An exciting afternoon!

Traditionally petrol is in red canisters and diesel in yellow. But often you have to use what you can get so, on Artemis petrol is in red 5 liter cans and diesel in black 10 liter cans EXCEPT the one red 10 liter can that also has diesel in. We know that 10 liter is diesel and 5 liter is petrol. No problem!

Except …

It was a sunny afternoon and light trade winds were blowing off the coral island, cooling the cockpit. Surf was up out on the reef and a strong current was flowing out of the lagoon in to the Ocean. We had the neighbors over for coffee with apple cake and the five of us were discussing what a great life we live.

We noticed that a lady had been caught by the current and was being swept out to sea. Her daughter was attempting to help but the woman could not get in to the dinghy and the daughter was (rightly) not happy to turn the propeller with legs hanging in the water. Heidi and I took our dinghy to the rescue.

Just as we left, Daniel noticed a group of children being carried out to sea, having swum out from the beach, on the other side of the boat. He took his dinghy but needed to refill with petrol. We shouted to Elizabeth and Wim that the petrol was in the red can in the locker and headed out on our rescue mission.

On our arrival at the drifting dinghy, the daughter was obviously totally relieved. The mother changed to clinging to our dinghy, which allowed the girl to set off back in to the lagoon. We heaved the (obviously drunken) woman in to the dinghy and took her back to her boat. She was bleeding from one foot where she had been cut by the propeller. I didn’t even think about the fact she had just been hanging with a bleeding foot in the shark patrolled pass. I was more worried that Heidi was going to diagnose ripped ligaments and we would be in to the whole “emergency procedure” like last year. But she was lucky and they were only minor cuts.

Daniel, in the meantime, had saved three children and was returning with them to the beach where he found a fifth child at the end of his strength. One of the boys from the original four jumped in to the sea and pushed Number Five in to the dinghy and all were returned safely to the beach. With an empty dinghy, Daniel filled his motor’s petrol tank and turned back to the yachts. He did not get far before his engine died and would not restart. So now he was drifting and working against the current with oars. We returned to our dinghy and took him in tow.

Of course Elizabeth and Wim had found the 10 liter red canister under the seat so Daniel had been running on a petrol diesel mix which is never a good idea. But adding diesel to petrol should not cause lasting damage so we all sank back in to the cockpit and decided it was time for a well earned beer.

Next time will be better.

Nest day: Heidi has now written a description of the contents on all the red canisters. Daniel’s engine works perfectly again so “no one seriously hurt and no permanent damage!” Another good day.

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