There are days as a cruiser when you feel really smart. Accomplished. Triumphant. It can result from making a long, safe passage or fixing an annoying, leaky hatch. Then there are the days when you do something so stupid, you don’t want to admit it to anyone. This is one of those days.
When Mike and I returned from our hike to the Depaz Distillery and found our dinghy stuck under the dock at St. Pierre, Martinique, we didn’t want to tell Mikayla. It’s one of those things that a teenager can use against you for years, much as we do with threats to bring out naked baby photos on prom night.
As our friend Hubert of s/v Bunter Vogel II dropped us off at Happy Times, Mikayla asked, “Where’s our dinghy?”
“It’s at the dock,” said Mike innocently.
“Why is at the dock?”
“It’s stuck underneath.”
Ah, the moment of truth has arrived already. Mikayla bursts out laughing as we explain what happened.
When Mike and I had left earlier in the day, he drove the dinghy to the town dock. At that time, the wind was blowing from the south. Even though we’ve always tied up on the southern side, where other dinghies usually were located, our dinghy bounced and jostled alongside the dock. I suggested using a stern anchor to keep it from banging around. Mike countered with an idea to tie up on the opposite side.
Five hours later, after our hike with Hubert and his wife Elizabeth, we walked back to the dock and found our dinghy squeezed underneath it like a ballpark frank stuck inside a hotdog bun.
Now some of you may be thinking, “Hmmm, Mike and Cheryl visited a rum distillery and then found their dinghy stuck under the dock.” Let me assure you that the research we conducted on rhum agricole had nothing to do with the condition of the dinghy. Years of aging in oak barrels had no effect on our cognitive processes. We had made a dingy decision. That’s it.
Half the dinghy–the end with the motor on it–was caught under the dock and refused to budge. The front end was free, but we knew we couldn’t leave it like that. The rising tide could pop the dinghy like a birthday balloon or chafe the fabric like a bad rash. So, we let some air out of the pontoons and then punched it completely under the dock where it lurked overnight with the crabs and fish.
The following morning our dink began peeping out from underneath its hidey-hole. As the tide started to go out, we heard it calling to us in a shrill, Mr. Bill-like voice, “Hey, come get me!”
Hubert suggested that perhaps our dinghy was very smart, because it had remained quite dry and safe while the other dinghies were soaked from another tropical shower.
We thanked Hubert for his role in our rescue operation, running us back and forth between Happy Times and the dock. He merely shrugged his shoulders and said, “That’s what cruisers do. We help each other out.”