Aug 29

Misadventures with Slurpy Part 3

Tag: boat work,failures,humorous,victoriesJonathon Haradon @ 8:51 pm

Part 3

(refers to events on July 11th)

“Syzygy, Syzygy, this the Gendarmarie.”  cracked the VHF in a heavy and thick French accent.  So thick, it was almost impossible to tell they were calling us.  My heart quickened as I glanced at Karen while answering.

“Gendarmarie.  this is Syzygy.  Want to go up one?”  I said, asking if they wanted to go to another channel.  They didn’t understand.

There was only one reason I thought they could be calling however.  They must have our dinghy!

“Syzygy.  We haz yur zodiac.”  Sweet!!!!!

The gendarmarie wanted us to report to them immediately.  Apparently, we were supposed to check in with them four days ago when we arrived in Rangiroa.  Technically we were outlaws.  Outlaws in the land of Rangiroa.  But they were pretty laid back about it.  They were, however, now effectively holding our dinghy hostage until we officially checked in.

We went ashore at 1 pm, the gendarmarie meeting us at the docks.  We were 30 minutes earlier than our scheduled arrival time.  They were a little too in a hurry for me.  We piled into the back of the car, and I couldn’t help but think we must look like fugitives to those whom we passed on the drive.  But they were pleasant enough and once we had officially checked in, the police chief himself took us to the restaurant/pension where our dinghy was.

And there it was!  Looking perfectly fine.  The engine was still there, though the fuel tank had mysteriously gone missing.  The oars were still there, as was snorkeling gear.  But no fuel tank.  Odd we thought, but if that’s the price, we easily acquiesce to that finder’s cost.

After a round of drinks, we began to contemplate our return.   There was the matter, however, of how to get the dingy back to our boat.  With no fuel, we couldn’t run the engine, and well, our outboard is a piece of shit anyway and probably couldn’t handle that.  Matt however, thought we could easily row back on our own.  Karen came down on the side of deflating the dinghy and getting a taxi.  I sided with Matt encouraged by appeal that it would be a fun team building exercise.  He seemed jazzed about the idea and so I was for it simply because he was jazzed about something.  So we pushed the dinghy into the water and began to row.

We rowed and rowed and rowed.  It quickly became apparent this was not going to be an exercise in team-building, but an exercise in futility.  We were taking on more water than we used to; there must be a leak somewhere.  There was no seat through the middle so the rower couldn’t sit properly.  We have miserable oarlocks and soft bottomed dinghy, both of which reduce the ability to row effectively.  We were fighting the current.  We were going against the prevailing wind.  This was a terrible idea.

After thirty minutes, we had made maybe 100 yards of progress.  I think that is generous. Karen was the first to get out of the dinghy and try to swim along and push the dinghy.  This didn’t work so well.  I took a turn at rowing.  It was miserable.  So then I hopped out, tied the painter line around me and began swimming in front of the boat pulling it along.  With Matt rowing and Karen bailing, this was our best method and we managed to increase our speed to about 300 yards per 30 minutes.  At this rate, it would take us over eight hours to get back to our boat.  Clearly, we were bumfuzzling idiots.  Well, maybe just Matt and me who originally thought this would be fun.  Karen, smartly, had never thought this was a good idea.

Luckily for us, another couple was motoring nearby in their dinghy looking for someplace to eat.  They took pity on us, and told us they would tow us back to our boat.  THANK YOU!

It still took us nearly an hour to get back.  Matt insisted we row to help us along.  I’m not sure how much it helped, though it made me feel more in control and helpful.  It also made me feel ridiculous.

Back at our boat, we begged them to let us thank them with some gift and ended up promising to deliver some movies and books to them in thanks sometime in the next couple of days.  We plopped down in various places on our boat, exhausted both mentally and physically from the ordeal.  The dinghy had yet again gotten the better of us.  So despite that we got the dinghy back to our boat, and could be happy at not having to buy a new dinghy, (the P.O.S. engine might be another thing) it still didn’t feel much like a victory.

Misadventures part 3: monetary success.  emotional failure.

Leave a Reply