14 August 2008 | Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
We have a new dinghy now. Much as I like rowing dinghies, the Dark Dinghy (which folds for easy storage) is not the easiest dinghy to row. A stiffer (non-folding) and heavier dinghy would row better, but I haven't seen any really good rowing dinghies in the parts of Europe I've been to. So I bought an inflatable with an outboard engine (not shown) from another cruiser. This inflatable dinghy, made in China, sold in Portugal by Honda, uses unusual Florida-made valves, for which pumps are hard to find (which is why it is not fully inflated in the picture). I'm working on getting a pump adapted to fit the valves.
There is a very sad story associated with this dinghy. The fibreglass ketch it was from belonged to a couple of Dutch guys who had been here in Las Palmas for a while, and recently left for Puerto Mogan (south part of this island), Cape Verde and Brazil. Their first day out, two miles off the Gran Canaria shore, black smoke began pouring out from down below and, after trying unsuccessfully to fight the fire, they escaped in the dinghy and the fibreglass ketch sank. It is not known what caused the fire, though something related to a recent engine replacement was suspected. The water is too deep for diving, so they will never know. They found themselves on a beach with a dinghy and motor and not much else, and when they got back to Las Palmas, wanted to sell the dinghy. We've done a lot of things to Issuma to protect against fire (replaced all the fire extinguishers, fireproofed the engine compartment, added fuses to the main wires off the batteries), due to stories like this one.