A tropical thunderstorm as seen from the space station
Well, Espiritu and her crew have been in the midst of the tropical rainy season for nearly 6 months now. Without a break, just like the locals. Hundreds of inches of rain have fallen on us. Thousands and thousands of tachycardia-inducing close bolts of lightning have violently invaded our space.
Yet another tropical weather system looms black on the horizon
By the way, in addition to ourselves, the tally of our friends on sailboats who have been struck by lightning this year in Central America has now risen to SEVEN.
We're so ready for it to be OVER.
I was a big Croc-basher in my former life. But my pink Vans/Croc squeakers have
taken very good care of me in these very wet months.
Just another sizzling, crackling, grumbling, anxiety-producing night
in Central America during the rainy season
This photo of dark storm clouds moving in over Shelter Bay marina shows why none of our friends have been struck by lightning in marinas. The numbers are on your side here. You are surrounded by lots of other targets. At sea or in an isolated anchorage, one solitary mast may be the highest spot for miles around.
As the last weeks of the rainy season go out like a lion (lightning crackles above and around me as I write this), I ask myself the question:
Do I recommend sailing through Central America during the rainy season?
Well, you already know the downsides. The constant layers of mold which blanket the inside surfaces of our floating home anew the morning after scrubbing her clean the night before. The extreme challenge of living in such close quarters day in and day out, extreme heat and humidity, wind, waves, lightning and squalls adding fear and arguments about how and where to proceed to the mix.
Looking at the whole thing as the adventure that it is, rather than a slog, can help.
Having a sense of community is always good for the morale, as we did on
election night when 25 of us gathered in the cruiser's lounge to watch the returns.
And, I suppose, being a Democrat meant election night was good for the morale as well...
Bonding with animals also helps:
Meet Cooper, the overly-friendly marina dog. He's sweet, but...(and there's no nice way to say this)...he really, really needs a girlfriend. Badly (I'll just leave that up to your imagination to fill in the blanks of this scenario).
And then there are days like the one recently where we shook off our malaise and frustration with mechanical issues and took off into the rainforest which borders our marina.
This was our reward:
A chestnut mandibled toucan sighting!
For all of the downsides of these months down here, in the end the huge reward is simply being immersed in nature.
A muddy bog after the days rain
In the 21st century, the balance has shifted so far that for all practical purposes, nature has nearly completely disappeared from modern society. In modern life, we are completely surrounded by man and his creations.
Great leafy vines creep all the way up this tree
In modern life, nature is but a fantasy -- a dream of the past long gone. But down here, we're literally swimming in it. I have a feeling that after we've survived the rainy season, I'll have the attitude of one who has prevailed through anything hard -- say a triathalon, or childbirth, or obtaining a college degree -- and say yes, yes, YES! It's hard but it's worth it! And it changes you. Forever.
But first, we must survive the rainy season. Espiritu's electrical system is repaired, so our plan is to sail North to the Colombian island of Providencia on saturday.
It's a trip of about 260 miles, which should translate into a 2 or 3 night trip. Looks like we're finally saying goodbye to Panama, our home for the last 5 months. We'll never forget you, Panama.