Saturday, September 29, 2012

Old Salts

Yesterday as we were motoring over to Peake's (the boatyard where Wandering Dolphin is still on the hard) from the marina where we are staying on Sweetest Thing, the dingy sputtered and died... The heat was horrible, four or five futile pulls on the starter cord and I knew I would pass out in minutes if I kept trying.  We began to paddle for the nearest dock and along came another cruiser in his dingy, he threw us a line and towed us to the fuel dock.  This is pretty common practice among cruisers, everyone knows that sooner or later they will be the unfortunate paddler needing a tow.

The dingy had been sitting in the water for a couple of months and had filled to the top several times with water from the torrential afternoon Trinidad rains, so I suspected water in the fuel.  We dumped out (in the fuel dump container) the couple of gallons in the tank, and refilled with new fuel.  I set about pulling to get the new fuel into the system and about-the time I was ready to die she fired up for ten seconds.  I started to pull again with renewed vigor until I lay back in the dingy, dripping sweat, my head throbbing in the tropical heat.  I looked over at the little shoreside pub and saw a couple of old salty cruisers.  The look on their faces was not the, "you dumb moron, should have taken better care of that dingy..." Look that a lot of cruisers give.  They looked at us with real sympathy mixed with a little humor.  We were the afternoon reality show that went along with beer time.  I said to Beck,

"Ok time to take a break before I literally die.  Lets go get a drink."

We tugged the dingy over to the pub dock and walked up to those fellas shaking our heads.  These two were a hoot!  We spent an hour listening to their tales of the Far East.

At one point Jeff, who had just finished his circumnavigation, said,

"In Bali I hit a ship."
" You hit a ship, or you got hit by a ship?" I asked while laughing.
" Oh no, I hit the ship!  T-boned it." He said with a smile

We bought them each a beer and enjoyed listening to their self depreciating banter and I realized something.  For the last couple of years we have kind of withdrawn from the cruiser community. It had become boring to constantly listen to the same old stuff.  Weather windows, or boat breakdowns.   Inmost cases cruisers are trying to one up each other with horror stories or looking for any chance to show their superior knowledge.  These guys had crossed oceans, mostly alone and obviously could have lectured us on caring for the outboard, or offered us advice on topics we already knew, but instead they commiserated with us, they knew what it was like to simply put off the maintenance on the outboard because it was still running and other things took priority.  They told us tales of their misadventures, where the joke was on them and they were the bozo who had run aground in a shipping channel, or t-boned an anchored ship in broad daylight.

When Jeff offered to give us a tow over to the marina where Sweetest Thing was docked, we accepted.  He went off to get his dingy, which was at a different dingy dock.  His buddy looked at Beck and said with a grin,

" I have a big dingy with a large outboard and could easily give you a tow, but I really want to see how Jeff plans to do this."

About that time Jeff came puttering around the corner in a little tiny Walker Bay hard dingy with a 3hp motor.  We smiled and gave him the line and he pulled our 12 ft Flexboat with our sick 25hp motor to our dingy dock across the harbor. It was a slow tow and the whole time he told us tales of Thailand and Indonesia.  He longed to go back and planned to sail across the Pacific again just to go back to his favorite anchorage.

Our misfortune with the outboard turned into a delightful afternoon with a couple of great sailors.

Thanks Guys!
Captain Tofer and Rebecca