As cruisers, our dinghies are a lifeline. So when we heard from our friends on Ceilydh this morning that yesterday’s beautiful day had ended on a sour note when their dinghy was stolen, we had an inkling of the kind of gut punch it probably felt like.
As I can draw a finger along the path of our travels, there are only a handful places where we didn’t spend our nights at anchor. We have a few options for going ashore, but the dinghy is our fundamental mode of transportation. And every once in a while, bad things happen to good dinghies.
Although we felt safer in Mexico than we have pretty much anywhere, there were a couple of places where petty theft could be a problem and it was imprudent to leave your dinghy in the water overnight. Word gets out on the “coconut telegraph” about hot spots. Lock the outboard, lock the dinghy to the boat, and haul them up in one manner or another. We would generally just use a halyard clipped into a webbing harness Jamie made for the dinghy and pull it up to about deck height, rather than going through the full stowage procedure. The über cautious (or those that don’t like cleaning dinghy bottoms!) haul theirs every time.
On shore as well, security was only occasionally an issue. In locales where it was, there was generally an enterprising person you could pay to watch your tender and ensure it would be there waiting for you after a shore trip. If not, we’d just turn it into a shuttle, and split up our trips.
It’s kind of a bummer that here, in what has felt like such a safe place, we seem to be around a dinghy hotspot. I’m not sure how often it happens, but it’s occurred twice to people we know- and that’s really more than enough. In Mexico, petty theft probably meant a meaningful income to the perpetrators. What appears to be the happening here skews toward hooliganism and joy rides, the by product of people who are probably just bored or drunk. It’s a lot harder to forgive.
Ceilydh has an inflatable kayak, but that’s not really effective as the single mode of shore transport for their busy family. So today, instead of enjoying a leisurely Mother’s Day, they were renting a car to tool around SE Queensland in search of a dinghy and outboard to purchase.
Some dinghies at the Brisbane city dock are locked, and some aren’t. We have had a far from a perfect record of locking ours, although I suspect we’ll be better now.