It’s not just a rubber transport, it’s more of a magic carpet. Looking at the photos from our time at Devil’s-Hoffman in the Berry Islands, Bahamas, I felt inspired to share a little about … the magic of a dinghy ride.
For those who haven’t yet bought a boat, or haven’t yet set off on an extended cruise, haven’t truly lived aboard for a few months in foreign places, you may not know what majestic wonders your dinghy has in store for you. As a cruiser, your dinghy is your ticket to shore. It is most often the vessel that carries you to a place you have never been before. It also brings you down, almost eye-level with the waters you are anchored in and often shows you for the first time the clarity of the water, the depth, the varied grass, rock, or sand that lies beneath you.
It brings you closer to the marine life that is swimming, living, sleeping below you, even the Thalassophobian-creatures that might lurk beneath. Phillip and I have seen starfish, reef sharks, and sea turtles, creatures very foreign to us at home, all while riding in the dinghy.
Every time we pump up the dinghy and hop in to ride to a new shore I can feel my heart striking up a feisty chord. The new-ness of the places we travel to is what we crave. Phillip and I both have a passion for seeing, experiencing, eating, and immersing ourselves in things new. And, it is often the dinghy that takes us there, to a new beach, where we walk a new shore, follow a new trail (sometimes after eight false starts), and find a new blue hole we have never seen before. The feeling of experiencing something for the first time—a place, a song, a person, a dish, a creature, flower, scene, sight, smell. The newness of it all captivates us. And, often it is all made possible solely by the dinghy.
Even in local, familiar anchorages, our dinghy offers us that 5 o’clock buzz around the anchorage, with a drink (better known as a “roadie”) in hand—always—where we stop boat-to-boat and catch up with, or meet for the first time, our eclectic, inspiring fellow cruisers out there.
The dinghy is what enables us to connect with those around us, otherwise we would be isolated on the boat, never introducing ourselves to those around us, getting to know them, and letting them get to know us. In an anchorage, that all happens by dinghy.
So, yes, while it is just Hypalon, valves, and glue … to some. Our dinghy (lovingly named “Dicta” on Plaintiff’s Rest) is so much more. The thrill of our dinghy ride into Hoffman’s Cay in the Berries to dive the blue hole made me realize how much I appreciate, and look forward to, the moment Phillip and I load into the dinghy and set off to a new place, and it inspired me to share with you all just how many roles—in addition to a magic carpet—that our dinghy plays for us.
A conch-scavenging vehicle:
An any-reef, any-time scuba stop:
A protector from potentially-unfriendly foes : (
A keeper of gathered goodies:
A source of entertainment (pumping 7” of water out after a pour):
A source of more boat projects (they’re good for you, trust me – keeps you humble):
A provider of “whole-boat selfies” : ) Those are important!
A front row seat to some of the best sunsets we’ve ever seen:
A floating scaffold for doing hull-side (big) boat projects:
A good, safe practice boat for Captain Annie (who often gets the backwards right-left tiller function mixed up and bumps into things):
A source of yet-more boat projects (you can see how we stay pretty humble):
A source of yet-even-more entertainment (you can see how we stay happy):
And (just for fun) the subject for an aptly-titled, badass video from our scoot around Powell Cay in the Abacos in 2017. Enjoy!
The dinghy does all of this for us, and so much more. Dicta is such a crucial part of our transportation, connection, and overall cruising experience. Do you agree? Share in a comment what your dinghy means to you!