Early last week, we woke to an approaching storm front. The rain passed through quickly, but the front brought with it a windshift to the NW, and boy, did it ever blow! Forecast was for winds gusting near gale force and that’s what we got: sustained winds in the mid 20’s with gusts into the 30’s. Fortunately, this mooring field offers decent protection from much wave build-up so we weren’t “rocking and rolling” like we might have been elsewhere, but we sure gave our mooring ball a test of its ground tackle!
We had anticipated a day stuck on board, so Ron and I were both keeping ourselves occupied–Ron with his Kindle, I with my knitting–until we received a call from our friend Don, aboard Ring of Fire. It was mid-afternoon, wind was steady at 23 mph, gusting to 36 mph, and he had just discovered that his dinghy was no longer tied to the stern of his boat.
Unless your boat is tied to a dock, a dinghy (or some small boat) is a must for making trips to shore. We have a small dinghy–capacity is 3 people but 2 is comfortable. Because the dinghy is small, we don’t need a large outboard engine. It serves us well in the conditions we use it. (If we cruised in the Bahamas, we would want a larger dinghy with a more powerful outboard engine.) When Ron took off in our small dinghy in the high winds, with the tide running, to pick up Don to head downwind to look for his dinghy, I was concerned. I watched through binoculars as they searched the mangroves at the east side of the harbor. About an hour later they were on their way back: no dinghy. They were soaking wet. Don was discouraged and ready to notify his insurance company.
On a mooring ball nearby are Jarel and Tammy aboard Osprey. They are from Indiana and we got to know them a bit while still at the boatyard, as they cheered on their Colts against the Patriots a couple of weeks ago. We launched around the same time and they are headed further south, once parts ordered arrive here at Fort Myers Beach. Osprey travels with a larger dinghy and more powerful outboard, and when they learned that Don’s dinghy had “gone walkies,” Jarel quickly launched their dinghy and went to search, thinking he might be able to travel more distance (and stay drier) as a lone person in his larger dinghy. We watched through binoculers as he headed to an area not far from where Ron and Don and searched and then, amazingly, saw what appeared to be a dinghy being towed back in the direction of the mooring field. It took Jarel a while to get back–it can’t have been easy trying to tow Don’s dinghy back upwind, against the tide. But he managed it and Don has his dinghy back! Don is being more careful securing his dinghy these days. And we are reminded that despite what it may seem while stuck in traffic on some of our roadways, there are still some really great, kind, and generous people in this world!