HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!
Holidays far from home, family and friends can be challenging. The first year we were commuter cruisers, we flew back from Isla Mujeres, Mexico for three weeks to celebrate the holidays — and that was before grandkids! 🙂 We quickly discovered that there are very few locations to leave a boat safely even for three weeks in the Northwest Caribbean and that it depleted more like 2 months of our allotted 6 months of cruising time, not to mention our cruising budget every time we flew back. So we began minimizing the trips back during our six months cruising.
For five years straight, we did not return to the Midwest for Thanksgiving, but celebrated the holiday with our cruising family instead. Did we miss our biological family, sure we did. But now that we’re back in the U.S., I miss our cruising friends on Thanksgiving too – especially Doug & Rayene on s/v Kristiana. Cruising friends are special, especially when you’re cruising more remote areas with a lack of infrastructure. Reminiscent of when we sailed into Port Royal Roatan after a week at sea from Providencia, Columbia — our KISS wind generator and our salt water pump on the diesel were both dead. Luckily we had spares and friends like Doug on Kristiana and Doug on Serendipity. Between David, Doug & Doug they were able to crack the case on the KISS Wind Generagor and replace bearings claimed by Hurricane Ida’s outer bands. Luckily we had spare bearings on board. They also brought our tired overworked diesel back to life. Cruising friends rely on each other and sometimes special relationships develop.
The year before the wind blew us back to SW Florida (2010), we left Shelter Bay Marina near the Panama Canal to sail up to Port Royal, Roatan, Bay Islands to celebrate our friend Doug on Serendipity’s birthday on November 21 and then stay to celebrate Thanksgiving. Since Doug was house-caretaking directly on the bay, we were in for a treat. We cooked most of the food aboard, but Doug was able to use the oven in his caretaker’s cottage and we had a feast on the deck overlooking Port Royal and our boats. Not only did we have turkey, but homemade bread, green bean casserole, all the trimmings of the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Celebrating with a close-knit group of cruising friends seemed especially special.
One year coordinating with weather and the wicked Columbian LO, we left the Rio Chagres, Panama to sail to via the San Blas Islands. We wanted to explore Cartegena and the Columbian coastal islands and be back on the “other side” by December 1 to avoid the Columbian LO wave generator. That’s how we found ourselves in Sapzurro, along coastal Columbia (right on the Panama/Columbian boarder) for Thanksgiving. It was HOT, I remember dreading the upcoming Thanksgiving feast. So when our buddy boat suggested hiking to a local waterfall and then having Thanksgiving dinner at a little local eatery, we couldn’t agree fast enough! The waterfall was beautiful and the first thing we were thankful for during our dinner discussion was that we didn’t have to cook – that may seem a bit casual, we were also thankful for family back home, friends and everything else.
Lest you think we always missed out on the Thanksgiving football tradition, Thanksgiving in the Rio Dulce, Guatemala usually revolved around larger groups of cruisers gathering to celebrate in their respective marinas. We spent Thanksgiving at Catamaran Resort & Marina with a gathering of cruisers — the owners kindly procured and baked a tasty turkey and we all brought pitch-in dishes. What a feast that was! And the Catamaran bar is famous in the Rio for Sunday afternoon football on not one but two large flat screens – complete with very tasty bocados — plentiful free snacks and happy hour – Yum!
One year, with weather patterns in the Rio and the necessary tide to carry Winterlude across the bar at the mouth of the Rio Dulce, we spent Thanksgiving just the two of us with a baked chicken and appropriate feast, tied to a dock in Livingston, Guatemala awaiting the rising tide to allow us out at about 3 PM. Sometimes while cruising you just have to take advantage of favorable conditions. And we were thankful for those too, even though we missed all our friends and family that year.
So wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, this Thanksgiving, don’t forget to take a few moments to recall everything that’s enhanced your life and give thanks. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!