Excerpt from Sailing with Impunity: Adventure in the South Pacific
While in The Marquesas in French Polynesia, we had dinner with a couple one evening who told us a hair-raising incident that happened to them in Mexico.
They had spent an evening visiting on a neighboring sailboat. Just going from their boat to the other boat in their dinghy, they hadn’t taken their shoes, purse or his wallet since they wouldn’t need those items unless they went ashore. They’d had a nice evening playing cards and then, much later, they climbed into their dinghy to return to their own boat. It was dark, but they soon realized their sailboat was gone!
Panicked, they went back to their friend’s boat and spent the rest of the night there. First thing in the morning, they went ashore and reported the missing boat. They didn’t know if it had been stolen, became untied, or dragged anchor, so it was unknown if a crime had been committed.
With no money, no identification, not even shoes, they were in a terrible situation. To their surprise and relief, an American, a man they didn’t know, gave them $500 so they could buy shoes and stay in a hotel until they could receive money from home. No strings attached, he simply wanted to help stranded strangers. (They got his name and address and were able to pay him back.)
Mexican officials put out notices and the couple talked to fishermen and anyone going to sea. Finally, about two weeks after it “went missing” the boat was spotted. The fishermen who saw it said it was merely bobbing along, laundry still hanging in the transom, anchor hanging on its chain in the deep water. It didn’t appear to be damaged.
After observing the boat for some time, the fishermen motored over to it and one climbed aboard, started the engine, weighed anchor, and brought it back to port. Everything was intact, even her purse and their wallets were still there.
The couple continued their journey in their sailboat to The Marquesas, so thankful for the kindness of others.