As far as a letter of
goes, I’m going to call Maia’s letter to Sara and Stof the
most unique. Just over four years ago, on November 3, 2011 actually, Maia threw
a bottle over the side when we were in the Grand Passage near New Caledonia. Specifically we were at 18°
39’S 163° 09’E.
Despite this accuracy of detail, none of us remembers the moment the
bottle went in. I recall Maia suggesting we have wine—and reminding her that we
rarely imbibe while on passage. In the end we found an empty wine bottle, she
scrawled a message in green ink and over it went. The bottle then travelled
against the current and washed up on remote Huon Reef where Sara, Stof and their
friend Dave found it on the beach when they stopped in for repairs three weeks
later. Happily Maia’s letter-in-a-bottle skills are well developed and she gave
her contact information. A month or so later the email arrived from the crew of
|Huon Reef--Sara and Stof's photo|
Takalani and Ceilydh almost met multiple times crossing the
Pacific. We sailed from Mexico
within a few days of each other and crossed wakes and swapped anchorages (ending
up with many common friends (Graham)). We both even went solo into the remote
northern parts of Vanuatu—both
thinking we were the last boat left and that it was time to turn west.
nice note saying they found the bottle is where it may have ended. But several
months ago we got another note—Sara reminded us who she was and told us that
she and Stof were back living in Cape Town with two adorable new crew, and
would we like to meet? So we joined them in their home so they could meet Maia,
return her letter (even Dave was there) and of course, have a braai.
up was a fantastic day (01-16-16) spent swimming 16 of the (very cold and colder) tidal swimming pools
around Cape Town
for Sara’s b-day, followed by a braai.
local people is one of the best parts of the cruising life. The first time we went
sailing we carried a stack of hand written letters introducing us to people
around the world (it was pre-easy internet). The letters were like something
out of Downton Abbey—each a request to the recipient that they give the bearer
(us!) every possible assistance.
days, the letters of introduction are a bit more casual and come through
facebook, friends, family or our blog. South Africa has been remarkably
rich with wonderful introductions. There was one introduction which resulted in
a curry lunch at the Oyster Box hotel, another ‘friend-of-a-friend’ has
graciously ensured we have someone to call on in every port we visit. A South
African sailing friend we first met back in our Annapolis days (now in BC) gave
us an entire list of names and we hope a meeting won’t be too far in the
were also lucky enough to share in another boat’s family introduction to the
very lovely Shaun Visser, Tania & Lynette. We had one afternoon of so much
laughter and fun my stomached ached afterward. This was followed by an incredibly
warm welcome to a ‘traditional’ Christmas dinner complete with Mother Christmas
and lamb on the braai ( Photos and great post by Neil and
Ley on Crystal Blues).
next fantastic meeting came a few days later when we arrived in Port Elizabeth. Neither
Maria nor I can recall when we started writing to each other (we’re both
writers, with daughters near the same age called Maia/Maya and they are
planning to head off sailing) but we’ve been planning to meet them ever since South Africa
went on our agenda for the year.
almost didn’t happen when a weather window opened up, which was going to take
us through to Simons Town, meant we’d speed on by. But cue the well-timed
rudder problems—which we would never have recovered from in < 24 hours
without Maria and Mike’s fantastic local knowledge (and the fact they have some
crazy good connections). The outcome was a total stranger drove to East London, talked his way into a closed workshop and
repaired our rudder fittings.
next hop took us to Maria, Mike, Maya and Murry and a fantastic braai (seriously, no South
African encounter can happen without one--which we love), a great New Year’s Eve and we even
squeezed in a visit to the stunning Addo
good news is we’ve been socializing a lot and now have a very healthy stack of
bottles saved up. Maia’s next task is to start writing more letters. I think
tossing a bottle or two off the Cape of Good Hope
is the way to go.