Michael loves the saying “The best two days of boat ownership are the day you buy and the day you sell.” But what about boat rentals? Our experience thus far is that everyday is the best day when you rent a boat. However, there are a few exceptions. Liiiike, when your rented boat breaks down. In the middle of a pretty large harbor. And your provided radio is a bit old.
Since we did not bother to reserve a boat prior to arriving on the island (not too smart on our part), we considered ourselves lucky to get the last boat available. It was a 14 foot Boston Whaler. Since the rental agreement for all boats rented from Minn’s Boat Rental in Georgetown, Exuma states that you must keep the boat within Elizabeth Harbor, a small skiff boat is plenty big. We loaded our cooler and dry bag and headed out.
Minn’s supplies boaters a map, but the islands give very obvious, visual boundaries to the harbor. Michael, an experienced boater, navigated us north and we cruised to a secluded patch of white sand. We marveled at the color of the water, felt the softness of the sand between our toes and relished the feel of the warm sea breezes against our skin. Like I said, everyday is good with a boat rental.
We turned south, along the eastern edge of the harbor and then turned west to began our cut across a deep and wide channel to reach the western edge of the harbor; another patch of white sand enticing us from across the way. About halfway across the channel our engine stalled, shut off, quit, went kapooooie. Nothing. Nada. We thought we ran out of gas at first because of the abrupt engine shut off. Michael turned the key and the motor just clicked.
Deep breathes. We reached for the walkie-talkie that we scoffed at in the rental office. Luckily, we had landmarks and channel markers to give to Minn’s so that they could find us.
Ten to fifteen minutes (which felt like hours) passed until our tow boat arrived.
Looking back now, it was just another memorable event in our amazing vacation in Exuma, but maybe not the best. It was certainly a first though! We swam with pigs in Exuma AND had a rental boat break down on us. There is a first for everything, and hopefully this is the last too.
The tow in took around 30 minutes and Minn’s was nice enough to give us the boat in the picture above, yes the tow boat, for the rest of our day. I hesitated. Mike said “yes” without thinking. Seeing his confidence and excitement to get back out and explore Elizabeth Harbor was all the motivation I needed.
The rest of our day was uneventful, unless you are counting seeing huge starfish (my favorite!!), eating fresh conch salad and exploring more beaches. You know, the norm!
Renting a boat has its risks, even when you are experienced. However, the reward outweighs the risks in many situations, and renting a boat from Minn’s in Exuma is one of those situations!