Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The lonely sailor? Don't think so....

As I delicately unravel the crispy gold paper from my second indulgently smooth, rich Swiss chocolate, I have to steady myself quickly with my legs, so as not to appear inexperienced and clumsy. This monohull is rocking and swinging so violently in the rough night waves, that I can’t imagine how anyone handles it.
Meanwhile, the others chat and calmly snack on tiny decadent wedges of fresh parmesan and crackers infused with thyme and sea salt. Wine glasses are balanced in hands and laps. It’s all very civilized, apart from the wild movement that engulfs us.
This evening we find ourselves aboard a ‘rental’ boat, a 41 foot Moorings charter Beneteau with a Swiss couple who have sailed for years, and now come down to the Caribbean or the Med to charter twice a year. He is a gentle dentist with a poker straight white halo of hair, she a graceful air hostess. Lovely people. We met only a couple hours earlier, over fresh grilled lobster, rum punches and country music Christmas tunes on the beach. Sometimes it’s all a bit surreal this life. While ‘Black Boy’ served up an amazing spread and Dolly Parton serenaded us in the tropical surroundings, we got to talking to the other couple at the table. As you do.
Blackboy (on the right), who served us the wonderful lobster supper
 Cruising turns out to be quite a social way of living.
The next evening in a new island setting, we are invited for supper aboard Serena, owned by a lively Finnish couple – he, an Elvis impersonator, she a hair stylist. Living aboard their 38 foot Swedish boat for a few years now, they are quick to offer up some exotic Portugese port, followed by fresh grilled tuna with coconut and rice, AND a glimpse of his lavender sequined Elvis costume. Gotta love’em.
We met some stops back, on the beach at Sandy Island, an uninhabited finger of white sand and amazing reefs for snorkeling, off the mainland of Carriacou.
JW and I had managed to hook on to a mooring ball with no incident and had decided to celebrate with a late afternoon walk on the beach. Next thing we knew, there had been an impromptu barbeque party organised by one of the American crewed boats in the anchorage, and the couples from about 10 boats pulled in by dinghy for some live music (courtesy our soon to be friend), socializing, beers and a great potluck. 
Arriving by dinghy to the impromptu cruiser barbeque party on Sandy Island

It’s a small intimate world despite us all being ‘out here’, supposedly away from society as a whole. Though perhaps that is why we gravitate together and always find a common thread.
We met a couple from Mississauga at the barbeque (even pinpointed the street they lived on) – and then remembered we’d actually met them last month back in Grenada at the cheap burger Fridays that attracts lots of us frugal cruisers.
The 'gang' on the beach

I have a feeling we’ll meet them again. Along with our awesome new friends, Elvis and Madam scissorhands. These days I remark how odd it is when we see a boat arriving in a bay that we DON’T know or haven’t seen or heard from on the Grenada cruiser’s net.
So we make our way up through the Caribbean islands and beyond, but we are never alone really. We say goodbye almost daily, or more like 'farewell', but every bay has boats full of potential new pals, ready for suppers aboard and rum rendezvous on the beach. 

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