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Warm Up for Halloween with This Spooky Sea Story

A little while ago, Sausalito mariner Phil Williams sent us a spooky sea story about a missing dinghy.

In July, my beloved rowing dinghy Patty 2, a 10-ft plastic Walker Bay, was stolen from the Sausalito Cruising Club dock. I plastered the Sausalito waterfront with “Stolen Boat” posters as anyone would do for a lost pet.

It worked! Someone saw my appeal on the West Marine store noticeboard. Six weeks later, I was reunited with Patty 2 on the fuel dock at Gashouse Cove in San Francisco.

Vessel Assist had been listening in to the weekend boat chatter and heard someone calling the Coast Guard to report an abandoned dinghy awash in the Slot south of Angel Island. I found my rowboat battered but still seaworthy. It seemed from the abrasion marks she had been tumbled by big waves on a rocky shore. The midship thwart is broken but repairable.

This is where it gets weird. Scrawled on the gunwale are the words “Hunter RIP erel.” In addition, the drain plug was missing and the mooring line — not mine — seemed as if it had been cut.

Spooky sea story
The mystery deepens.
© 2021 Phil Williams

Did Patty 2 drift to Valhalla before being towed to Gashouse Cove?

Does anyone around Richardson Bay know who Hunter is, or who erel [maybe Earl] was?

P.S. Thanks to Vessel Assist and the anonymous caller who located my dinghy. Also to Walker Bay for making an indestructible, unsinkable craft. Pity they have stopped selling them.

If you have any ideas to help solve this mystery, please either let us know in the comments below or email us at [email protected].

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