“Dinghy drift tonight,” is announced on the VHF, channel 68. “Meet under the lighthouse at 5:30 and bring a dish to pass.” And so we all do.
Twenty-five inflatable and hard bottom dinghies – all under 20 feet long – converge and tie themselves together. We’re a huge floating island. We introduce ourselves to the boats next to us and we stand up to yell and wave to friends on the other side of the dinghy island.
Food starts moving around the boats: platters of cheese and crackers, bowls of chips, carrot slices with dip, smoked salmon with Triscuits, skewers of pineapple chunks and red grapes, olives with sausage and cheese, popcorn, toastpoints with artichoke spread – the food keeps circling and circling, from boat to boat. I’ve contributed chocolate chip cookies:
Most of us put the name of our boat on the bottom of our dish so we get it back. But some don’t, so we have to stand up, hold the bowl or plate high above our head, and ask who it belongs to. These items are quickly claimed and passed from boat to boat to their owners.
Each dinghy also brings their preferred adult beverage – mixed drinks, wine, beer – we have it all. Talking, laughing, imbibing, nibbling, passing plates and bowls, the dinghy island floats through the harbor. One boat is self-designated as the pusher/puller – to guide us slightly this way and that so we avoid hitting any of the moored boats.
Like magic, we end up at the far side of the harbor just as the sun disappears.
We untie and wander back to our own boats. Such a lovely evening.