@fishsail, regarding prices, Port-a-bote does an annual sale
I believe. Last year's ended at April 5, $200 off all the boats. It's after April now but you might have luck asking anyway.
The company is pretty old school
- the pictures in their marketing
materials look like they're from the 80's (they probably are), and the company doesn't do well with replying to emails - better to call. But the boats are well made. A good inflatable
costs around $2k as well anyway.
We have a 10' porta-bote and are happy with it. Heavier than expected. I can lift
it myself off the boat onto a dock
without a halyard
but it's pretty difficult. Better to use two people. We've seen boats with the 8' in the PNW, it's much smaller, but for our calm waveless anchorages
you can still transport 3 people or 2 people and a dog in it.
I have to disagree with what jag39 said above about rowing. They row very well. The stock oarlocks aren't great though, so if you don't upgrade those you need good technique to row properly.