Thursday, April 27, 2006

Power Packin

I'm anchored off an island in the Gulf of Nicoya, just an hour from Puntarenas, my nemesis. I'm sitting in the dark, wearing safety glasses, eating a tuna fish sandwich and typing this out to you. I, of course, have a headlamp on (Do you? And why the hell not?) so should I need light I can make it, but the glow from the computer is all I need right now. The reason for the darkness is that I am equalizing my batteries. That essentially means I am packing as many volts into them as I can with my charger set to "equalize mode" - Sounds cool huh. I've read the manual 3 times now and don't forget I'm wearing safety glasses nonstop so, I'm not in danger. That's how you have to do it cuz otherwise you could get sloppy and forget and go look at those battery cells just when one burped and there goes your eye forever. Not me, No sir.

Well, in order to get the big charge that I need to knock those sulfur build-ups off the plates I can't run any appliances or systems cuz that would reduce my volts in. I planned ahead and bought a big bag of ice (can you picture me on the kayak with a block of ice strapped onto the back as I paddle the 1/4 mile back to Barraveigh) before I left the Dirty P so my food and beer will stay cold. This equalization thing could take up to 8 hours. Gonna be a long night. I have a chefs timer so I can sleep for 90 minutes, check the batteries and then get another 90 minutes. Don't worry. If you get this email then I'm fine cuz I can't send it until after the charging is all over anyway. I do have unlimited 110 power though. So that means I can run the A/C later. It sure is sweet.

I ran into a pack of American students that live and study in the Dirty P (Puntarenas). I criticized it with gusto and then they sheepishly said they loved it, and loved the fact that there are never any other gringos there (Was that a hint?). "Oh yea, well . . . " I quickly came up with some more sharp and cutting remarks about their Dirty P and well, we probably won't be making out later.

I ran into them again as I walked what must have been my 9th lap of the DP. I had 4 items on my list and had to visit 11 hardware stores just to get 3 of them. A lint brush is impossible. The Tica behind the counter told me I'd have to go to San Jose to get one. The insanity of it all. I probably walk 8-10 miles a day. It's as if I'm the DP foot patrol officer. Today this random guy on the street stopped me and asked me, "Hey did you find your alternator belt?" I found that alternator belt a week ago. I gotta get out of this place.

Yea - I'm an ugly American sometimes. If appreciating convenience makes you ugly - I'm the Elephant Man. Give me Home Depot everyday and let all the mom and pops collect food stamps (Sorry independent retailors). I want my convenience. Man do I miss it.

Whenever I pull into a new anchorage I have a little procedure. Once the anchor is down, and I'm sure I'm not dragging, then I shut off the engine, put on The Police's De Doo Doo Doo, De Daa Daa Daa on the outside speakers and then I do a naked back flip off the stern rail. That's my thing. Mine. Don't copy it. This time there was a human watching from the pier. I couldn't tell if it was male or female. Pretty far away. I did hear them call their friends over though. This island was a prison colony. Not much for entertainment and they must have been hoping for an encore. One's all ya get.

Have you ever sounded out the word "Puntarenas"? It means "sandy point" but that's not what it sounds like in English. That's why I just refer to it as the Dirty P.

Gonna be a long night,

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