One of the best parts of this trip is the opportunity to make connections with people. We have met at least one person every day who sparks a connection. On day one it was the families from California and France who were experiencing cruising through the eyes of their young children. Day two it was the octogenarians on an ancient wooden boat who were so excited to row daily to the mossy shores to collect exotic mushrooms. Day three it was a woman who built a fairy house and lived her subsistence life there. So far, all were new connections. But then rekindling old connections started to happen. We ran into an old friend I met at UVM, then spent time with current friends, but in their new home in Vinalhaven, then met extended families of dear friends. Every day our network of friends expanded, making us feel like this trip was laid out for us, preplanned.
Then weird things started to happen. We were in a foreign land, called New York City, getting desperate for a place to tie up our dinghy, and there in front of us was a Whitby 42, with owners aboard. Who is aboard their boat on a chilly, windy late September day? The entire marina was deserted except this boat. They invited us aboard, gave us the key to their marina, let us tie up our dinghy to their boat, and welcomed us as friends. The next day in Cape May, on impulse, we headed into a barber shop to trim both of our mops. I’ve never even set foot in a barber shop before. There, on the bulletin board were many local notes and two Christmas family photos. Wait, we knew this family! They were from Maine. The little girl in both photos was one of Bill’s students at Maine Adaptive. They skied together regularly on Sundays. Later that day, my friend Sarah texted “Hey, my daughter is counting butterflies in the same town you are in right now. Will you meet her and take a photo for me?” We met Katie, had a delightful evening with her and, yes, took photos for her mom.
Continuous great connections have been occurring throughout the Chesapeake Bay. First, we stopped at Rock Hall for a quick scheduled engine check, and ended up staying 5 days to endure the almost hurricane weather as Joaquin skimmed by us. The fabulous marina managers let us stay as long as we needed at no charge, an unheard of policy. Then we attended a Whitby 42 Rendezvous as a last minute decision and were blown away by all of the welcoming words of wisdom and kindness. Our heads and hearts are now full of ideas for our travels as well as hopes for dropping anchor near these fabulous people.
Meeting people has become an expectation, not a surprise, now. Our experiences are weaving together with new and old friends and family like a beautiful tapestry. No holes. Just colors. Today was no exception. Twenty-seven years ago, we sailed into Puerto Rico, burdened by the Coast Guard troops who were on board, holding their large guns in position, and stomping about in those huge black boots. To make a long story short, they finally left when they realized we were in fact not the boat carrying the drugs from Mexico, and a very nice couple witnessed this whole scene. Jim and Anne were their names, and we ended up sailing in Turks and Caicos with them. Every year we have sent letters to each other and kept up with each others’ travels and families. Today we had the great fortune to spend the day with them. Even though so many years have passed, they haven’t changed a bit. They still are the same cruisers at heart as they were a quarter century ago.
Connections are everywhere and help us feel grounded. They link our past to our present to our future. They link what we know to what we can learn. I look forward to all the connections that will occur on this journey and hope to be part of others’ connections along their journeys.