The Glasgow Call To Prayer
08 September 2020
A while ago, perhaps around this time last year, somewhere on our wander through Indonesia, one of our cruising buddies told us over a beer, how he conclusively proved he was incapable of rubbing his stomach while patting his head. His unwitting experiment involved sitting on the wrong side of the dinghy, engaging gear, then trying to apply a gentle twist to the throttle to elegantly power away from the dock.
If you’ve ever tried this, you won’t be surprised to learn that he and his missus, instead of cruising quietly off back to the boat, instead, went from zero to full speed and right way up to wrong way up faster than you could say “ohhhh shiiiit”.
Having forgotten to use the kill cord, not only were they both now in the water, she, safely under the dinghy, safely, as upstairs, the prop was going like a liquidiser and not somewhere you’d want to put any pink, rubbery flesh unless you fancied a painful Strawberry McFlurry.
Eventually the engine gurgled its last gasp, stopped and the drookit pair were able to look around, make sure no one had seen them and then sort themselves out, never to run the outboard from the wrong side of the dinghy again and never again without a kill cord.
So, when we got back to the dinghy yesterday after yet another COVID sponsored marathon around the backstreets and cafes of Langkawi......we walked a hundred and nine miles last month according to STEPS (the app, not the girl band), this incident and its hard won lesson came back to mind.
In our absence, the afternoon thermal breeze had kicked in and the tour boats on the windward side of the “marina” had blown back in towards the small dinghy dock, effectively closing our exit. On one side we had a wayward kayak and the jaggy bits of the pontoons, on the other, the sharp and pointy ends of two pairs of raised Suzuki 150hp outboards. Gentleman that I am, I switched sides to let Anne tug and pull at the smaller kayak while I moved over to the wrong side to deal with the outboards, planning to push the outboards out the way and gently ease ourselves through the gap.
Now, it’s not that I’m learning challenged as I absolutely remember thinking, “hey Stupid. You’re on the wrong side now. Remember what happened to (fill in your own names). Be very careful.”
A millisecond or two later, after only the slightest twitch of the throttle, there was a sudden whoosh and a roar and we flew through the gap like a cork out a bottle, totally out of control. Feverishly twisting the throttle in both directions seemed only to make the demented demon we were aboard accelerate even harder until common sense kicked in and I just let throttle go.
Unfortunately, the whoosh and the roar was accompanied by a distinctive ripping sound, which was either Anne breaking wind in fright or, as it turned out and as I suspected, was what tearing Hypalon sounds like. Quite similar to the sound of handfuls of one hundred Ringgit notes being torn up as well I suspect.
As we sat there half afloat like a punctured and discarded party balloon, staring at a giant slash in the tube, I let out what might be known as a “Glasgow Call To Prayer”. It sounds just like the mosques’ call to prayer. Just add expletives.