We have made some wonderful friends over the years, but it seems to us that boat friendships are different from those on land.
Boaters come and go. Some because they leave our home waters to explore other oceans and coastlines; some because they take up a new hobby or simply lose the passion for boating (remember that old saw: the two happiest moments in a boater’s life are when he or she buys a boat and when s/he sells that boat).
But somehow the friendships persist and we have close friends in other marinas, on both coasts and in other countries – some in places that we had never imagined boaters to go. So it seems that though the transience of boating leads to many partings, the mutual love of boats and the sea maintains the bond.
John and I are probably the longest liveaboards in our marina, me with thirty five plus years of living on boats and John with thirty four. Hardly surprising that we have so many friends right here. Some are full-time liveaboards like us and some are weekenders.
Often, we don’t know our friends’ last names, what they do for a living, or very much about their shore life. We’ll use their first names or nicknames – sometimes based on the name of their boats. Carol and Daryl are the ‘Rhymers,’ for obvious reasons, or the ‘Quiessences’ after their boat. Shirley and Ralph are the ‘Luckys;’ Carolyn and Chuck are the ‘Rising Wolfs’.
Tracy and Bill, the ‘Baronesses’ (nick-named for their boat) now live in North Carolina. They cruised all over Mexico with us, they in their beautiful sailboat and we in Poseidon, a rather large powerboat. Two very different vessels – which is why we became known as the ‘Odd Couple.’
About twenty years ago, on many trips to White’s Landing on beautiful Catalina Island, we would always see and admire a gorgeous wooden powerboat, the Tonina, anchored in the same spot. Everyone aboard, parents and sons, was tall, blond and good looking. They were active and enjoyed their watersports. Every morning the mom would start the day very early with a long round of waterskiing and this became a ritual that we expected. After about twelve years of waving but saying little more than ‘hello,’ we anchored a little too close to each other but amicably agreed that if both boats pulled up a little anchor chain we’d be comfortable and safe. This led to a boat friendship that we cherish and we always look forward to rounding a corner and seeing the ‘Toninas’ at anchor.
Brian and Suzi, the ‘Amazing Graces,’ lived on their boat a few slips down from us for several years. We became close friends without knowing much about each others’ lives for a long time. Then Brian decided to retire from his hectic job, get his professional skipper’s license and, Suzi being already retired, they would move to Catalina and live on their boat in Catalina Harbor; Brian would become a harbor patrol skipper. They love the lifestyle in the small community at Two Harbors. On every occasion that Poseidon’s in Catalina, we try to get together.
On our latest trip to the island, we decided to spend our last night at Two Harbors so we could see them. Unfortunately Suzi happened to be on the mainland but when Brian heard that we were there he came out to our mooring in Cherry Cove to see us. We have never seen Brian so happy and that made our day.
We’ve always said that it’s nothing but sheer pleasure to sail and to cook with family and friends, to share our boating lifestyle and the food and wine at our table. We wouldn’t trade these ‘different’ friendships for anything.