We spent Christmas Eve 2014 with our friends Kimberly, Michael, and Ally on their 34’ Gemini catamaran Ally Cat. This was special for two reasons: one, a family of seven almost never gets invited onto someone else’s boat for a meal, and two, these are good friends we met at the Capital Yacht Club in Washington DC that September, and we didn’t know when we would see them again. They were on their way to the Caribbean, and for the couple of weeks they were with us in Florida, it was wonderful.
With the crew of Ally Cat, we had traipsed all over Washington DC on field trips to museums and memorials. We set out every morning, walking down L’Enfant Plaza with our combined six, singing like the Von Trapps on an excursion. Ally is a bright girl who loves to play games, make music, and do art projects—a perfect companion for Sarah. Together, they colored mandalas, played jacks and mancala and backgammon and cards by the hour, and played music together and laughed and talked.
At Christmastime, Ally blended in seamlessly with our family as her parents provisioned, cleaned, and repaired their boat for the trip across the Gulf Stream and into the Caribbean. We baked and frosted cookies and made Christmas decorations and sang carols. We did a girls’ outing to see the Nutcracker. And on Christmas Eve, we all crowded onto their boat for bowls of steaming tortilla soup and homemade cornbread. A few days later, they were gone, and little pieces of our hearts with them.
Some friends we meet at the beginning of their journey, others we meet at the end, on their way back to a land-life. Occasionally, we get to travel for a while with another family and become especially close. We treasure them all and what they have added to our cruising life. It was bittersweet when Ally Cat set off—we were happy to see them sail toward a distant horizon, and sad that we were staying behind to re-rig Take Two instead of cruising together.
One can imagine my delight as we watched the tracks on our Inreach devices slowly converging in the Bahamas this spring. I couldn’t wait to hear about Ally Cat’s cruising experiences, and Kimberly and Michael were looking forward to some fun in the Bahamas with old friends. The tracks finally crossed the first week of April. We had caught a Mahi on the way to George Town, and we shared fish tacos that night aboard Take Two and got caught up. While we were there, we had a beach day near Chat n’ Chill, letting the kids swing through the trees while the grown-ups chatted in the shade.
We did a mom’s day out provisioning in George Town, with four boat moms and all their groceries aboard Take Two’s 13-foot inflatable!
Rachel got her “date” with Kimberly aboard Ally Cat while Sarah had girl time of her own with friends and the boys and their friends hiked up Monument Hill. We shared a beach fire (and s’mores) with Ally Cat and Abby Singer, sang and played ukulele together at the St. Francis resort cruiser’s music night, and spent a day taking copious notes on their trip through the Caribbean.
And now, we have come full circle. I sat with Kimberly and gave her my notes and cruising guides for the Bahamas before their trip, and she has returned the favor. We find ourselves visiting beautiful places I had read about on Ally Cat’s blog, using notes I took from Kimberly’s trip to find good spots to anchor or kayak, and generally taking a little piece of our friends with us on our trip. This is what is best and worst about our transient way of life: time with friends is often short, but there’s always the promise of meeting up in beautiful places somewhere down the path.