Building the “To Do” List is a Thankless Task

Bocas Marina
Bocas del Toro, Panama

Within about 24 hours of our arrival home, our “to do” list grew to over 30 items – and by the end of the month we were up to 38.  The biggest challenge is getting parts for the generator, which pooped out on us before we left Emma Jo last March.  Ole worked like a champ, bringing just about every spare part known to Westerbeke home in his suitcase and going through the process of elimination to find the right broken part.  Murphy’s Law struck – the broken part was not among the spares he brought.

We’ve been very happy with the services of Alberto at Marine Warehouse in Panama City – within just a few phone calls and emails, he had located the parts Ole thought he needed and had them air freighted to Bocas within a week.  Ole put them on, and the generator stubbornly refused to start.  He then called the Westerbeke authorized service guy in Panama, and got the typical “cha cha” response – if we deposited money into his bank account, he would then be able to investigate finding us the right part.  Ole employed the aid of Keyving, the local electronics guy here at the marina, to help troubleshoot further, and by working “a connects to b which connects to c,” they realized they couldn’t fix it.  Frequent calls to the authorized service guy finally produced the answer that he could take the bus to Changuinola, a water taxi to Bocas, and would require expenses plus a $200 deposit on the work up front – and that since he didn’t know what part was missing, he wasn’t even bringing any parts.  Wrong answer.  So we got back in touch with Alberto, who located the replacement electronic “brain” of the generator that tells it what temperature it is…and of course, this being Panama, customs is on strike.  We think the part is in Panama City but it’s currently sitting in an envelope at the customs warehouse waiting for the strike to be over.  So we charged through the list.

We’ve varnished, cleaned canvas, investigated mysterious electrical problems, cleaned, polished, and sanded.  We’re down now to about 12 on the list, some of which projects require supplies we just can’t get until this fall when we get to Colon.  With just 9 days left until Ole has to go back to Independence, what gets done gets done — what doesn’t, doesn’t.  At least we’re not sinking.

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