These special occurrences are not planned, nor are they contrived. Sometimes we go for awhile and nothing special seems to happen, then all of a sudden, we are overwhelmed. For instance, we expected our stop at Pitcairn Island to be special, but it was over the top. After all, anchoring in Bounty Bay and having breakfast with Brenda Christian of Fletcher Christian fame (or infamy) cannot help but be special. Brenda had breakfast waiting for us when we arrived and her husband, Mike, took us on tours of the island. They loaded us up with the best of the island's fresh fruit and souvenirs when we left. When we moved on to the Gambiers, our entrance into French Polynesia, we weren't expecting anything quite as special. Our French was adequate, but not great and the locals were pleasant, but not particularly outgoing until we met a young pearl farmer named Dada. For some reason, Dada took a liking to us. He was a commercial pearl farmer, but did not run commercial tours like others in the area.
He invited us to his pearl farm where he actually allowed us harvest pearls from his oysters and then experiment with the delicate process of reseeding them. Much to our chagrin, our reseeding technique was unsuccessful and we ended up having oysters for lunch. We offered to pay; he was insulted. Not only did he not accept our offer of money, he gave us the exquisite black pearls we had harvested. We always try to pay back in friendship and small gifts, but quite honestly we had nothing to equal his gifts to us.
Let's move ahead to Niue, another tiny island nation, this time in the middle of the South Pacific. We had made the acquaintance of Keith well in advance of our arrival through our association with SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association). We kept in touch as we traveled across the South Pacific, so he was well aware of our arrival time. He greeted us with traditional tiare flower leis, took us on island tours and made each day in Niue special and exciting. The serendipity came into play when he asked us if we'd like to meet the President of the country. And we did!
How about friends of ours coming to visit us in Sydney last year and Fay announced she'd been in contact with a long, lost cousin. Would we mind taking a road trip to Canberra, Australia's capital territory (like Washington, DC in the US) with them? We're always up for inland travel and this portended to be a fun trip. It was beyond fun when we discovered her long, lost cousin worked for the Governor General of Australia. He took us for tours of government buildings and monuments, gardens and galleries. The piece de resistance...a trip to Government House, the residence of the Governor General. We were astounded as we drove up to the gates and the guards just opened them and let us drive through.
Innumerable times people have walked by our boat on a dock or paddled by in a kayak or dinghy and we poke our heads out and say hi. An instant conversation ensues and before you know it, we're sitting at their dinner table or they're sitting aboard Cups...old friends.
If we sound like we're bragging, forgive us...it is not our intent. We are sharing with you our utter amazement at the generosity and kindness of strangers. People, one on one, are so much alike. Despite political, religious, cultural and racial differences, we find that we are all so much more alike than we are different and what differences there are can most times be celebrated rather than merely tolerated.
What's the moral of this story? To paraphrase the good luck dragon: Good luck finds you if you keep on trying. He's right!
Now you'll have to excuse us. New friends whom we've just met on the dock have invited us to go on a Tasmanian wine tour with them. Wow!