Marina Electricity Woes

Our first experience with marina electricity outside the US was after a several day passage from the Keys across the Gulf of Mexico to Isla Mujeres.  After a few days at anchor, we pulled into Marina Paraiso to wash off the salt and get the boat ready to leave while we flew back to the US for Christmas.

Our first ... and last marina in paradise - Northwestern Caribbean, Isla Mujeres, Mexico, Marina Paraiso.  Wonderful place ... except for maybe the electricity.

Our first … and last marina in paradise – Northwestern Caribbean, Isla Mujeres, Mexico, Marina Paraiso. Wonderful place … except for maybe the electricity.

Upon our return, I was absolutely dismayed to find the dockside electricity fried our tiny microwave.  How was I supposed to go cruising without a microwave? (or at least that’s what I thought at the time, I had no idea it would turn into a convenient breadbox over the next six years)….

Replacing Our Fried Microwave

Replacing Our Fried Microwave at WalMart in Cancun … waiting on the return ferry to Isla Mujeres.

So we took the ferry Cancun and WalMart and replaced the microwave.  Luckily they had a Panasonic model that would fit our tiny space — unluckily the instructions and buttons are all labeled in Spanish – not horrible for me, but David still struggles.  Ed. comment – why in the world would Panasonic put multi-language instructions in every appliance sold in the USA, but in Mexico, only in Spanish?

Marina Paraiso, Isla Mujeres, MX

Marina Paraiso, Isla Mujeres, MX

Fast forward six years and our stop back at Isla Mujeres on the return trip to the USA.  Same marina, same catastrophic result with the electricity – this time the hot water heater erupted in a cloud of steam — with the breaker turned completely off.  Gremlins?  Who knows, but it’s been dead now for several years.  We’d replace it, but we’ll have to remove an diesel exhaust hose to do so and it just hasn’t seemed that important.

Yes, we always check to make sure the “OK” light is lit on the electrical panel, indicating no reverse polarity… ironically the only times we’ve had problems with reverse polarity has been in US marinas.   So who knows.

Anyone have preventative measures that lets them know when the questionable electricity in some cruising mecca’s marinas can be harmful to your boat — other than the reverse polarity indicator?  Please leave a comment and let us know!  Cheers!  Jan

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