When Jeff and I first hatched the idea of selling our house(s) and moving away from Georgia and onto a sailboat, one question we grappled with was how we would leave our friends and find a new community, especially since we planned to be on the move quite a bit.
I knew we would be among mostly like-minded people in marinas and anchorages, and that many (most) friendships formed would be short-lived. The draw to move on, however, was stronger than the idea to stay, so the decision was made.
In this post, I am referring to cruisers who don’t permanently live in one specific marina, rather those of us who cruise to many different areas, visiting a marina for a set amount of time, or dropping the hook in different anchorages during the cruising season.
It is the holiday season here in Mexico, and we just celebrated Christmas with 83 fellow-cruisers at a fun and festive pot-luck dinner followed by a “white elephant” gift exchange that was full of laughter and fellowship.
As I looked around the rooftop palapa overhanging the Pacific Ocean here in the town of Barra de Navidad, I recognized many faces from last season during our eight-months of cruising Mexico’s Pacific coast and the Sea of Cortez. There were many new faces that we just met, and many more that may or may not become familiar as the season progresses. We were also joined by our good friend Marshall from s/v Tenacity, who we met and spent a lot of time with at the beginning of our Mexican adventure in Ensenada. Other Ensenada friends, Dennis and Geri on Ultegra are also here, as well as Nancy of s/v Aldabra, our amiga from most of last year’s cruising season and Spanish school in Taxco (who we are now buddy-boating with).
Getting together with other boaters presents itself in many forms. In marinas, cruisers often share rides (or walks) into town for shopping or fun excursions. Marina staff sometimes host socials, or poolside happy hours. And of curse there are dock parties and just sharing food or time on one another’s boats.
In an anchorage, there are sometimes pre-arranged activities. I specifically think of Tenacatita, Mexico, where there are daily bocce games on the beach, swim to shore, and a weekly dinghy raft-up pot luck. We also enjoy kayaking or paddleboarding to other boats for a chat, or hosting dinners aboard. In the Sea of Cortez, the hiking trails are endless, and we met some friends that we enjoyed exploring with.
The opportunities to socialize abound, if that is what you want. Of course, some people aren’t as socially inclined as I am, and choose to hang on the boat and chill. That’s cool, too.
One thing about the cruising community. When you meet someone you gel with, friendships form fast and strong. Because you know, you realize, that that relationship may be brief. Time shared together is special, and goodbyes are tough, and often emotional. Some friends have left the cruising life altogether, and I know that it will take effort (and a plane ticket) if we hope to reconnect.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t include our fixed community, our “tribe”, Roxie and Chance. They’ve been our constants through all our adventures.
In a matter of days, we will ring in 2018. And in the new year, I look forward to expanding our community.