It was early February when Wally Martin made the familiar journey down the rough driveway at the back of Green Bay’s Pinesong Retirement Village to the tiny bay where he has kept his dinghy for many years. A keen yachtie for most of his life, Wally, who is now 83, sold his yacht some time ago, retaining the dinghy for his regular fishing trips on the Manukau. On this occasion, much to his surprise, the little boat was not there.
The dinghy had been secured to a sturdy pohutukawa root by two chains, and well-camouflaged under a tarpaulin. It has been in this position for eight years, and was practically invisible from the shoreline, hidden as it was behind dense pohutukawa foliage.
Wally, who worked in boat building at Unitech before retirement, built the white 9ft dinghy in about 2005. It was based on an American-designed ‘Nutcracker’ model, which Wally had modified slightly. He had also made a distinctive set of large oars out of Oregon wood, which were permanently secured to the boat by chains.
The boat has a set of clip-down wheels on the back, and a small wheel on the keel at the front. The name “Lady J” is in plywood on the transom (back) of the boat. It was valued at about $500.
Any sightings or information can be reported to Warren Strand at the New Lynn Police Station firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting file number 210205/4232.