• iaindryden1

Watch out for 'Serendipity'

I ought to have videoed his every move, but I'm of the watching not the recording generation. Blowup boat slung over his shoulders, dark curly hair wild, trendy polo shirt overhanging loose cotton shorts, he strolled along the quay hardly aware of the crab lines catching his flip-flops and almost tipping him into Lyme Regis' small enclosed harbour. The next time we became aware of him was when we spotted an over-large figure bulging above a tiny inflatable dingy which awkwardly moved blunt end first. Wielding a single paddle, weaving randomly, catching on ropes, jolting off course, he kept bumping into other small craft lolling on the placid water. And each time furious paddling splashing the water sent him spinning in circles, the panicked paddle shooting high.

Ten minutes of our laughter and he bumped into a plastic tub with an orange top. Red faced, he attempted to clamber aboard but slipped. Legs wiggling in the air, body toppling, he fell into the well. He rose to see his rubber dingy floating off. Luckily catching its rope just in time, he tied it to his little boat's aft. Unhitching the outboard, he pulled the cord, started the engine but being in gear the boat lurched, the engine spluttered, died. Adjusting the gear shift, he tried again and the engine burst into life, but not for long, as his dingy rope caught and stalled it. He tried to release it with a boat hook, but had to get back into the dingy and lean dangerously forwards to unravel it, again nearly falling in to the sea. Tears wet our faces.

An unexpected dash forwards, he almost fell overboard. A clunk. He hopped to the gunnels, pushed his boat from the one he'd hit whilst his still running engine kept his craft going. Another clunk, one more dart across the boat, another shove, but a mite too hard and his boat shot off to strike a third boat tied to the harbour's long anchor ropes. By now others too were howling with laughter.

The finally he made it to clear water and sped off into the open sea where he darted about in great circles for twenty minutes. Returning, he decided to avoid the maze of boats by hugging the harbour wall. If only there'd not been those anchor ropes leading from it across the harbour which kept fouling his progress. If only there'd not been poles and groynes to strike. And if only the wind didn't keep bouncing him from boat hull to boat hull. Somehow undamaged, he made it to the quay and red faced, he tied up out of harm's way. A video of this would have gone viral. To cap it all, his boat was called 'Serendipity'.


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