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#WaterAid The artwork above is available as a print - get yours here

...continuing from WEIRD THINGS HAPPEN AT SEA << click here to read related story.

There are no prizes for guessing where the wind was blowing from again. Yes, you got it - obviously from windward - where the [desired] destination awaits. So we turned on the engine, hoping we would make landfall on time, and for a good while we believed we would.


The log doesn't lie. At 1430 hours the engine died. Only two hours from Falmouth - so close, in a small boat, maritime sort of way.

Checking our charts and our position, we spotted a potential 'emergency anchorage'. And we could actually see a beach in the horizon.

Alright, I though - there's only one thing to do. We will anchor at the beach, set the dinghy up, row ashore, walk to the main road, ask where the nearest petrol station is, get there, get some diesel (we had other 2x empty, 5 litre, spare cans - for emergencies... like this?!), get back aboard, refuel, bleed the engine and carry on to Falmouth... easy-peasy...

Scary how 'only 1 thing' can sober you up when you break it down...

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I have always maintained that there's a very fine line between madness and genius. And that you do need a boatload of naivety to start something grand. Well, the following only goes to show you exactly that.

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The wind was nearly non-existent now - very, very light. The sailing - excruciatingly slow towards the beach; full [flapping] sails up. So slow The Admiral went down below and came back with a book!

Great! The idea was perhaps to make me look like a moron... which I was - and it was working a treat. To be fair, there was not much else to do, really.

Fast-forward a couple of hours and we were anchoring - as close to the beach as I thought safe - still, about 200 metres/yards or so.

We carried, at the time, a 'collapsible wooden dinghy' - bought second-hand and 'reformed', which I still think is an absolute great invention, and it worked quite well for us.. for a little while.

After getting it out and setting it up for the trip ashore, we realized one of the wooden slates at the bottom of our tender was ..."a little loose".. and even over the relative short distance we had to row, it became evident it wasn´t going to be a smooth ride.

In other words, water was coming in. Fast.

Will we be able to make it to the beach? Well, the beach was now probably the same distance from the boat - so we have to try! I started rowing like a mad person while The Admiral tried to bail the water out like a mad person.

5, 10 minutes.. I think W E W I L L S I N K - I've got water up my knees already! I'm tired of rowing and we are moving heavy and slow!

rOw, RoW, roW


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We made it! Just about!

No, WE ACTUALLY SUNK. It just happened to be land under us. Either way you look at it - we are now at the beach! We will succeed!

We - will - succeed. FLW (famous last words).




At the beach, not far from where we - ermmm - 'beached'.. we could see a large family to the left. Mum, toddlers and two or three teenagers. We went up to them and asked about the petrol station.

The answer? 'You need to go up the main road, mate, 5 miles 'that way'!'

Hmmm.. OK. Not only I'm now looking at walking 10 miles, 5 of which with 10 litres of diesel in tow, but I'm actually walking 5 miles sort of EAST, when Falmouth is... sort of WEST!

Nevermind. At least I know full well what 5 miles (each way) mean. I had spent the last three years of my life walking to/fro work - under sun, rain or snow - all in order to save money to buy a boat, and it was just about 5 miles each way. Everyday.

So I know I can make 5M in under 1 hour. The kids said the garage is normally open until about 9pm so, providing they knew what they were talking about, there was plenty of time..

After carefully considering our options (what took about 2 secs max.) I decided to give it a go.

As we marched out to the main road you could see a little car park, and people getting into their cars. I sprinted towards a couple and explained them our predicament. If they could confirm there was indeed a petrol station 'due East' I would feel much more confident. As honest as the boys at the beach seemed to be, I was not keen on falling prey to a kidster prank today. Cheers.

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It turned out the-car-park-couple were also sailors and immediately identified with our story. And without hesitation, they offered to take us there and back! It would be getting dark soon they said, and apart from the main road, there's absolutely nothing around, no even a sidewalk! Wow.

In the comfort of the car, getting acquainted with our newly acquired friends, we came to think we were sorted. Even lucky! These were nice, honest people, afterall - and we would not have met them if.. well, if I wasn't so downright stupid, of course. But alright, things were looking brighter now.

At the station I got the cans out and went on to the Diesel pump.


The stuff coming out of the pump was exactly the same - in color, viscosity and smell, to that what we have plenty in the jerry cans back at the boat!!!

We have, in the end, plenty of diesel aboard - just no clue about it!!!!

For a moment I didn't know if to cry or laugh.. but went for laughing.. lets save the tears for when we get lost in a desert or something.

OBVIOUSLY we never mentioned this to our helpers - that we actually had diesel aboard but were just TOO THICK to know it.. too shameful!

There and then I told and made The Admiral swear that no one, NO ONE, N-O O-N-E can ever E V E R know the truth - lets keep my imbecility to ourselves, shall we?! Wink-wink - and we smiled silly smiles.

Having bought an apple and paid for the diesel we didn't actually need, the good couple took us back to the car park. We exchanged phone numbers (lost overboard on a separate incident - don't ask), thanked them vehemently, and started making our way to the beach.

'Not long now', I muttered.. we only need to somehow manage not to sink for another 20 minutes or so, and when we get to Falmouth we will fix the dinghy properly and buy a new one - inflatable this time, just to be sure..

I should learn to keep my mouth shut!

I was already mentally going through the straight-forward but painful process of "bleeding the engine" when getting back to the boat (whenever the tank runs empty, amongst other things, it is not just a matter of filling up; one needs to bleed air bubbles out of the engine's delivery pipes to start the engine again - a process I have come to hate as it invariably leaves you either hanging upside-down half-way inside the engine compartment, full of grease, or diesel gets squirted everywhere - or all three), when something at the beach violently pulled me back from my daydream and made my heart sink.

'WHERE IS THE DINGHY', I asked out loud. WHERE IS THE DINGHY?????? N O O O O O O OOOOOOOO!!!! 'Somebody stole it!!!!'


The oars were still where we left them, but not the boat..!

What to do now??? We are in the middle of a deserted beach, 5 miles away from everywhere AND, our home, about 200 meters away, bobbing around at sea. How do we get there?

To be continued....




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