Monday, 7 August 2017

It takes a village - sailing communities

 "It takes a village to raise a child"  - Traditional African proverb

We enjoyed fresh mackerel rolls last week. The skipper made a coriander, lime and chilli dressing, fried the fish and cooked chips in our new air fryer. It went very nicely with some cider shandies. This is not a food blog though. The fish had been caught by our neighbour and was a thank you for the loan of an outboard battery. We have been part of incredible communities in the past and I admit that when we left Somerset one of my (many!) worries was that we would lose that feeling of belonging but even whilst we were cruising it was noticeable. We met people and moved on but stayed in touch with many. The community here is fantastic and we are surrounded by interesting and lovely people.

Mackerel - before and after

Our neighbours include 20 foot fishing boats, 40 foot power boats, 60 foot sailing boats and everything in between. We meet people with hugely different backgrounds and experiences but the sea is a great leveller. It is a pleasure to spend time together; putting the world to rights on the pontoon or over a cup of coffee, sharing experiences and tips, skills and resources. Some neighbours we live with year round, others we only see in the summer or on odd days when they come down to enjoy their boats, others are people who are just passing through.

We were shocked by sad news from a couple who we originally met in Quiberon (France) several years ago and have spent time with since, here in England. Their boat is now for sale, a sign reminding us all to enjoy life when we can as you never know what is around the corner. Another couple have just returned from an 18 month cruise and it has been good to catch up again.

There are others that we have met on line rather than in person and have a different sort of fellowship with from America and other places. I know that I have mentioned Women Who Sail before but really it is the most supportive group you could ever wish for. We even recently had a small meet up in person in Plymouth. There are many groups around such as Kids4sail that are great for information and support.

Looking out at the Marina from land

This week there was awful news of a family boat being lost in French Polynesia. The outpouring of practical, emotional and even financial support given freely by the community was incredible. Many people do not realise that there are many families, couples, single handers and others living on boats. This can be an issue for people setting out on a new adventure and facing the concerns of family and friends. To many it seems an unusual and even strange life but to thousands it is our normal. We know that we are part of something much bigger and are certainly not alone in living this way.

What about the sock? Well, the laundry is somewhere that we often meet up with people and communal washing machines are the start of many a conversation. This sock came back with our washing the other day and was obviously far too small for any of our crew. It has been returned to the laundrette to hopefully be reunited with its other half but it was a small reminder of just how interlinked our lives are. How we are all just living our lives, doing washing, looking after the children and going to work; the same as any other community.

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