Lost and Found
On arrival at Fish Hook Recreational Park's dock I noticed our rear fender was gone. I asked Di (who handles the stern of the boat during docking and undocking maneuvers) where the fender might be, and she was dumbfounded about the fender's disappearance.
Looking around, the fender was nowhere to be found. Working together we eventually concluded that since the fender's line and the aft mooring line are similar, Di must have undone the wrong one when we left port this morning, or on arrival here, and the fender must have fallen overboard without us noticing.
Being that we were on an outside dock, in the river, I had little expectations of finding the fender ever again but had to try: I grabbed the binoculars and searched the shoreline all around us. No fender in sight.
Reluctantly I went onto the internet to look at how much a big fender like that cost. Like everything boat related: Too much!
Then, just before sunset, happy that we had the place to ourselves, we noticed a couple of sailboats pointing their nose in our direction and it wasn't long before they were docked just in front of us. I recognized the 2 sailboats that had asked for the bridge's opening following us after Port of Kennewick, and figured they'd traveled the same route we did. We weren't going to be alone overnight after all.
Shortly after they docked, one of the guys came up to me and asked if we had lost anything? I replied we'd lost a fender indeed and with a beaming smile he told me he'd seen us lose it as we were exiting the marina, but hadn't been able to raise us with his weak portable VHF.
He ran back to his boat and handled me our fender back. He apologized for having made it dirty: He'd used it in the lock since it was much bigger than anything he normally carries on his boat.
I was too happy to get our fender back to even be bothered by a little grime on it.
I brought it in and gave it a quick scrub with polish: Good as new!
Then I delivered a bottle of spirit to our kind sailor friends as a small thank you.
We got real lucky here. Lesson learned about making sure which line to undo or not. And from now on, we'll secure the fender from the middle of the cleat so we won't need to undo it when docking.