A full one day in to our new journey, trouble found us. We took the dinghy about four miles to a spot on the island where we could tie it off and walk to our favorite beach.
The water was blue and the sand was white. We reveled in our return to the good life, spending the day walking the shoreline and sitting in beach chairs just taking it all in.
When we had enough of the mid-day sun, we walked back across to island to find a horrible sight. Our dinghy had exploded. Total seam failure, Kaboom, busted, dead. It was a sad and flaccid sight.
We managed to limp back to the boat with one side inflated and one side deflated. Anyone remember the chapter titled “Deflatables” in Poop, Booze, and Bikinis?”
I made a valiant effort to save the day. My friend Jamie rounded up all the clamps that could be had in Pelican Bay. I glopped a bunch of adhesive inside the seam. The hole was big enough to put my hand through. I back up each side of the seam with some shims that I had on board, (Lord know why).
I left it clamped for a full 24 hours. We were stranded for the day. The next day I removed the clamps and reinflated the infernal contraption. It Held! No way! It did indeed hold the seam together and it wasn’t leaking. Off we went to play in paradise. Then POP, another seam gave out. Then BOOM, the tube separated from the hull and she started to take on water. Ugh, the rescue of our dinghy was not to be. It’s too far gone.
To shorten up this tale, I called West Marine in Punta Gorda about a Fourth of July sale on dinghies. 250 bucks off on the 10 foot RIB. Sunday the last day. Soooo, we loaded up the wreckage and set off for Punta Gorda this morning. I rowed the crippled craft ashore at Gilchrest Park. A GREAT friend picked me up in his huge van and off we went to purchase a brand new little boat. He hauled the old one off, bound for a dumpster.
Kim and I are torn between being the proud owners of a brand new dinghy, and having spent such a huge chunk of our cruising kitty in one shot. But a decent dinghy is an absolute necessity when you intend to live at anchor. Let’s hope this one lasts a long time.
Tomorrow I’ll go up town and get it registered. As soon as I complete that we are out of here – again. Just a little bump in the road.