The morning we left the homestead to go to Juneau for a wedding, we noticed that one of our boats had been moved.
A flotilla of small boats line both shores of Mud Bay. Residents rely on them for transportation when the tide serves or requires, as the case may be. We’ve stored our first homebuilt boat, Forget-Me-Not (a Bolger Teal) high on the bank for about 7 years. We sail her every now and then, but she belongs to Aly, technically, so it hasn’t seen much use now. On Thursday morning we found nothing of it but the rudder, seat, and other gear, including the mast and sprit. The sprit was broken, which we had not been aware of before. It appeared it might have been stepped on when the boat was moved.
We had to catch the ferry, so we could do little more than call some neighbors and the State Troopers from the terminal. No one had seen it; Haines has no trooper currently, so a Juneau trooper promised to look into it on his next patrol trip to town.
Bay folk have a general agreement that residents may borrow any boat in a time of need. We’ve never done this, because we figure a boat sits on one shore or the other for a reason; if we can’t return the boat right away, we feel we might strand the owner without their boat!
We couldn’t figure out why someone would have chosen our little dory, which is far heavier and far harder for most people to use than the kayaks and canoes around her. It didn’t seem at all likely that someone had merely used it to cross the bay.
Eventually, that proved to be the case. A visitor to the far side of the bay chose our Forget-Me-Not merely because he is a boat builder, and it is a homebuilt wooden boat. He stayed through the tide, and walked home, leaving our boat on the far side for his hosts to return when they could.
These people are newer to Mud Bay, and didn’t know who owned the boat. Michelle happened to find it when she walked past it on the way home from work on Monday.
I regret that all through our weekend of visiting Juneau and celebrating a loved one’s wedding, our missing boat nagged at the backs of our minds throughout. It felt too much like the time another of our sailboats disappeared without explanation (see A Nasty Surprise Yesterday: Our Boat Disappeared!). This disappearance was, thankfully, far more benign.