Friday 15th June 2018
I’m sure this has happened to more cruisers than will ever admit it; it’s certainly happened to us in the past. You wake up in the morning and your dinghy has gone walk about’s (missing)!
First thought “it’s been stolen” second and much more likely, “someone didn’t tie the painter on properly”.
While we were mored out at Line reef near the waterfall, in the Great Barrier Reef, one of our buddy boats awoke to find their dinghy missing.
The likelihood of it being stolen out here, hours from the nearest land, is pretty remote, someone (no names mentioned) more than likely didn’t tie it up and it made its escape.
Oyster people are quite a close group, and when one of us is in trouble there’s no shortage of offers of help. Another Oyster ‘SunSuSea’ came to the rescue and offered their spare dinghy.
In the meantime, while the dinghy-less vessel sailed back to the mainland, we, or rather Don, Stuart, Glenn & Bob set about doing what they could to locate the missing dinghy.
Of course it could have broken free after dark and possibly been floating on the current freely for maybe 10 – 12 hours, who knows where it could be by now, it was a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack, but the True Blue crew weren’t to be dissuaded.
Don called the local security on the SSB to give the details, and request a look out for the dinghy from other vessels in the vicinity. He also tried calling the other vessels that were showing on the AIS. Stuart went 96′ up the mast with the binoculars, to look further afield.
Bob and Glenn shot out in our dinghy to the outer reef where they had spotted something white that appeared to be stuck on the reef, it turned out to be a giant clam. After a couple of hours, our search was deemed hopeless, then we heard a message over the vhf announcing that a fishing vessel had picked up a loose dinghy 8 miles away. The owner of the fishing vessel, also the owner of the “fish & Rum bar” in town, attached the painter from the dinghy, and towed it all the way back to Line reef where we were waiting. The escapee was caught, and we towed it back to Airlie Beach to return it to it’s very grateful owner. That night all 10 of us dined at the “fish & Rum Bar”, a great restaurant, lovely food, and a kind and generous owner.