Anchored in Malampaya Sound a beautiful place in the north west corner of Palawan 10º 49' North x 119º 24' East - Philippines. Just three of us, far from anywhere :- My catamaran "Symphony" , Richard Hayes's power boat - Nordhaven "Nyami Nyami" and the Irrawaddy Dolphin Orcaella brevirostris.
Sitting in the cockpit enjoy my early morning coffee - surprised by huge splash just few yards away - then another - then the splash came close and the strangest creature popped his head out of the water, as if to ask 'is there any more coffee left in the pot?' My immediate thought was that it was a dolphin - but no , it was so different.
Went to the VHF to call Richard - NO answer , must be sleeping with the aircon running! Got into my dinghy - a new Achilles inflatable - sped over to "Nyami Nyami's" boarding ladder - which was hinged up - the dinghy slid nicely under the hinge which was SHARP and in an instant the Achilles starboard tube had a 2ft slit ! Oh 'expletive' ++**_~~! Richard appears, wiping sleep from his eyes " What's the problem? "
Limped back to my boat on one tube and a bit, dragged it on board - not happy ! How was I going to fix the dinghy - still had a month to go on this cruise?
Found the Achilles brand new pristine repair kit - I recollect a few patches - the biggest about 2" across , a scraper, a tube of a 'contact' glue. Richard had less!
Searched some more, found some Xynole cloth - left over from a repair job - found my 2 part Ciba epoxy glue.
Knowing full well that that repairing a hole of this size would fail
, because the epoxy when set would not allow flexing when the tube was inflated.
Anyway , Victor Hugo's "Necessity is the mother of invention" determined that I apply an epoxy saturated length of Xynole to the gaping slit - when set, pumped up the tube and went looking for the creature.
A few days later our friendly Irrawaddy Dolphin arrived back with friends. Two years later that very same repair was good enough for me to donate the Achilles to a couple of youngsters on another yacht. I replaced it with a RIB.
The other Richard