A few nights ago, an intense weather bomb dropped on the Bahia del Sol marina and anchorage. We all were watching a movie inside the boat when all the sudden it sounded like something crashed into our boat. Huge gusts of wind came from out of nowhere. Wind indicators registerd up to 40 knots but I am pretty sure some gusts were more. How can I be sure? Well I can't but it was strong enough to lift our 60 pound 64" by 52" solar panel from the frame.
It wasn't until the next day when Zyon asked, "Papai, what did you do with the solar panel?" Our first reaction was that someone must have stole it during the night. There was no damage to the other solar panels or anything surrounding the missing one and the wires that connect the solar panel was completely in tact. How the hell could someone remove this huge solar panel, 10 feet from the water without us hearing anything? It did rain through most of the night so maybe someone took advantage of the weather to make their move. It must have been a professional job with at least 3 guys. How did they do it? Did they climb on top of the arch? Fortunately, there is a security camera at the end of the dock next to our boat. Rigo spent hours looking at video footage trying to see how someone could possibly remove the solar panel. He even went back a few nights before in case we just didn't notice until now that it was gone. Unfortunately the security camera cuts off just before the stern of our boat so the solar panel were not in the frame. But Rigo watched all the canoes and nightly estuary activity to find some clue as to what happened. He found nothing. Suddenly I started to feel unsafe and disappointed that this could happen while being tied to the dock.
The next morning the front desk at Bahia del Sol called HM on the VHF radio. The security team also was reviewing the videos as they were also determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. At 7:45 pm, the beginning of the weather bomb, they saw the solar panel fly across the dock and smash into the water. They said it probably would have killed someone if they were standing on the dock. Mystery solved! Thankfully it was not a theft. Even though the solar panel was still gone it was comforting to know that it was not stolen. I know El Salvador gets a lot of bad publicity with gang murders and the previous civil war but the 3 months that we have been here we have not seen any violence and have experienced nothing but friendly people. Every Salvadorian I have ever met has been very welcoming. The marina staff was very helpful and the manager offered the services of the diver to see if the solar panel could be recovered. A few days later, when the tides were calm, the diver jumped into the water and within 20 minutes sufaced with the solar panel completely in tact! No cracks in the glass, no damage to the frame. Unbelievable! Whether or not is will actually work in still in question. It is currently sitting on the dock in the sun drying out.
Whether or not the solar panel works, this was an amazing story and an unbelievable recovery.