What’s the one piece of gear I wouldn’t go to the Southwest Caribbean without? A small household air conditioner is the answer. We first purchased one for our boat Minke
‘s haulout in Cartagena, where daily temperatures and humidities routinely climb into the 90s. Accomplishing anything down below on the boat would have been nearly impossible without the air conditioner.
We stuck it into a deck hatch and built a fairing around it with cardboard and duct tape. The result helped me replace the hydraulic steering cylinder in our aft cabin, and allowed my wife to sleep through the night after some long tiring days of cleaning, scraping, sanding, and painting. We then stuck the a/c between the V-berths and forgot about it for three months until we pulled into Mario’s Marina, here in the Rio Dulce. The a/c allows us to sleep well, and we’re not getting eaten by mosquitos. That latter feature is important to us as we had a friend who last year caught malaria while visiting the Rio Dulce. It’s a pain to stow, but worth it.