We are beginning to look for a weather window. This, in case you do not know, is a departure date based on an ideal weather forecast. When crossing the Gulf Stream, that means wind going the same way as current. Ideally, we will set out past the reef, raise the spinnaker and glide all the way to the Bahamas. We are not in a rush, so we can wait for this weather window, and be ready when it “opens.” But, for the moment, we are still in Marathon. Although I’m starting to get antsy, I’m glad that were are still here, since it meant perfect timing to meet up with some old and precious friends of ours.
The Tucker family was in the keys doing a boat-building workshop and came by to see if we were in, so to speak. After some wild-goose-chasing and a game of phone tag, we finally connected with them. What a joyous reunion! We made a hasty dinner plan, invited them all back to our boat and had a wonderful evening. We comfortably had nine children, four adults and two cats on our boat for dinner and fun, and reconfirmed why we love having a large catamaran. Take Two is great boat with plenty of room, in this case, to take two large families!
We met the Tuckers at the St. Pete Boat Show about five years ago. They run a booth near the entrance of the show called “Kids Aboard.” It’s a place where young sailors can be dropped off for a few hours to do a boat building workshop. The plywood boats get worked on every day of the show (save Saturdays, which are reserved for Shabbat—the day of rest), and are launched and sailed the last day of the show. At the time when we met them, we were not of the “dropping off” mentality, so we barely paid them any notice. But later, as we were coming out of the show, their kids were playing soccer in the field and our kids asked to join in. I got to talking with them and we discovered a world of commonalities between our two families.
We ended up inviting them over to our house for dinner and becoming good friends. They had lived aboard their French-built aluminum catamaran “Fellowship” (currently for sale) and were able to share what living aboard with a large family was like (they had four girls at the time, and have since added a little boy to the mix). To us, they were the dream personified, truly inspiring us to keep working toward leaving a land life and buying a boat.
As we sat in our cockpit after dinner and reminisced, we realized how much had changed since we last invited them for dinner at our house! We had done the thing they had helped inspire us to do—perhaps they will now know how important their friendship was in helping us on our way. We all agreed that boat shows are important for those dreaming of going cruising, not just for the boats or sailing gadgets, but because of the people one meets there with inspiring stories and good advice.
For those sailing with families, or who are home-schooling, Kids Aboard is a great resource. We have the Kids Aboard burgee, which we can fly when we get to a new place to find other boats with children, and a plethora of tee-shirts, which always get a lot of comments when we’re out and about. Their website is a great place to read about homeschooling, good books, and family life aboard, with lots of links. Also, they still do boat building workshops for kids of all ages, church, school or homeschool groups, and can be seen at the Miami Boat Show in February. You can find them at www.kidsaboard.com.
Someday we may have the privilege of meeting up with folks dreaming of sailing away, and we will happily “pay it forward” by sharing our lives and stories with other young sailors. And thanks to all of you (whoever you are) reading our blog and sharing our life aboard!
For anyone interested, the recipe for salmon cakes we shared that night follows.
Prep time: 1 hour
Makes: 6 servings
3-4 cans wild salmon (a pound of fresh, steamed salmon would be great)
1 c. cracker crumbs (whole-wheat w/sesame works well)
1 large stalk celery
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 red pepper
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash
Salt and Pepper to taste
Use a food processor to crush crackers and mince veggies. In a large bowl, mix salmon, egg, cracker crumbs, minced veggies, and seasonings. (If too dry, add another egg; if too wet, add more cracker crumbs.) You should be able to use a large spoon or your hands to make 3/4“ thick patties. Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. When hot, spoon/shape patties and cook until lightly browned on one side. Flip and brown other side. Keep warm and serve with tartar sauce if desired.