When we sailed through the Louisiades in company with the previous owners of Australis, one of their rowlocks on their zodiac dinghy was lost and as their outboard had also died a sudden death not long before, they were a bit stuck.
We all dropped anchor in the lagoon at Kamital, a small rocky outcrop of atolls in the northern chain.
Jimmy - Kamital's chief elder, paddled out in his canoe with his grandson to welcome us and invite us to his new yachtie gallery he and his family had built for visiting yachts.
On shore he asked why we had all piled into our small dingy and left the other tied to the stern of Australis. We explained the missing rowlock and before we could say anything he had jumped in his outrigger, paddled out to Australis and returned with the remaining rowlock. Without any hesitation he said with a grin, I'll have a new one for you tomorrow.
And blimey charlie, armed with only a penknife and two sheets of sandpaper, the following afternoon he handed over a spitting image carved out of one solid piece of driftwood. If you are familiar with the Zodiac rowlock - you'd understand our amazement. I swear we pulled out a Vernia calliper gauge and it was almost exact.
Unfortunately the small spindle at the base broke the first time it was used but that was more to do with the wood than the craftsmanship
None the less, Jimmy's Rowlock was framed and mounted on the bulkhead above Australis's saloon and now, as her new owners - that's exactly where it will stay - if only to remind us that for all our hi tech gadgets and Bunnings hardware outlets, we can still learn a thing or two about true craftsmanship.
The second pic shows Mico in the foreground with our new yacht - Australis about to drop anchor ahead. We never dreamed we'd end up owning them both
Mico's still looking for a new home - check her out at Home