Thursday, November 8, 2012

Au revoir

The passing nor'easter soon after snow flurries over our marina yesterday.
Steve and Lynn on their Hallberg-Rassy ketch, Celebration, are dear friends that we have seen only twice in three years. We met them in 2010 when we were slip neighbors. They had been living on their boat for several years, and we learned a lot from them during the month and a half before they left for New England. Toward the end of summer, they sailed south, ultimately down through the Caribbean. 

But we never lost touch. Through their blog (link at right or and periodic emails, we not only enjoyed the cruising life vicariously, we maintained a running conversation that, while very different from those friendly phone calls on land, was just as effective. Perhaps even better than the land equivalent as the periodic contacts were more special.

Celebration in a rare marina stop at WPM
They have written about the curiosities of cruising friendships where people meet and then go their separate ways, knowing they might connect at another port, but recognizing that they might never see each other face to face again. Ever. The transitory nature of the connection is a catalyst for carpe diem, spontaneous and frequent sundowners, potlucks and drinks in the drink. Anything postponed may be lost forever. Similarly our friendship with Brits Tony and Jenny on their Hans Christian Lowena who departed for the Caribbean late 2011 and will return home to Portugal in 2014; we might catch up with them then.

Thus, we celebrated one more final sundowner with several migrating cruisers, several new friends who rode out Hurricane Sandy with us -- Jeff and Katie on Mezzaluna, Bob and Monique on Last Waltz, Mark (because he and his Boston Terrier, Hank, have been with us all summer, he is no longer really a "new" friend, but he is also heading to the BVI) on Katkandu -- as well as Steve and Lynn along with Lynn's brother, Gary, on the eve of their departure into the wild blue yonder (the Atlantic Ocean) on the trailing edge of a nor'easter that they hope to ride east until pushed south by the next high pressure system. Destination: Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. We will miss them, but hope they will stumble across Tony and Jenny and count on a rendezvous with Chris and Anne on Mr Mac.

Mezzaluna from Wisconsin

Last Waltz from Canada

Katkandu from Belize and NYC
Chris and Anne are longtime friends of Steve and Lynn. We met Chris and Anne when they traveled through Oriental soon after Lynn and Steve had headed north in 2010. They joined us for Music Night, to which Steve and Lynn had introduced us. During their travels, Chris has published two more books with a third pending. We have not seen them since 2010, but follow their blog (see link at right or here, and Cameron follows them on Facebook.

Two Aussie friends, Keith and Jennifer on Jack's Back, slipped in for a couple of nights and a potluck this week before heading to St Augustine from where they will fly back to Australia. We will see them again next spring as they head north earlier than this year when they kept postponing their departure from Oriental, ultimately decorating and driving the marina van in the 4th of July parade.

For all of our sailing friends, we wish fair winds and calm seas. We will think of you often. We hope you will pass through next spring on your way back north bringing tales of adventure and romance. All of you are our connection to a life we planned years ago.

Celebration leaves for Beaufort Inlet, then Virgin Gorda
Update 11.11.12:
We asked Steve and Lynn if they would do us a favor during their voyage south: drop a Message in a Bottle into the Gulf Stream when they crossed. Generously, they agreed and later posted the drop in their blog.

"We dropped a Message in a Bottle in the gulf stream on friday night at 2310 for Jim, Beth and Cameron on Wild Haggis. Coordinates N33.56.628 W075.23.182. no pictures taken due to darkness."

Pictures? We are happy to have the coordinates. Thank you!

The bottle is a clear wine bottle with an Ecco Domani label. The wine was a gift from a cruising couple, Hunter and Julie, who had returned to land and were leaving Oriental for a new life in the Winston Salem area. Somewhat ironically, we met Hunter and Julie through Steve and Lynn who met Hunter and Julie when they walked past Celebration on Town Dock a little while before we were gathering there for sundowners. Very serendipitous.

The bottle holds a message with our contact information, an ONC sticker and two Wild Haggis silicon bracelets with the Matheson clan motto, Fac et Spera ("Do and Hope"). It could take six months or more for the bottle to reach a shore of the eastern Atlantic. And then someone must find it and decide to contact us. As it rides the Gulf Stream, we will hope no large shark takes an interest (they famously eat anything) and no large ship shatters the bottle with its truck-sized propellers. Of course, it could be washed ashore most anywhere between North Carolina and Europe, so the bottle's Gulf Stream passage will remain a mystery for several months if not longer.

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