This past June we prepared the boat in order to leave it at the marina over the summer months until approximately November. I am sure anyone reading this with any experience living down here will state that June is WAY too late to leave Mexico. The heat had increased to 30+ every day but it was the humidity that was the killer. Take a shower and literally five minutes after walking outside you were drenched in sweat. We finally had to buy an air conditioner, put it in the entrance way of the companionway, put cushions around the sides and then remain the entire day inside the boat until the sun went down. Brutal.
During this time the boat was readied to be left for the season in the water. I had read numerous articles on what should be done: plug all open vents, turn off intake valves, put borax around the boat to kill bugs, disconnect all electronics, etc. Ready the top deck – sail and covers wound tightly together with line, lines stowed, dinghy/kayaks lashed down and many other jobs.
I ended up buying spray and traps for ants and cockroaches dreading the fact that I may be coming back to an infested boat. I also learned from previous experience you do not leave canned goods sitting, the bottoms rust and make a terrible mess on a surface. With that in mind I zip locked everything, all canned, all packed items, bedding, towels, blankets, clothing and if it didn’t get zip locked then into a plastic tub with a lid. You would think everything would be ship shape. Basically, it was.
On our arrival back as I opened the hatch I was greeted by the unbelievable sight of mold and I do mean mold! Everywhere. It attacked all the wood in a thick penicillin like layer plus there was a fine coating over the rest of the interior, horrible!
The good news – not one ant, cockroach or trace of a bug in any trap or lying prone along the floor could be found.
It took several days of scrubbing with soap and bleach and even more days of taking the covers off the cushions and having them laundered, inspecting the bagged items, going through every cupboard and drawer pulling items out and cleaning the area. Learning that although the crackers were in their own package and then zip locked, they were stale and soft. Same with soup packages. Also found that items stored in plastic jars such as coffee, tea, flour, oats all had to be tossed. I had thought the plastic would keep things fresh. No.
The boating lessons continue. Next year will be different. Seal the boat up tight but there must be air circulating and a way to remove moisture. We have located a solar fan that can be inserted where the chimney is – I do believe we are the only boat around with a diesel heater still onboard. I remember we had been talking to a very nice couple in San Rafael, California last year. They came on board and the first thing they did was point and ask, “what is that?”, it was of course our heater and explained that you really do need that up in Canada. The amazement on their faces.
So back to ventilation. Solar fan to be installed, fine mesh over the dorads instead of plugging them tight and possibly a dehumidifier if we keep the boat in water. Our thinking this time around is probably to place the boat on the hard.
Ahh the boating life. Never a dull moment.