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  • Writer's pictureSteven Hopkinson

We were out diving in West End when...

Our dingy "Paw Patrol"

So we're in our dinghy, tied up to a mooring outside the barrier reef in about 45 feet of water, right above the wall, about to drop into the balmy, 84 degree seas on our second fun dive of the morning in West End, Roatan, when the Captain says "We're stuck in reverse." Looking at the not so calm waves bouncing our little hard-bottomed inflatable around, I know two things right about 1)- We're not doing a second dive and 2)- we're in for a tough workout.

The doggos chilling on board

See, we've got oars on board our dinghy. And our new dinghy even has oarlocks. So after troubleshooting the engine and determining it was beyond our ability to fix at the moment, we started taking turns rowing towards the fairly distant channel markers leading back inside the top reef into the West End anchorage/mooring field. It was difficult making headway against the fairly decent current, moving laterally was easier but going against the waves and against the wind was almost impossible. So we aimed for a nearby diveboat and while I was trying to keep the dinghy on a course, rowing backwards with both oars, Andrea called out the to Captain of the dive boat, "Ahoy, Capitan!"

Anniversary Dinner @ the always amazing Ibagari

A big guy who we learned was named Minor tossed us a rope and hauled us in, listening to our story with an easy smile. Once we were safe aboard the big dive boat, he hopped in and had a look at our engine, but he wasn't able to fix it, either. Once he saw how close our sailboat was, he untied from the mooring and brought us in, delivering Andrea to the side of City Dogs with speed and expert control. I dove off into the water and swam aboard, effusively thanking Minor as he turned and headed back out to the dive mooring.

The gorgeous Ibagari

We were lucky there were other dive boats out there. If we'd been alone we might still be rowing back! We're incredibly thankful to Minor from TGI Divers in West Bay, who really stepped up big time and saved us. He was our hero that day! A big thanks to Minor!!

But since we were down a dinghy engine and living on the hook in West End (having a great time diving, celebrating our anniversary, and having a blast), we had to head back around the end of the island back back up the south side to our slip at the marina in Parrot Tree. There, we had to start fixing things, like the dinghy engine, which turned out to be a bent pin and a relatively easy fix once we got it over to Lem in Oakridge.While he was fixing it, I had to look at the fridge drain pump, which had mysteriously stopped working. Like our electrician in Key West, Brent told us, you've got to be a detective on a boat, preternaturally curious, looking for answers like Sherlock Holmes. So, I got to work.

Foz playing ball back at Parrot Tree

So I checked and emptied the strainer first, then checked the hoses from the bottom of the fridge to the strainer, and then from the strainer to the seacock, but there were no blockages, nothing but empty hoses. So I closed the seacock, disconnected the hoses, clipped the 12V electrical wires to it and took the shower drain pump to pieces, then cleaned it up all nice and good and put it back together again (since we somehow don't have a service kit despite having three of these Jabsco shower drain pumps on board). And when I turned it back on, there was nothing at first. I was disappointed but not entirely surprised. Then I remembered that I'd forgotten to open the seacock. Once I opened it up, the pump worked fine, the fridge emptied in no time and I almost did the Dance of Joy.

The fridge shower drain pump pre cleaning

We're gonna go diving tomorrow on the north side of the island with the amazing guides at Subway Watersports in Turquoise Bay, hopefully slay some serious lionfish. Our spear hasn't tasted invasive species flesh in some time. West End has so many dive shops and hunters that I don't usually bother bringing mine out when we dive there (even though I do usually see one or two deep under shelves or tucked into little caves). Then we're gonna head out and go sailing for a while. First we'll go on up to Port Royal for a night, then we're planning on heading over to Guanaja, probably do some diving and snorkeling in the amazing waters near Michael's Rock, have a blast on the quiet side of what is a real gem of an island. After that it's hard to say, as sailors we're always a bit beholden to the will of the weather gods, so we're got to stay nimble, poised on the tips of our toes, ready to adapt with little notice.

Who you calling a Martian?


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