Old Friends Not Yet Met

One of the attributes of the cruising life is the people you meet. When those people are other cruisers, there is an immediate commonality of experience. Regardless of its length or depth, that common ground (or is it water?) creates opportunities that years in a city and its various ‘urbs may not.

In January (almost to the day),  I “Kudoed” a Blog called Attainable Adventure Cruising. I did so for it richness as a resource and  the civility of its discourse. Across the ensuing months, I joined the dialog there. Recently the author, John Harries, suggested we might meet in Charleston where they are wintering and through which we were planning to go on our way to wherever it is we are going.

After a quiet and calm night anchored in the more slowly flowing and more salty waters of Whiteside Creek, we made our way to Charleston in bright sun and light and warming breezes.  We cannot cross that harbor without remembering the first time in 1980 — when a nuclear submarine crossed our path inbound near Fort Sumter. The Navy is gone. The Fort remains.

We came alongside the city marina at near enough slack water that docking was a well assisted non-challenge. [The last time in Charleston, at Cooper River, it was much like underway refueling between ships as a 2kt current on the bow meant we tied up with the engine 1/3 ahead.]

When all was settled, I noticed we had been placed up within a boat length of Morgan’s Cloud, John’s and Phyllis Nickel’s home afloat and adventuring cutter. A bit later, John came over as I was switching anchors.

Later still, we joined them for sunset, conversation and a boat tour. Contrasting the evening with the cocktail parties, conferences and black-ties of our land life, no one had to shout to be heard. No one you were talking to was constantly looking for someone more important to talk to, no one was trying to get money or preference or favorable consideration  out of anyone. No one was trying to impress…and that made an impression.

It was a meeting of old friends not yet met.

It’s not always that way. The cruising community has its stinkers, many of whom join groups of the like-minded and a many of whom can be found lurking in internet forums waiting to pounce on some perceived incorrectness.

When I pointed to Attainable Adventure Cruising for it civility, it was implicit that civility was based on the people behind the blog. Last night that became explicit.

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