Today we took a break from all the home projects we are doing in order to get the house ready for renting. Sometimes you just need to remember why you are choosing this particular path in life, because this part of the process is such a lot of work and one leap of faith after another. I guess if it were easy, everyone would do it, or so I understand.
Lately we’ve both been feeling a little overwhelmed at how much we’ve bitten off for ourselves by moving our departure date up so significantly. It’s cramping us a lot more than we thought it would. All of the things we still need to get for Galapagos, like safety gear, a dinghy, and a life raft (only the very tip of that iceberg of a list), all need to be bought in a much smaller time frame. In addition, we will have to put several thousand dollars into getting our home ready to go, and our other financial obligations haven’t disappeared, either. Deeply into the yard landscaping re-do, a huge project, we both wanted to get away from the house for a day. We needed a little Galapagos time.
So we hopped down to Galapagos to spend the day on the boat and what did we find upon our arrival? Some thoughtful and generous fellow cruiser had left us a gift in the cockpit! No kidding! Someone left us a lovely gift of several books of cruising charts for the Strait of Georgia and other areas of British Columbia. I tell you what. This could not have happened at a better time for us. When things like that happen, I consider it a sign that we are doing the right thing and all will be well. It really made our month! Thank you, anonymous chart-giving fairy! We can really use that kind of encouragement about now. We appreciate the gift and will certainly pay it forward ourselves.
We had a perfect ‘light air sail’, which means we sat bobbing around Commencement Bay for a couple of hours enjoying the warmest fall day we can remember, then headed back to the dock. We were hoping to hail our new friends Donn and Kerry Christianson on their Baba 35 S/V Brigadoon, and take them up on their offer to try out their Portland Pudgy dinghy. Check out their blog. They have their own cunning plan.
The Portland Pudgy is an all purpose dinghy that can be used as a life raft. It’s also allegedly a good rowing dinghy. We need a new dinghy for Galapagos before we make the big left turn. Our Walker Bay is perfect for around here, but it’s probably not the right dinghy for what we want to do. If cruisers consider the dinghy their car, which they do, then our Walker Bay is the equivalent of a one speed bike, especially as we have no outboard motor on it. This summer on our trip to Vancouver Island it became clear many times that we at least need a good outboard unless we want to row really far all the time.
Most cruisers use an inflatable boat with an outboard but at this point we are not sure that we are ‘most cruisers’. With the Portland Pudgy, you get an unsinkable boat that is easy to row (unlike inflatables), that won’t get punctured, will take a long time to deteriorate from the sun, is dead stable, and that can be outfitted with a complete life raft system if you so desire. You can also get a sailing rig for it (which you can do with our Walker Bay as well) The whole thing is practical and well engineered.
We took Donn and Kerry’s out for a row and were very happy with how it performed. It’s not particularly light weight, but it rides high in the water unless it’s fully loaded. We really like that the seat can be positioned for one person in the boat, or for two, simply by flopping it over. And we also like that the oarlocks are easily repositioned and are well engineered so that you can really give the oars a good pull and they stay put in the oarlocks. We have trouble with that on our dinghy and it’s dead annnoying.
We found that the dinghy didn’t track as well with two people aboard, and it’s a beefy little boat so you really get an upper arm workout rowing two adults around. Still, the idea of this ‘one stop shopping’ kind of dinghy is appealing to us. Mike would love a sailing dinghy, and we both enjoy rowing as well. Still, these are not cheap. The basic boat is just under $3000. Add another $1300 for the sailing kit, and then add another $2000 if you want the life raft outfit. Running lights and electrical are another 500$. My eyes begin to glaze over until I think about the cost of a life raft all by itself: about $4000-$5000. And at that price, you hope you never have to use it. If we have to spend that kind of money, we could do worse than to get ourselves one of these.