She woke up to the gentle rocking of the boat as it lay at anchor in New Harbor, Block Island. It was still quiet, and the early morning daylight made silhouettes of the portholes on the sheer cloth blinds in the forward cabin. She was always the first one up, because she loved to sit in the cockpit with her coffee and immerse herself in the sounds, sights, and scents as the day broke at sea.
This morning a human sound was added to that of the gulls, and waves breaking. At first she thought she imagined it, but no, it was the sound of children’s voices calling “Help!” She looked out the porthole and there were two very young boys, maybe 6 and 4, in an inflatable dinghy floating toward the channel on the outgoing tide. They were using their hands to try to get back to their boat, obviously unaware that two small pairs of hands are no match for an ebbing tide
She woke her husband from his sound sleep. “You have to go get these kids! They’re floating toward the channel in a dinghy!” He sat up, and looked out the porthole, and quickly got up and pulled on a bathing suit. He unlocked the dinghy from the swim platform, got in and started up the motor. In no time he was on his way to the wayward boys.
When he got to them, he tied their dinghy to his and as he did he said to the boys, “Don’t you guys know how to row?” After all there were oars on the dinghy as well as a small outboard motor.
“No…..” they answered in unison, casting their eyes downward in embarrassment.
“Don’t either of you know how to start the motor?” he asked.
The older boy looked up at him and explained. “Our daddy won’t teach us until we learn how to row.”
Note: This is a third person account of an true incident that happened to my ex and I about 30 years ago. I wonder if the boys ever learned to row. Or if the father learned to lock the dinghy to the transom of the boat.
I bet they learned something that day.