Last week, I woke up to find my dinghy had vanished in the middle of the night, leaving behind a neatly cut line.

Listening on the radio it seems like the big catamaran next to me had woken up in the night due to their dogs barking to find someone standing in their large dinghy with a 15HP motor trying to free it from the wire they had used to chain it to the boat. On being discovered, the person in the dinghy fell in the water while his friend (in a small skiff with one homemade paddle) paddled slowly away towards the rest of the fleet at anchor (including my boat).

Inexplicably, that boat crew then went back to bed, without bothering to sound the foghorn, shine a spotlight, bang pots and pans together or do anything to alert anyone else, meaning that the two thieves drifted the ~200 feet to my boat and stole my dinghy off the back. (can you tell I’m actually SUPER annoyed at the neighbouring boat).

Luckily I had my friend Davy staying who speaks really good Spanish, and another boat lent me their dinghy for a few days (everyone was really nice and I had several offers of dinghy loans and help). We spent the next couple of days going around the local fishermen and other local people who knew people, handing out bits of paper with my number on and showing them a picture of my dinghy.

And four days later, I got a call and went and pulled my dinghy off the beach!

The motor, fuel tank and oars were all gone (well, 1 and a half of the oars anyway) and the boat had two rotten fish in (which left a generous helping of maggots when moved) as well as a bunch of sliced up fishing net, meaning that I think the thieves probably stole a bunch of fishing gear out the ocean as well after they stole the boat.

I’m relieved to get the dinghy back, as that’s by far the hardest thing to replace. Not totally surprised it showed up – it’s basically useless for anything anyone local would want to use it for, and it’s really distinctive and weird looking. Surprised they even took the motor as well – it was only 4HP (way too small to drive a panga) and really not working super great. The only thing I can think of is that they were targetting the fancy dinghy on the catamaran next to me and then when they got disturbed they just grabbed the first thing they could find. Really bad luck all round.

I was going to replace the oars anyway and managed to find a deal on a pair of really nice oars – cost me 40CAD for the pair!

They row way nicer than the old ones but are too big to store easily, so I need to find a way to make them disassemble without affecting the strength. I am also going to beef up the oarlocks at some point.

I was going to hold off getting an engine till next season – but then someone was selling a Tohatsu 3.5HP 2 stroke for really cheap (125CAD!) so I had to grab it.

It’s a total piece of garbage, that is made out of more rust than metal at this point but I love it. Somehow it puts out more power than the old 4HP Evinrude and starts 2nd or 3rd pull every time. Somehow.

The throttle is on the engine itself, not the tiller for god knows what reason, so changing speed involves using both hands and turning around while motoring fast and hoping you don’t hit anything. Also the throttle lever doesn’t stay in the right place so you have to use a bungie to hold it up. And it only runs with the choke left wide open permanently, in complete opposite to how it’s supposed to work. And the spark plugs appear rusted in place. And it chuffs out white smoke constantly. Also doesn’t really turn to the left.

On the plus side it has a kill switch unlike my old one, it’s still light enough to one hand despite being made of mostly metal and has an internal fuel tank so I don’t have to buy a new external fuel tank/fuel line (although I’d prefer an external one).

I am leaving for Mazatlan very very soon (today or tomorrow) so I am really not going to get to use it much, but next season (or in Mazatlan if I have a break from prepping the boat) I will give it a good service and see if I can stop it being so explody-sounding or belch less white smoke. 125CAD though!

And ~two weeks till Canada!


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