June 9, 2010

Friend of a Friend

The first time we headed off cruising, we left with a list of boat names and route plans-these were for people that friends, or friends of friends, knew were out sailing, somewhere. We also carried letters of introduction--an old-fashioned way to make the acquaintance of someone you might otherwise never meet.
I had almost forgotten these quaint (if inefficient) ways we used to use to meet people. After all, the cruising community is a tight knit one-and when we meet someone new, that six degrees of separation thing tends to be, at most, three. Add blogging to the mix and it's pretty much guaranteed that any new boat that shows up (especially if it's a catamaran with a kid aboard) will seem a bit familiar.
This is how it was when S/V Savannah pulled in to our anchorage yesterday. Unlike land based life, where it's considered nosy to stare at your neighbours, it's perfectly normal to openly observe other boats (or eavesdrop on them when they talk on the radio). So as they settled in, I was able to inform Evan and Maia that Savannah had a family of three aboard and the boat looked like a one-off cat, similar in size to ours. I put down my binoculars when they all loaded into their dinghy and sped over to our boat.
"We know someone in common," Monica told me. And she went on to explain how they had met good friends of ours (Cindy and Doug-Annapolis liveaboards) at an Annapolis boat show a few years ago and that they now kept in touch through blogging. Cindy had told them to keep an eye out for us. This is when I realized I had read their blog about Savannah over the winter-but the last time I had checked they were still a ways from being ready to leave San Diego.
We continued the conversation as we went to shore and hiked up a steep arroyo together. Maia helped 4-year-old Jake, while we filled in the gaps that our quick intro hadn't covered. Later we visited them on their boat for appies-and the wine and snacks stretched late into the night. So we made plans for diving today-just to stretch the meeting a little further.

I came across some of our old letters of introduction when we were preparing for this trip. The formal language seemed silly and stilted, but I thought about keeping them. Then I realized blogging and email had taken the place of those letters. I felt a bit nostalgic when I recycled the letters go-thinking a quick intro by email could never really replace those long missives, filled with flowery prose that extolled our virtues to a stranger.
But this morning-as I look out the window at Savannah, and realize we easily could have shared this anchorage and never learned that Andy is an underwater photographer, Monica makes a tasty ceviche and Jake can climb like a little mountain goat, it seems clear that any introduction is a good one.
So thanks, Cindy.
*I'll add Savannah's blog to my list when we next have email, but you can find it by clicking on Zach Aboard and them checking Cindy's blog roll.
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boatbaby said...

Denada! Check out Andy's work online when you are plugged in again... amazing! We get LOTS of wannabes come to visit us during the boat show each year that find us on the web. They were the one couple that when they left we said to each other, "Yeah, they'll make it out there, no problem!"

Deb said...

I'd love to read one of those old letters of introduction. Any chance you'd be willing to post one?

S/V Nomad