Big Dollar

After Pete’s awesome catch from fishing in the lagoon at Bahia Magdalena (two spotted bass and a finescale trigger fish) he was so excited!  The kids were excited too, Neli wanted to begin dissections and Liam was keen to clean and fillet…

After dinner I was sleepy, my bedtime has become 7pm or so since I was used to beginning my watch at 3am.  I heard the fenders banging a bit so asked Pete if he could move the dinghy back to the stern and pull the fenders right out of the water for the night.

Pete:  Where is the dinghy??  The dinghy isn’t here!!!!

I went out on deck and sure enough no dinghy to be seen.  It was dark by this point.  No use even trying…

In those moments before sleep came, Pete and I both realized how much we rely on that dinghy!!  And now it’s gone…  How could we even replace it in rural Mexico?  We didn’t know…

Luckily it was a northeast wind that night, so theoretically it might just have washed up on the beach closer to the town of Puerto Magdalena…  There was a little hope…  But maybe it was stolen…  We were right there the whole time but over dinner or who knows when, maybe someone took it?

I woke up at 4:30am (slept in!!) and began writing out phrases to ask Gregorio’s the port Captain.

My dinghy is missing (mi dinghy ha desaparecido)

Have you seen it? (?Ha visto mi dinghy?)

Our dinghy is adrift (my dinghy esta a la deriva)

Can you please help me? (?Puede ayudarme?)

And so on….  I wanted to say “we” but the phrase book we have seems to prefer the 1st person singular….

Then sunrise came.  Daylight!!!  I was out on deck with the binoculars scanning the entire horizon… Nothing.

7am Pete got up and we started to mobilize.  We’d go over closer to the town, drop anchor, go in the kayak to shore to plead for help from Gregorio.

We were getting underway when Gregorio’s panga came roaring up to us.  Once he was close we could hear him saying “tu dinghy!!!!”. Yes!!  He knew who’d found it, José at the palapa restaurant, we should go find him, he had it pulled up there.  But don’t give any money, we thought we heard him say…  And then he was off, to the town of SanCarlos on a fuel run.

Relief!  Off we went to find José 2 miles away.

Town of Puerto Magdalena

We dropped anchor near the palapa and got the kayak in the water.  Liam and Pete went to shore and pulled up near the palapa restaurant.  Liam was holding the “Spanish for Cruisers ” book.

Pete:  Buenos dias!!

José: (in Spanish) is this your dinghy?

Pete:  Si!  Muchas gracias!!  We were worried!

José: No problema (points at dinghy) Pete thinks he then says, big problem)

Pete: Gracias!

José: something something something donero… something

Pete: Money?

José:  Si si si

Si Si Si!
Si Si Si!

Pete:  Um… Gregorio said no money

José: (in Spanish, but what Pete understood was:) But, pulling up on the beach and out with my boat, was a lot of work.

Pete:  So you want money.

José:  Si, si si, no problema.

Pete:  Wait, no problem?  So you don’t want money?


José: silent but with that look…


Pete: Soooo you do want money

José:  Si si si

Pete: So, Americano? or pesos?

José: No problema

Pete: what?  so you don’t want money?



Pete: So how much?

José: in the clearest English yet; BEEGH DOLLAH

Pete: Big dollar…

José: Si si si

Pete:(in English and sign language, taps on chest) I go back to boat (points to our boat) to get the money (rubs fingers with thumb)

José:  Si, OK

Pete:  I’ll come back.

So Pete and Liam came back with the dinghyand the kayak and filled Neli and me in on what went down.  Big dollar..  so how much is that??  I asked…

Pete: I think $100

Sara: what??!!  no way!!  Gregorio said no money!!

Pete: well, he does want money…

So, here’s my question to you, dear reader, how much would you think “big dollar” should be in this situation?

We’ll fill you in on how it unfolded in the next post 🙂