Cruising Friends

When we first started cruising, being somewhat of a hermit, I didn’t have any concept of cruising friends.  Everything I read said that when you are “out there” you depend on other cruisers for everything, and especially for fixing things.  There would be no West Marine, or diesel mechanic or doctor easily available.  Since David is not a “fix-it” person and I am worse, we wondered if we would get frustrated and quit after our first winter.

I knew that we were not cruisers that would go from anchorage to anchorage and have happy hour on another boat traveling with us every night within a half hour of dropping anchor … or less.  It just wasn’t our style.   I wondered if I would fit in, if I would make friends, if I could find a balance between my social style and others.

Doug helping David change the stuffing box IN the Rio Chagres, Panama... while Rayene & I stood by with emergency pumping assistance should the boys flood the boat.  Changing the packing in the water somehow seemed a marginally good idea...

Doug helping David change the stuffing box IN the Rio Chagres, Panama… while Rayene & I stood by with emergency pumping assistance should the boys flood the boat. Changing the packing in the water somehow seemed a marginally good idea…

We quickly learned that anytime we had questions or issues, if we mentioned them, either casually to another cruiser or on the morning SSB nets, that someone would have answers, if not answers then the next step, the next person to ask or next place to visit in whatever location we happened to be cruising.

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Doug & David removing the KISS wind generator to replace the bearings after they accidentally burned out getting caught it early Hurricane Ida gusts as it chased us in to Providencia, Colombia.

And cruisers were QUICK to volunteer to come over and help, didn’t matter if you’d never met them before.  At first I was uncomfortable with the entire concept, figuring that we hadn’t done anything to help them, why should they help us?  But as we cruised longer, I realized the cruising community is dependent upon the “Pay It Forward” concept.

Maybe we couldn’t help with someone’s diesel problem now, but later, maybe someone would need 2 part epoxy to fix something and we just happened to have whatever they needed aboard.  So as we were able to help others with no strings attached, we became less reluctant to feel bad when someone helped us.  Keep in mind, we have no real diesel, refrigeration, generator, electronics, refrigeration or other important boat skills.  But we do have spare parts, a great SSB/ham radio to make calls and other things that can be valuable to cruisers.

Fun in Sapadilla Lagoon, Belize waiting out a norther with friends.

Fun in Sapadilla Lagoon, Belize waiting out a norther with friends.

And to my delight to this day, we discovered that there are all types of cruisers out there, even ones that have similar styles to ours!  Imagine that!  And we discovered that cruising friends are not like land-based friends in that your experiences will likely entail much much more together than land based friends.  This is not always the case, but in our situation it certainly was and is.

Eileen Quinn’s song “Friends” rings true:

Counting up what I’ve got to show, for all these years afloat… a dog eared passport, a weathered face, a tired old boat…

a yarn or two that might be true and a couple of battle scars…days of sparkling waters, nights of falling stars….

I’ve got seashells, I’ve got souvenirs, I’ve got songs I’ve penned… I’ve got photographs, I’ve got memories, but mostly I’ve got friends

Eileen Quinn, “Friends” from “Not to Be Used for Navigation” – get it at ITunes

And so began  some lifelong relationships that endure even though s/v Kristiana sold their boat to go world traveling … we still get together as regularly as we can … we hiked the heights of the Sacred Valley in Peru including Machu Picchu together.  Another time we spent a few weeks with them in their “home” state of Montana.

David, Jan, Rayene & Doug at Machu Picchu, Peru

David, Jan, Rayene & Doug at Machu Picchu, Peru

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Hiking Montana

And RIGHT NOW, they stopped at our lake house on their cross country train trip visiting their old cruising friends.  So no new posts right now, I’m busy playing with cruising friends …. cruising friends that before we started cruising I was sure didn’t exist.  One of the biggest benefits of going cruising!  And even better, we’re planning our next adventure together… somewhere WARM in January/February… who knows where we’ll be or what we’ll be doing… but I’m sure it will be an adventure because traveling with Doug & Rayene is ALWAYS an adventure … get off the train and find a place to sleep wherever we might end up.    The only limitation is David’s rule about “never being anywhere he can’t wear his shorts”.  🙂

So if you’re unsure if your “social style” might not be compatible with the cruising lifestyle outside the USA, think again and don’t let that get in the way of going cruising.  It will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, although it won’t always be easy.   The highs are higher, some parts can be challenging but rewarding.  GO FOR IT!

Any ideas for us?  Please leave a comment and share your favorite place.

Comments

  1. Always enjoy your insights Jan. Many years ago arise young an told me that iris not the quantity of time you spend with friends it is the quality of time you share when you have an opportunity to do so.
    Many of our old friends we met while we surfing and in later years through yachting. We don’t see them much now but when do we always pick up where we left off ASIC there had been no time in between. Keep you ‘cruising’ insights coming. Be they about life or sailing.

  2. Always enjoy your insights Jan. Many years ago arise young an told me that it is not the quantity of time you spend with friends it is the quality of time you share when you have an opportunity to do so.
    Many of our old friends we met while we surfing and in later years through yachting. We don’t see them much now but when do we always pick up where we left off. It is if there had been no time lost in between. Keep your ‘cruising’ insights coming. Be they about life or sailing.

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