I think it is in our nature as cruisers and good people to assist where we can, even with the knowledge that providing assistance can be to our cost. I learned a lesson after giving a rebuilt Jabsco to a cruiser who was marooned with an inoperable engine.
The couple on the boat seemed like a lovely pair; sincere, warm hearted and honest. So I parted with my expensive spare pump on the promise that they had ordered a replacement and would return my pump when their new part arrived.
These people were anchored east of Darwin at Black Point, a pearling company's anchorage. The pearling company was going to fly the new part to them, from Darwin. They did not contact me when they arrived in Darwin a fortnight later, a fact which surprised me when I saw their boat at anchor off the Darwin Sailing Club. I accepted their excuse for non contact, and asked how they had fared with their new part. I was then told the replacement pump had arrived only after they had left the pearling anchorage and that it had subsequently been flown back to Darwin for them.
I was told this on a Saturday morning. They were going to collect the pump and fit it on the following Monday. They promised to buy me dinner if I would meet them at the Sailing Club on the Tuesday night. On the Tuesday night I learned they had set sail. I was left a note saying they had wanted to make up for lost time and chose to sail for Indonesia on a good tide. They had, I discovered, previously arranged for Customs to clear them out on Monday morning.
So, I contacted the pearling company's chief engineer (a mate of mine) and asked if they had the pump in their stock. Nope! The pump had been flown to the Black Point anchorage and was fitted to the boat by a company mechanic, free of any charge before they had set sail for Darwin. My pump, was boxed and left with the boat as a spare.
These people had deliberately stolen my $600 pump despite my gesture of friendship and successful attempt to get them sailing again. There was nowhere else they could possibly sail to from Black Point, other than Darwin, so I felt somewhat insured against their 'forgetting' to return it.
Moral: If someone wants an expensive spare part in future I will give it gladly with the sole provision that they give me the paperwork, and authority to collect their ordered replacement. I therefore believe the old Salt was wiser than me under the same circumstances.
It's all just a little bit sad.
PS...This happened many years ago and while I would like to say the offending party was a foreigner, I cannot. He was Australian and probably made his way around the world thieving from others as he went. Meanwhile, I am still happy to give fuses, nuts bolts and other 'bits' wherever I can in the hope that weeny kharma scraps will bond to form a sizeable chunk in time.