My first thought the moment after our outboard fell off the dinghy while careening through the wakes and wavelets of San Diego bay was, "huh". It was a curious "huh", as in "how the heckin' heck did that happen? Was it this, that, or the other thing?"
Two other thoughts, right on top of that first profound thought where, "Do I have all the bits and pieces of my body that I am supposed to have?" followed by, "Well, som' bitch."
"Uh, Dad?" floated over my shoulder as I looked down into the water where the outboard had been. The whole family was on board. It was the exact same tone used when that phrase is followed by, "Can you please pass the ketchup?" Nothing phases these kids.
Fortunately the motor was tied to the dinghy with a safety line so we still had it, sort of. I imagined the motor still running ten feet below the water as I watched that safety line twitch around a bit. My rational for having a safety line is to catch the motor if it slips while we are lowering it from Mango to the dinghy or lifting it up to Mango. I hadn't thought a safety line would be useful while running the dinghy because if I had thought of that, surely my next thought would have been to just tighten up the screws that keep the motor attached to the boat. Alas.
I hauled the motor up, definitely not running, and plopped it into the dinghy. Looking at the motor, it looked fine, just sleeping. Tired. Naturally the sun immediately dropped, and it was dark, much like in old cartoons when the sun barely bobs up for a second, then plunges below the horizon while the moon happily takes it's place, smiling.
Kristen began to row, but within about five minutes a nut popped off an oar lock and into the water, so E and I began to paddle our extra-wide canoe out of the shipping lanes and closer to shore. I called the harbor patrol, but we were not in mortal danger. I called vessel assist, and that would have run us about $400. So we paddled.
Fortunately a super nice family did a double take as they zoomed past us in their cute fishing boat, and gave us a tow back to Mango. Whew!
That night I took the motor apart, emptied it of water, changed the oil a few times, sprayed WD-40 everywhere, checked spark, cleaned out the carb and changed the fuel. I got nothing but a few back fires. The next morning a friend and I did the same thing all over again, same results. The morning after that, a second new friend came over, and we did the same thing again, same results. Out of friends and hope, we took it to the Dinghy Doctor yesterday. They should call back today, and we will see.
At least no one was hurt, thank goodness.
October 26th, 2016