Bernadette and I relished being back on board Ithaka, nosing about the boat, unpacking our gear, re-feathering our nest, seeing how she held up in our absence. First we checked the bilge, which was mercifully dry—a cruiser's ongoing big fear—and then I double checked the counter on the automatic bilge pump, which read our favorite number: zero. Such is the nature of leaving a boat unattended; our worries mount in direct proportion to distance and time away. We worked our way through the boat, looking for new problems and finding nothing major. Sure there were a couple of new leaks, which I think (hope) I solved over the next few days, and there was some green on the bimini, but that's about it as far as mildew is concerned, and that ain't much—this is a jungle, after all. But we found neither rodent droppings nor cucaracha carcasses, and that was a major relief. There was an expectable amount of corrosion, and two of the wires on the port side solar panel had melted away, but once scraped and re-taped, juice was pumping again. We had disconnected them in our absence to make sure we didn't boil the batteries. In the first few days we changed the oil and filters, lubed the outboard, cleaned the plugs, washed off some salt, inflated the dinghy and regained some routine.