Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Hello neighbour!

It was nice to be visited by an old neighbour this week. We were moored next to each other a couple of years ago at a marina a couple of miles away from here. He is local to the area and it was good to catch up.

We have had the pleasure of meeting many people over the course of our trip; British, French, German, Spanish, American, Norwegian, Maltese, Russian, Dutch, Polish and others. There are many people that we stay in touch with (one sailor we met in Gosport we enjoyed sharing a drink with 2 years later when our paths crossed again in La Rochelle) and others who we are still enjoying sharing adventures and experiences with before we part to go our separate ways.

The cruising community is a wonderful, fluid society. Its itinerant nature means that friendships develop over a different timescale as opportunities have to be grabbed before people move on. Spending time with other cruisers, swapping stories, information and even unwanted items, to free up room on one boat and meet a need on another, is a great pleasure.

A parting gift from a fellow mariner when we left Gijon
 - strong stuff.

Community is a subject close to the heart of many sailors this week following an incident involving an American family and the media storm which followed. It just happens that one of the crew involved is the creator of a facebook group called women who sail. Now numbering over 2000 members this is one of the most supportive, inclusive, encouraging and informative groups I’ve ever come across. The subjects discussed range widely and whilst not everyone agrees all the time discussions remain respectful and extremely informative.   

The outpouring of support, empathy and practical offers of help for the crew and the wider cruising community affected by the incident from this group over the last couple of days has been incredible. There is a palpable feeling of fellowship within this group, even though many of us have never met in person.

Although cruising remains a lifestyle for crews who are self sufficient and almost self contained, it is the others around us, the communities both real and virtual which bring the experience alive. We owe thanks to all those – sailors, locals, staff, young, old, on-line, fleeting acquaintance’s or extended stays - who have shared the adventure with us.

Just messing around in boats...(there were 4 dinks and a kayak
out in the end this day with other crews supporting from their decks!)


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