|We love our books, but a Kindle would be great too!|
Happily, this list isn't all that long, but there are a few items that we wish we had squeezed into our boat with a shoehorn before we left Kemah.
A generator. As I mentioned in a previous post, we have a bit of a power issue down here in Panama. We can't get the batteries charged up through the solar panels because there isn't any sun, and though we have a broken wind generator that some lovely cruisers gave us a couple of weeks ago there also isn't much in the way of wind in Bocas. So we are forced to run our engine, which is bad news. It puts precious hours on the engine unnecessarily, is a waste of fuel and is unfortunately loud, not the set of circumstances I was expecting when we left Kemah all happy and almost totally energy efficient. We had presumed that we wouldn't need a small, gasoline generator given our solar panels, so why spend the extra $400. Now, I see that the extra $400 is worth it given the wear and tear on the engine, the price of diesel and the health of our batteries. Being able to run a small genny for just a few hours when our batteries get low would make a major difference.
A Kindle. Perhaps this is too analog, but I've always been a book person, preferring the feel and smell of a newspaper or a book stolen from my dad's library to the electronic copies all the kids are into these days. That is, until we moved onto a boat. I had assumed that I could replenish my book supply through the exchanges in various marinas, but unfortunately, unless you have a penchant for bad fiction, the pickings are slim. Both Vlad and I have learned the hard lesson that once you've read one Tom Clancy book, you really aren't interested in reading another. So I've taken to reading decent books on my computer or iPad, but they both use a lot of power. Not to mention that the iPad is our sole navigation source now that the Raymarine chartplotter gave out in a rainstorm somewhere in the Gulf Stream outside Isla Mujeres (we are getting charts for our handheld as a backup). The Kindle, bless its little heart, solves all my reading woes. It holds a charge for forever, isn't an integral part of our navigation system and only costs $80.
A new outboard motor. OK, so maybe just some outboard motor parts. Shockingly, we left the United States without any spare parts for our ancient 6-horsepower Johnson motor, which turned into a major kerfuffle when the impeller died a tragic death in Roatan. Our intrepid friend Matt brought us plenty of extras when he came for a visit, but now the pull cord apparatus has decided to leave us forever. I'm sure Vlad could fix it, but what both of us would really like now is a 10-horsepower outboard that doesn't break every five minutes and that I can start. A reliable outboard that can cover a decent amount of water on a plane is an ideal that we have come to very much admire, and for me personally having the ability to start the motor would be nice. Vlad worked for a fellow cruiser who in return gave us a small, 2.9 horsepower Mercury motor that we dubbed the Mighty Mouse. I can start that sucker on the first pull and go wherever I please. Ah, sweet freedom.
A gun. This is one of those subjects that you don't want to bring up on any of the sailing forums, cause people get all - dare I say it - up in arms. But it is a wild, wild world out there, and it's good to have some way to protect yourself. We have bear mace, flares and a speargun, but nothing says go away like the sound of chambering a shotgun. True, traveling with guns can be a major hassle, especially through Mexico (where it is illegal and if they catch you they will take your boat), and, of course, having a gun doesn't mean that you are safe. But it is pretty good protection and an excellent deterrent.
Quick drying shorts. Life on a boat is wet. It rains. There are waves. The dinghy ride is especially treacherous. Currently, we only have shorts that are made out of cotton, the typical Target or Old Navy variety, and they just refuse to dry. A couple of pairs of shorts made from some sort of magical synthetic substance that dries quickly would solve this problem. Getting away from water is impossible, but drying off doesn't have to be.