All last cruising season and the first 2 months of this one, we have been using our inflatable Helios Inova double kayak. This is a suprisingly seaworthy little boat with a capacity of about 400 pounds and we have carried a full load of groceries, 4 gallons of water, and the two of us without a problem, even in the rough chop of La Paz's anchorage. We sold our powered inflatable Apex RIB dinghy to cruising friends last season, primarily because I wanted to replace this with a hard dinghy we could row, similar to the small plywood one we had carried on Ladybug I. Because friends are visiting in a couple of weeks, we need some way to transport more than two people at a time to and from Ladybug, so our need has become pressing.
It has proven to be really difficult to buy a hard dinghy in Mexico. Most cruisers have inflatables down here and those who have rowing dinghies don't seem interested in selling them. However, we put the word out in La Paz that we were looking for an 8 foot hard dinghy and eventually found 3 possibilities. Two were Walker Bay plastic dinghies that are probably the most common hard dinghies now seen down here, being readily available from West Marine and quite inexpensive. The third was a hand built plywood and fibreglass boat. Kurt off Raven helped me evaluate the plywood boat and although it was well built, we agreed that it would be too heavy and awkward to bring aboard on Ladybug's foredeck. We don't like towing a dinghy as a rule, so wanted something that could be lifted on board without damaging our backs or Ladybug's deck.
We ended up buying an elderly Walker Bay with a sailing rig from Annie, who puts on yoga classes at Marina de La Paz. The dinghy needs a few repairs but should serve the purpose. The sailing rig (mast, boom, sail, rudder/tiller, and centreboard) has allowed us to sail the considerable distance to and from the marina dinghy dock here in La Cruz and have fun at the same time. We even took her out for a pleasure sail this morning and Rani said she enjoyed the feeling of skooting along effortlessly close to the water. We have named her 'Annie' in honorur of her previous owner.