As well as rescuing a few people we’ve also been rescued ourselves a few times during our time on the Island…



Nigel was out sailing on the little yacht he’d rescued from the garden and rebuilt when it started to take on water. His bailers were in the compartment under the water so he couldn’t do much and eventually the boat capsized and Nigel was left standing on its upturned hull. (Lifejacket on of course).

I was watching from shore, and then the jetty, as he and the boat started to drift past in the channel. He was too far away to yell out to and I was guessing what he was thinking; flag down another boat for some help.

I was itching to run back to our unit and grab my camera to record Nigel standing in the middle of the channel on his upturned boat. But I thought if he drowns and I’m asked what was I doing at the time; and I said I was running to grab my camera to film him, it probably wasn’t the best response. So I stayed put and watched helplessly as Nigel drifted past. Eventually a trimaran sailed past and it looked like they were going to stop and help – it was hard to tell. Then a jet ski fisherperson heading back home stopped and gave Nigel a lift back to shore.

Nigel then had to motor out on our boat and rescue his upturned yacht.

Nigel is very vocal about his hatred of jet skis – so to be rescued by one is something he is reminded of frequently.

I wish I’d run for my camera in hindsight.



One morning Nigel yelled out to me; “Notice anything missing out here?” He was standing in front of the reception area roof where we park the dinghies and cars and boats sometimes. It took a while – and then I realised a black RIB (rubber inflatable boat) on its trailer had disappeared. We hunted around and I spotted tire tracks down by the jetty where someone had pulled the trailer down to the water. The RIB had been stolen. Unbelievable.

While Nigel called up contacts we had with the police, I was searching through the binoculars and in the far distance could see an unusual black shape by the mussel farm – and Nigel confirmed it looked like the RIB.

We hauled our boat into the water to rescue the RIB and set off – and a couple of hundred metres from shore the engine died. In all the rush we hadn’t checked the boat engine. The thieves had cut the fuel line when they took the tote tank from this boat. Nigel was furious – stealing the RIB was one thing but cutting the fuel line of our only other island boat was quite unforgivable.

We tried rowing back to shore and the oar broke. We waited for a boat to come past and eventually one did. We waved our arms above our heads in the universal distress signal sign and the boat changed course and came over to us.

As the boat drew closer we both did a double take. If I was casting a movie for some boat stealing villains, murderer types, the three guys coming to our rescue would have fitted the part perfectly. I heard Nigel gulp and swear under his breath.

We explained the situation to the guys and they were suitably shocked (or very good actors) and waved their cans of rum and cola (it was very early in the morning) in defiance at the ‘b*st*rds who stole our RIB’ and they towed us to shore. They waited very patiently while we made a few attempts to drag the boat up the beach; first the rope broke, then the mower got stuck in the sand and finally the tractor pulled the boat up. Meanwhile the bite time for the fish they wanted to catch was fast disappearing for our fisher rescuers. Then our rescuers kindly offered to go and retrieve the RIB for us. They were gone for quite some time; as the RIB was still tied to the trailer and it had become tangled in the lines from the mussel farm.

Eventually they came back, triumphantly towing the RIB on its trailer behind their boat. We were beyond grateful and overwhelmed at the generous help they’d given us. We presented them with a bottle of rum – but no cola, so they’d have to drink it once ashore (we hoped).



On a busy summer day we headed over to Man O War vineyard in the RIB to buy some wine for guests, when the motor cut out half way across. A yacht moored by the island saw our plight and the adults onboard, without putting down their wine glasses, simply sent their young children in their own inflatable tender to rescue us and tow us home. The young children were unfazed about rescuing us and I was hugely impressed by their confidence in the water and handling of boats. I didn’t film this episode either…


About Me:

I’m Fiona (Fe). For the past six years I’ve lived on tiny, privately owned Islands in New Zealand with my partner who is an Island caretaker. I’ve developed Islomania (an obsessional enthusiasm or partiality for islands); particularly around bird life, beach clean-ups and pest eradication.

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