On Monday, we dinghied in to Bristol Town dock and headed off to do some errands in a car we borrowed from Kat, followed by an interesting cup of coffee with Laurie’s cousin Valerie – which turned out to be a bottle of wine and some hors d’oeuvre instead! Unfortunately, when we returned to Bristol, there was no sight of our dinghy.
The dinghy is like our car – an essential piece of kit – and, as some may have read previously, in the last 12 months or so we’ve made a real saga out of it! We originally had a 10ft Rib with 15HP Yamaha engine which we decided was not the correct vehicle for our chosen cruising itinerary. We sold it and purchased instead, a rigid sailing dinghy which lasted one weekend! It was way too small and unstable so we sold it and bought instead a non-sailing rigid dinghy with an outboard. This was nearly as bad, with very little carrying capacity and a very wet ride. We got rid of that and purchased a fully inflatable 8 ft dinghy – stability at last! Although the 2.5HP engine meant it was no rocket ship – which when we got down to the Caribbean we discovered to be rather a hindrance… so when we got to St. Maarten, we purchased a 10ft Rib with a 15HP Yamaha engine. Yep – full circle and back to the beginning with basically what we’d originally had – but after a whole heap of money had passed through our fingers. To then find the dinghy gone on Mondays was almost too much to bear.
I couldn’t believe the dinghy had been stolen so on Tuesday morning I pumped up our backup inflatable dinghy (yeah, we couldn’t bring ourselves to buy high sell low yet another dinghy – so now we had 2!) and rowed across Bristol Harbor. I went walkabout around the town dock… and there she was. Stuffed under a pier in Bristol Harbor. It was high tide and the engine was just poking out one side of the pier and the tip of the boat was poking out the other side. She was full of water. There was no way to move her until the tide went down some.
I rowed back to Toodle-oo! and waited for the tide to drop. Then I rowed back (at least I’m getting some exercise out of this!), with a few tools in case the engine was compromised. The harbormaster had extricated her from the pier and it looked like damage was minimal. I pumped the boat dry and then tried the engine. Nada! Rats! I removed plugs, sprayed WD40 liberally, but couldn’t get her going…
I rowed back again (this was getting silly!) just to use the phone and arrange to get a ride to a local repair shop. I then rowed back again(!), got the engine off the dinghy and awaited Neal’s arrival. We took the engine to Don’s Marine and fortunately, within about 30 minutes of tinkering with her, the engine came to life! We decided to leave the engine there overnight while Don continued his magic, so Neal brought me back to the dock where I rowed yet again – this time towing the big dinghy across the harbor against a foul current!
It’s great to have the dinghy back and today we’ll probably have the engine back too – life without a car is miserable – just ask my shoulders!