Bob Willmann on s/v Viva is a funny guy. He can’t help it. Whatever rolls off his tongue earns a guffaw or a chuckle. Even when something serious happens, it sounds funny.
Recently he was making his weekly pot of beans. Like any good sailing chef, he was using a pressure cooker. It cuts the cooking time in half. It almost cut him in half, because he’d ignored a warning sign on the lid. With his previous mess of beans, he’d noticed that the little jiggler wasn’t jiggling quite as much as it had in the past. (By the way, Bob seems to be the kind of guy who pays attention to jiggling.) The same was true this time, but Bob was immersed in another dish he was fixing on the stove. His mind was elsewhere, perhaps daydreaming about his days as a backpacker captain.
The pressure cooker exploded. It had built up sufficient steam since the jiggler was stuck in place and took off like a rocket. Somehow it avoided hitting Bob and sped through the salon, striking and shattering one window and hitting two others. They were damaged but didn’t break.
Beans flew everywhere. Some managed to enter Bob’s T-shirt and splattered his chest. The rest covered every imaginable surface. It took two local women two days to scrape and clean away the mess.
Bob had planned to stick around Portobelo, Panamá, a bit longer, but the loss of his windows changed his plans. He’s taking his 44’ Fontaine Pajot through the Canal on April 21 and spending some time in Panama City where he hopes to replace his windows.
Bob has turned his 1989 catamaran into a real beauty. In Cartagena he had a crew on his boat for a week. They painted the entire exterior except for the bottom—while it was still in the water. He thought he was finished with home improvements until he saw the difference between the outside and the inside.
Originally the interior walls were covered with a thin wood substitute. It was peeling here and there and looked tacky. In Portobelo Bob hired a couple to spray paint the interior, all in one day.
After 12 years in the Caribbean, Bob is heading back to the Sea of Cortez “where it all started.” Actually Bob left San Diego but he’ll head to Cortez where the fish are so plentiful that you can start your grill before you toss a line in the water. See? Funny guy.