I've mentioned a few times that we feel like we've really "kicked it up a notch" this time around. We have a bigger boat, a super sailor baby, water toys and we're eating a lot better (as in, more than rice and beans). These things have had a tremendous impact on the "fun" factor out here for us. Not that we weren't having fun before, because we were. We're just having a little more fun now...
Another upgrade we made that has had an incredible impact was a new dinghy. When you live on a boat, your dinghy is your "car" and - most important - your lifeline to land. While I do admire the purists who forego propulsion and row to and from shore in their rowing dinghies, we have found that a fast, powerful "car" is invaluable to us. Having a planing dinghy has literally opened up a world of opportunity. We are able to go to so many more places that we were never able to before; neighboring islands, far-flung snorkel spots, and spear fishing reefs to name a few. It makes shore-side chores like grocery shopping and laundry much easier, gives us freedom to roam in almost any condition, and is a lot of fun to boot. Not to mention that a reliable, fast dinghy could prove critical in case of emergency (God forbid). For us, this seemingly minor addition has made a huge impact on our cruising life.
After selling our last one with Rasmus, we knew we wanted another RIB (rigid inflatable boat) and after a good deal of research, we decided on a Walker Bay Odyssey Light. The decision was made all the easier when they decided to partner with us as sponsors. So far, we're thrilled with our choice and set up. If you are interested, you can view all the specs and features of our model here.
Features that we love:
- It's light. Weighing in at about 100 pounds, this dinghy is easy for us to bring up onto the beach and hoist on our davits. It's also less weight hanging off the back of our boat which is nice for peace of mind when in rough seas.
- It's sturdy. We love having the fiberglass floor; it's rigid which makes it easy to get in and out of (important with a baby!) and gets up on plane in no time with all of us on the boat.
- It's roomy. We have the 10 foot model and we can easily (and comfortably) have four adults in the boat. Despite it's roominess, it still fits nicely on the bow of Asante for long passages which was essential to us.
- It's dry. The bow is designed so that water is deflected away from the passengers in choppy water. While we'll still get splashed in big seas, we're a lot more dry than we would have been in our other boat. A dry dinghy is a great dinghy!
What we don't love:
- The seat. So far, we're not in love with the seat that comes with the dinghy. While the stow compartment and drink holder are great, the corners of it rub the tubing in such a way that there is a little wear underneath. We have opted to remove the seat completely to avoid any more wear and tear and inadvertent puncturing.
Scott and I learned the hard way how essential a reliable dinghy and outboard is for long-term cruising, so this time around we did it way we always wanted and are reaping the benefits every day.