What did we take our friends to shore to do? Laundry of course. Having spent three days of air travel trying to get here, Crystal and Kevin had already stacked up a bit of laundry between the two of them. When Crystal asked me what we do with our laundry, I had no choice but to break the bad news: we do it by hand, in buckets. But luckily, today we have sinks on shore with a spigot of free flowing water! Luxury.
Andrew had some boat work to do, so he dropped us off on shore to do laundry. Crystal is a laundry machine. Within just minutes she has all her laundry soaked, soaped, and she is elbow deep in suds scrubbing fabric against fabric to jostle the airport stank out of their clothing. Looking over my shoulder, I notice she has made a significant dent in her pile while I mosey through my batch of clothes as if I have nothing better to do all day long. I am adapting to island time.
Finishing more quickly than anticipated, we hail Andrew on our mobile VHF to come get us. Pretty soon, we see him zooming across the bay with Grin throwing out a solid wake and planing like a ski boat. As Andrew nears the quay, with its tangle of bouys, dinghies, and fishing poles, he doesn’t slow down; in fact, he speeds up.
“What the hell is he doing?” I think to myself, at the same time I notice confusion, a flash of panic, then terror spread over his otherwise deadpan face. The engine revs even higher, Andrew swerves and Grin fishtails. Fear grips my stomach and I think I am about to watch my husband die. The space between Grin and the dock is closing in so quickly now it seems like just seconds until Grin’s bow smashes into the quay and Andrew is thrown face first into the cement. Time slows down, and I am completely helpless standing on land. I duck beneath my hands, run in the opposite direction and shriek “Don’t die! DON’T DIE!!!”
What else could I do?
Our friends look from Andrew to me, and back to Andrew. Crystal (being the fabulous nurse that she is) begins to head in Andrew’s direction, Kevin just watches. Suddenly, Andrew cuts the motor and silence falls over the dock. The locals mill in the direction of the commotion, curious to see what is going on. I am cussing and pacing around in circles: “God damn it! What the hell? God damn dinghy motor is going to kill someone! This is why we should fix the damn thing or just row!” My heart is still pounding and now I am nauseous. In the meantime, Andrew pulls out an oar and moves to the front of Grin as if nothing happened. Sitting on the front seat, he paddles on one side, then the other, because we have two mismatched paddles that cannot be rowed like a normal rowboat.
By the time he reaches the dock, Crystal is doing her best imitation of me running in the opposite direction yelling instructions that Andrew not die. “What? I had it under control. Everything is fine,” Andrew explains with his “obviously everything is fine” tone of voice. And with that, my fire breathing dragon lady wakes. I take my laundry and put it in Grin. With the biggest smile and the most cheerful voice I can muster, I tell Crystal and Kevin they are welcome to stay on land to use their suspension trainer if they would like more time away from the rocking boat. I offer to hang up their laundry for them, and I get into Grin.
Andrew gets into Grin and moves to pull the cord to start the motor. I am already paddling from the front - one or two strokes each on the right then the left, zigging Grin back and forth through the anchorage. “Are you insane?” I ask Andrew. “What the hell is wrong with you? If you start that motor I am jumping out of this death trap.” Andrew continues to work toward his task of starting the motor again. “I will jump out! Do not start that motor. What the hell happened anyway?” I ask as I row at a brisk pace.
Andrew explains he was trying to fix the motor when we called him for a pick up. He had fixed the gear shift enough that now he could use the hand lever to shift from neutral into forward (rather than having to open the engine and push the gear), but he didn’t realize that the gear would not shift back into neutral until he was about 25 feet from the quay. When it wouldn’t shift into neutral, he tried to turn the gear the other way, but of course that just opened the throttle.
We arrive back at Sonrisa and I throw the laundry on deck. I set about the task of hanging all the laundry to dry while I explain to Andrew that I do not want to watch him die on this trip. He scared me! And, heading out from Sonrisa in a dinghy with a fluky motor that cannot be trusted is asking for trouble. He gives me a hug and apologizes for scaring me. He does not, however, promise not to use the dinghy motor - probably because he doesn’t want to be referred to as the Rowersons. At this point, I am considering boycotting Grin, but that leaves me with only one option to get to shore: swimming. So, after the laundry is all hung up, I return to Grin to meet our friends for lunch (poisson cru with coconut milk and rice), exploration of artisan crafts, and drinks at the Pearl Lodge.