Shortly after our arrival in Weems Creek, the perfect engine for our dinghy materialized on Craigslist, and arrangements were made to meet the seller at his house back in town, half an hour away. The routine hunt for needs in strange ports is old hat for seasoned cruisers, but being our first time, we braced ourselves for the predictable curve balls that boat life tends to throw one’s way. By the time we’d rowed to the dinghy landing we were already running late, so we Ubered the rest of the way. Morgan, the man selling the outboard, walked us through the innards of the engine and then insisted on giving us a lift back to the dock, which we gratefully accepted. The whole thing was painless, and included a bonus stop at the farmer’s market, where we bought as much produce as we could carry.
The next morning Brian mounted the outboard to the pudge. Unfortunately, our purchase had included neither gasoline nor a jerry can, so we set off early in search of those items. We’re becoming quick pros at the going to town routine: gather bags and anything else (trash, recycling) that needs to go ashore, find flip flops, throw life jackets in the dinghy, row to shore, secure dinghy, dry wet feet, put on walking shoes, fire up Google maps, and start walking. A short stroll through a residential area led us to a a quaint intersection with an auto garage, where the proprietor told us sorry, no jerry cans for sale. He pulled out a paper map of the town and patiently showed us our options – all miles away. Feeling like cruising failures, we acquiesced and hit the Uber button, bound for our very first trip ever to a West Marine store.
The West Marine experience cost us a ton and I don’t want to talk about it. Suffice to say, we’ll do our damnedest to proactively order from Defender from now on for the best quality, price, and service in the boat biz. With jerry cans in hand, we swung by the gas station then hoofed it back to the dinghy.We ran into our friends Vicky and Ed en route and drooled with envy over their folding bicycles.
Back on the boat, with gas mixed with oil in correct proportions, Brian pulled the flywheel for the starter and….. nothing. A few YouTube videos on outboard maintenance and some tinkering proved to be futile and Brian was losing patience right around the time our buds Jackie and Ron on s/v Hullabaloo came by in their dink. Ron generously offered to walk Brian through our engine. A few hours of troubleshooting revealed the diagnosis that our spark plug needed replacing – so we’ll be hitting the bricks again in the morning.
In spite of this setback, we’re in high spirits thanks to some really excellent new friends in our anchorage. We hosted sundowners last night with some other cruising bloggers (Vicky and Ed from Catching the Horizon, Jackie and Ron from Skelton Crew, and Chris and Jim from Mangoes, Marley, and Mermaids) had some good laughs together, and revolutionized selfie photography utilizing a bunch of bananas as a tripod (I think that was Jim’s idea – genius!). It’s those moments that make the schlepping worthwhile and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.