Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Please. Could you help me with my kitty?

One morning in Black Point we were getting ready to leave for Georgetown and I did my usual checks of all the systems including the engine. Everything looked good but then I thought that it's been a while since I checked the transmission fluid. Not something i do on a regular basis as there is no need, but today I thought I would look. No oil. NO OIL?!

There wasn't a sign of any oil on the dipstick so I panicked and looked for the light motor oil that the tranny uses. I couldn't find any. I seriously forgot to load up on tranny oil before we left. The tranny oil is kind of always in the tranny and never gets dirty so it's easy to forget about it. I change it every year regardless and unless you have a leak it should be there. Damn. I looked for leaks but the oil is so clean usually that it would be tough to find. I will not get into the details of the reason I thought there was no oil bacuase it's the ultimate in stupid and I would like to keep it to myself. I already called to cancel my engineering card. 
Thinking I needed oil I went to town to see if I could find some. I know I didn't have a prayer of finding any but you never know.

I dinghy in and tie up to the government dock. I had my radio clipped to my belt so I could call Deb. We never did get Bahamian cell phones. Yes, we're cheap. I'm walking down the dock into town and this French guy is coming towards me. Yes, I knew he was French. I have a trained eye. This guy does the "Hello!" while waving and smiling. "You have a dinghy?", he asks. Uh oh. This sounds like the beginning of a bad time. I hesitated and then he pointed at my radio. "You have radio. Must have dinghy No?", he said still smiling. Shit. I knew what was coming next. I'm a good samaritan usually. I go out of my way to help others but I also have a sense of when someone is trouble. This guy was a bit shifty. Not just because he was probably French.  "Could I ask you please, may I get a dinghy ride to my boat to feed my kitty? She is alone without food and I have engine open with poisons she can eat."  Crap. His kitty? Where do these people find me? Is it my face? Is it cause I'm short? Damn. I'm a softy for animals. So, against the voice inside me saying, " Are You friggin stupid?  The 70's fry your brain?", I let Frenchy into the dinghy and I pull the cord and and we motor slowly from the dock. I ask him if he lost his dinghy. "No no. The Police have taken it from me."

Son of a bitch! I am an idiot. The other night out with fellow cruisers they were all talking about the boat that got raided by the police and how they think this illegal, possibly drug runner is going to get his boat confiscated.  They mentioned his boat name but all I remember was it sounded like Cinnamon. Here I am taking Frenchy Cocaine out to his boat to feed his Kitty. Kitty my ass! We dinghy out to his boat and the outboard dies. I forgot to plug in the fuel line. Shit! I'm drifting around with a drug runner. He's making small talk about his boat and all the work it needs while I try to restart the motor. Thankfully it kicked in and we tied up to his floating junkyard. Frenchy hops onboard and wants to tie off and I said I'll just loop it around the cleat and hold it. I even kept the motor running. "I will just be a moment." he said. Sure pal. You just flush the drugs overboard and I'll drive the getaway dinghy.

I look for the name of the boat and all I can see is a large letter C. Now I'm sweating bullets wondering what the fk this guy is doing inside his boat while I am tied to it. I look around at the other boats and I see them all looking at me. Shit. They probably think I'm an accomplice. This guys boat was trashed. I was looking for the Sanford & Son's sign above it. Frenchy kept popping up from the companionway saying it will be just a moment. I was waiting for the engine to start or see a gun in my face. Pierre finally popped up the companionway and grabbed a pail that had "cat food" written on the side. Shouldn't it be in French? Minutes later he finally clmbed back in the dinghy and brought eggs, milk and oatmeal for me as gifts, which were going into the trash immediately after he's gone. I said no thank you but he threw them into the dinghy. I imagined the Quaker Oats container filled with cocaine. "Nothing is better for thee than SPEED!".

I didn't much talk to Frenchy after he got back in the dinghy. When I met him he carried nothing. When he left his boat he carried a bag with all his electronics stuffed into it. We got to the dinghy dock and he thanked me and asked where our boat was. I pointed in the opposite direction and when he asked for the boat name I was silent. That should have been the signal for him to beat it but he persisted in hanging around until I told him to have a nice day. I waited until he got a few blocks away before I went into town. 

Climbing out of the dinghy I saw he left his glasses on the dock. God damn it. Now I had to find the bastard. I know. I should have just kicked them into the water but hey, maybe the guy isn't a drug runner. Maybe he's just a poor schlep who didn't check in because he doesn't have any money and he got caught. Maybe his kitty really was starving. I found him  sitting in front of a cafe' with his newly recovered electronics. He was grateful for the glasses and remembered my name. Damn. I can see him now describing me to the cops as the guy who helped him get his electronics off the boat. "Paul is a small guy with skinny legs and beard. A blue baseball cap with a Buffalo streaming blood. Talks through his nose. Smelly feet."

There was no oil to be found in town. I drove the dinghy to Staniel Cay to get oil. Ten miles round trip in a dinghy. There was a light chop which made it a rough ride back. The whole time I was looking for the Bahamas Defense Force boat bearing down on me. No oil was actually required for the transmission because I'm an idiot. I put myself through all this crapola for nothing. It's really too stupid to repeat and the tranny is fine.

We saw Frenchy later on in the day, wandering around town. He didn't have his bag with him. He tried to make eye contact but we just kept moving. Not sure what the deal was with this guy, but I'm going to assume he was just interested in helping his kitty. I'm still laughing at the way he said "My kitty". Never heard a grown man refer to their cat as a kitty. 

We are now in famous Georgetown, Exumas. We are anchored in front of the Chat n Chill where all the action is. Seems quiet. Guess most people have fled north, though there are well over two hundred boats here. Can't imagine this place when it's full. I don't think I could handle it.
For the time we are here I will try to supress the good samaritan in me. I feel my luck running low.