Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Staniel Cay Adventures - the dinghy escapes!
There are two versions about what happened on Monday. We have settled on one that preserves both our dignities. And mine is of course the most reliable because I posted it first. The dinghy didn't get properly secured, so that when I let it down it just drifted off, apparently trying to escape. I noticed it shortly afterwards, but it was just a little too far off to swim for it. It was moving out into the anchorage where about 40 other boats were anchored. We suspect it was looking for a more expensive boat to belong to, and that shouldn't have been too tough, as almost everything floating out here is more expensive than ours. So I figure we would just pull up anchor and go after it with the big boat, right?
So I went inside, pushed the "start" button which has heretofore worked EVERY SINGLE TIME we've ever pushed it, but all I got was this loud clicking/buzzing noise. It wouldn't start. Pushed it again, same result. This is not good. We then noticed two other dinghies out there vying for the special status of salvaging our dinghy, so that wasn't a problem anymore. Sometimes things like this create a lot of excitement in an otherwise boring anchorage. At least we didn't have to ask for help on the VHF radio and alert everyone about our predicament. Whew!
So now what do we do, keeping in mind just how many engines we have (one)? One of my boating rules is that when electrical things like this happen, it's usually some sort of a grounding problem. I solved the problem in less than five minutes. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? The ground from the engine to the BRAND NEW BATTERY INSTALLATION was too loose to handle all that amperage. Usually problems like this involve a whole lot more anguish, bad language, consultation with manuals and other cruisers, etc.
But bad things come in threes, right? We waited for the other shoe to fall. Thankfully we didn't have to wait long.
Yesterday we moved to Black Point Settlement, our new home for a couple days. It's quite the metropolis with a one block long main street and wifi and cabbage!!! On the way we decided to just tow our reluctant dinghy instead of clipping it on the stern, as it was just a short distance. I should mention that we almost always regret this, and today was no exception. And we should have known that he would make another escape attempt. So half way there, the eyebolt in the hull broke out and he got away. (The only good part of this equipment failure is that it really wasn't anyone's fault in particular, unlike the last time, but I won't go into that, preserving our collective dignities.)
This happened quite a while before we noticed it and we had to turn around chase it down in open water, while the wind was blowing it away, assisting the escape. Another boat moved in to intercept it, meaning we now had to communicate with them on the VHF, meaning the whole boating fleet in the Bahamas tuned into our embarrassment. We've been so ashamed we haven't shown our faces off the boat since. Well, except to go to town twice for groceries, happy hour and a BBQ dinner. We'll get over it, someday.