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Mercury 25 RIP

Yesterday we went to report the dinghy getting stolen which meant hanging around in the depressing, dilapidated surroundings of the Guardia Civil station outside San Antonio. Their photocopier was broken so we had to fill out four copies of the necessary forms and hang around while prisoners were brought in and out. The main office of the building oddly seems to be the main entrance to a courtyard of flats behind the police station so as well as the coming and goings of police and prisoners, children were cycling in and out through the office and old women were wandering through.

It all took so long that Carita had to go to work in the end and I was told to wait for the local police who wanted to look at the dinghy and the broken engine. Thinking that maybe they were going to be particularly helpful and try to fix it for me I was cheered up no end. In time they appeared, asked me if I had a car, and finding that I'd come by taxi, put me in the back of the police car and drove through San Antonio past tourists looking at me like I was a convict. Unfortunately, their English was about as good as my Spanish which meant that we had a few communication breakdowns during our journey to where the dinghy was and my stock of phrases such as, "Can I get you a drink?" weren't proving too useful.

Once they'd looked at the dinghy, they wanted to see the outboard, which was onboard Zami' in pieces and meant rowing them over. The younger of the two policemen kindly helped out with a paddle but insisted on rowing backwards, causing us to do a few circles before finally going in the right direction. They were both quite friendly and helpful but I was beginning to wonder if the main purpose of all of this was to try to find who'd stolen it or to see if I was trying to rip off an insurance company. They seemed content once they'd seen it but sadly made no effort at all to repair it and went on their way.

I'd called Frank, who'd fixed the outboard a couple of weeks ago, and he'd come out in the morning and gone off with the powerhead to strip it down and see how bad the news was. I called him and it was pretty bad. As well as ruining the gearbox when they'd stolen it, the crankshaft, 2 bearings, a piston, and the cylinder block were wrecked. Repairing it would cost more than a new engine.

How they managed to do this in 2 hours I can't imagine - we'd put the engine through some extreme conditions in awful seas with waves breaking over us through the years, done beach landings at high speed that made sunbathers run in all directions, and towed Zamindar safely through one of the worst reefs in the Bahamas in a storm with it. It never let us down by breaking when we were miles out at sea or otherwise putting our lives at risk. It was a good engine.

Mercury 25 Rest In Peace.

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