Monday, September 14, 2015

lost and found

When last I mentioned Twig, my missing dinghy that was basely stolen, I mentioned that I got another dinghy to take her place. And, as sad as I was to do it, a stout lock to deter thieves looking for an easy-to-take-and-use-or-sell item.

I was slated to go on a week long sailing trip with friends: it's a trip I take most years, and Himself decided to stay behind, feed the cats, and work on a few house projects.

On Saturday evening, he mentioned wanting to walk the breakwater Sunday morning. Should he wake me, or let me sleep? It's been ages since I walked the breakwater, and I agreed that he should wake me. Himself is a naturally early riser; I am not.

So, he awoke me gently on Sunday morning, and seeing that he had already tended to the cats, we set off for an early morning walk. There weren't a lot of people walking the breakwater at that time, and the day was brilliantly sunny.

About a third of the way out, there's a small floating dock, and as I glanced at it, I thought of a photo I had seen recently on Facebook that the local historical society had posted, showing this dock or more likely its earlier relative from a photo circa 1910. Like the photo, the dock that morning was empty and waiting.

We got to the end of the breakwater, took a moment to enjoy the view, and started back. Himself and I were having easy conversations about everything and nothing, when he stopped suddenly.

"Look left," he said. I did and saw nothing on the water as I gazed straight out.

"Look at the end of my walking stick," he said, after he noticed my gaze staring straight out. Like an obedient dog, I started at the end of his stick. Looked the same to me as it always had. Then again, i'm not a morning person and didn't have a cup of tea before we had gone on this walk. Realizing he needed to be Captain Obvious he said, "No, look beyond my stick."

We were just past that little floating dock, and I looked over. There was Twig.  She was tied off along the cleat, and the only difference I could see since i'd seen her last was that three of the small fenders I had on her port side were off. The three on the beam of her starboard side were still there, as was the two on either side of the bow. There was a pair of shoes with socks stuffed in them on the dock. I also noticed a single oar in Twig. I blinked a few times, but she was not a mirage.

Himself had his cell phone, so I used it to call the police. I couldn't remember the non-emergency number so called the emergency one, explaining it wasn't an emergency, but I needed to notify the police. The dispatcher was very kind, took down the phone number and told me someone would call back.

Meantime there was a young man fishing on the other side of the breakwater opposite the floating dock. I noticed him looking over, but didn't think much about it. We had taken Himself's car, and he was telling me his car wasn't wide enough for Twig, I ought to go back, take his car home, and come back with the truck. I ought to have my cell phone with me, too, in case he needed to call. We usually call it good if only one of us has a cell phone between the two of us if we go somewhere, and I hadn't bothered checking for mine. The last I recalled, it was in my purse, which was at home.

On the ride home, which seemed to be fraught with slow drivers, I needed a tissue and reached into my pocket. My cell phone was in there. So, I called Himself to let him know I was nearly home.  He had heard back from the police. They said we had the right to re-appropriate our stolen property, and that I needed to bring some extra line.

Once home, I grabbed my purse so i'd have my driver's licence. I was thankful I hadn't gotten pulled over for anything silly. I also grabbed the oarlocks, my pfd (life preserver), and a set of oars so I could row her to shore. It was low tide, so we'd  have to drag her a bit and I wondered if the path from the shore to the start of the breakwater was wide enough. If so, it would be just barely.

I was still in a bit of shock, and I was hoping Himself didn't have any run-ins with the person who'd rowed it there. After I parked the truck and made my way towards the breakwater, I broke out in full run. The first honest-to-goodness run I've done in over 10 years since breaking my leg. It wasn't until I ran up to Himself on shore that I realised I had run without nerve pain, and I mean without even a twinge. Perhaps it was endorphins. At any rate, I was glad of it.

Himself managed to walk Twig along the edge of the breakwater to shore, so I didn't need the oars or pfd. Two men who saw us carrying her came down to the beach and offered to help us carry her. We were glad for the help, and in no time had her by the truck.

Himself relayed the story to them as he had to nearly everyone who had passed by on the breakwater while he was waiting for the police to call him back. Our dinghy had been stolen, and today, voilĂ , there she was. We waited for the police to call us back, and they said it was fine for us to take it.

On the way home, after we had strapped Twig in for the ride, Himself mentioned the young man fishing. How he seemed really uncomfortable and suspected that he was the one who stole it. I said that might be true, or he may have bought it from the thief, and was now wondering how he'd get back to wherever without a dinghy. Neither of us checked to see if he had the missing oar in his possession, and frankly, I didn't care. I just wanted my dinghy back. I didn't want any kind of showdown incidents or posturing. Himself said I was too generous with my thinking. Perhaps I am. I just didn't see the point of making a Big Scene. Finding that which was lost and taking it home was plenty for me.

Twig is currently safely stowed for the rest of the sailing season. The new-to-me replacement dinghy will finish out the sailing season, and I'll decide whether it be best to keep her as well or sell her. As each dinghy only seats two, it may be nice to have a second dinghy on hand for the times we sail with four people on Retrouvé. Certainly not the worst problem to have.

Twig does have some bright yellow paint that wasn't there before and few new scratches. Other than the missing fenders, everything else was I left it. I did notice a lobster boat near Retrouve sporting three small fenders that were exactly the kind of Twig, and on the side of the boat, I saw some bright yellow trap markers. Now, these small fenders are as common as grains of sand, but seeing them along with the bright yellow paint did make me look twice and feel funny.

Before I shoved off on my sailing trip the next day, I managed to talk to Tug and let him know my dinghy had been found and reclaimed. He immediately started reeling off names to the lobstermen with him after I mentioned the fisherman who seemed fishing for ?? bait maybe? Or mackerel? I also quietly told him about the three small fenders I noticed that seemed new and the same yellow paint, pointing over to the boat's mooring, the boat itself now gone out to work. I acknowledged that it could be coincidence and didn't wish to implicate anyone. But, it does give one pause for thought.

I thanked Tug once again for looking at the security tapes. He was looking at the mooring, and I could see his mind working. He thanked me for letting him know, told me if I needed a skiff I was welcome to use his any time. I thanked him yet again, said my new-to-me dinghy was still on the float around the corner and I hoped I never had to take him up on his generous offer.

I am still amazed. Happily so.


  1. Miss Megan Marple. Good news. Maybe you should now put your sleuthful activities to finding the nasty little culprit.

    1. Yes, I could, but in the end, I doubt that my efforts would be worth it. If I find the culprit, then what? Press charges? Make Twig Exhibit A for the prosecution?

      I have sent the word that I recovered my dinghy; to the harbourmaster, to the police, and to a member of the fishing community. The last group self-regulates pretty well, and closes ranks if an outsider is seen as threatening one of their own. If indeed the thief is in that last group, as I suspect, those in his own group can do more to make things right than I can.