Electronics (and any anything else man-made) in the Tropics

Never a good combination.

Why have electronics when you can eat flowers?

In two seasons of officially living in the tropics, I’ve had the “pleasure” of dealing with a variety of electronic fails. Humidity, heat, sun and salt have all found a way to make for one, followed quickly by another, disintegrating timex sports watch, I’m on my third headlamp (never believe the word “waterproof” when you see it) and now I’m writing this blog post from my phone because my MacBook finally bit the big one. I admit I was living last year in a tent cabin that sported only a roof, screens on two sides and doors-be-damned so obviously things got moist on a regular basis. But in my defense I did put it in a sealed cooler with a desiccation bag at night. Such is electronics in the tropics.

Other fun byproducts of life in the tropics is mold. It’s always out to weasel it’s way into the depths of any fabric, clothing, backpack, pillow, even snorkel gear. When I guided in Costa Rica last year, I started to use it as a fashion statement..nothing of my clothes ever wanted to dry and so while speckled black stains of this invasive fungus made some of my clothing unwearable, other pieces I could get actually away with!

And sportswear, as expensive as it is and durable as it claims to be, never seems to be tropics-grade. Waterproof Merrill’s are really just Merrill’s, the soles of a fairly new pair of Keens came completely apart after only the fourth muddy bat cave tour or so (granted the mud is like soggy peanut butter), my Columbia rain jacket seems to be permanently permeable, zippers are corroding on various packs, and funky smells are emitting from my daypack shoulder-strap and binoculars straps (I take no responsibility).

Ah, but living in the tropics is nevertheless a complete dream, despite any drawback..

About Stacey M. Hollis

Tropical guide and naturalist at Tranquilo Bay Eco-Adventure Lodge on Isla Bastimentos set within Panama's Caribbean Bocas del Toro archipelago. My aim is to share my passion for birds and the awesome biodiversity of the tropics while spreading the word about the importance of environmental conservation.
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