Took the dinghy to the Hulumale jetty this morning, accompanied by Brian and Deb of ‘Chinook’. Nipped into town for a coffee before catching the first ferry to Male and, just before doing so, quickly wandered back to the dinghy to check it was ok. Before we’d even got there we knew something was wrong. Waves were splashing up the side of the wall and a group of local lads was looking over the wall, pointing. There, still tied to the wall, were our Portabote and Chinook’s Walker Bay, completely submerged.
The high spring tide and oncoming low had battered our dinghies against the harbour wall. They had no chance. Even our outboard was under water! Fortunately both of these dinghies are built with floatation devices so, despite the fact they were full, they were still on the surface. The local boys, bless them, all jumped up and helped us tip each boat in turn to empty them. Liz had attempting bailing but for every bucket of water she ejected it was replaced with another wave. The choppy seas smashing against the steps made even holding on to the dinghy a battle.
We’d timed our return just right (depending upon how you look at it) because the oars had worked themselves loose and one was washed out and into the chop. This was expertly rescued by one of the ferry operators who hung off the side of his boat and, using an odd-looking but clearly well designed boat hook, hoisted it from the water. This was all over so quickly I didn’t have time to take a photo of the submerged tenders.
The problem now, however, was getting the engine to start after its aquatic baptism. And the sea was so lumpy there was no way we were going to attempt to row back to Esper, even if it was only 200m away. We’d been offered lifts from passing taxis but it was just too rough to do anything, so we took it in turns standing at the end of the jetty holding on the painter. For two hours. It took that long for the tide to turn and the seas to settle a little. Just enough for Brian to drop Deb off and return to tow us back to Esper. We’d managed to turn the engine and it even ran but it gave up every time it was put in gear. I’d even started to row away from the jetty and was making fine progress at around 0.05 knots but Brian took our line and towed us.
Brian’s expert seamanship, with throttle in one hand and our painter in the other, soon had us back aboard Esper. I do remember him shouting something about not putting this picture on Facebook but it was windy and I think I misheard.