ready for takeoff. We managed most things without issue. Then we were motoring out of the anchorage.
I’m hoping this goodbye was my final one in Puerto Lindo, but you never know. Either way, it felt damn good getting out.