It's quite different being back in Florida. First, we've had a hard time remembering we're actually back in the States. We get and can make phone calls! We don't have to check in with Customs or Immigration every time we move from port to port. We also have lots of friends and relatives here and have received all sorts of “welcome back” messages and opportunities to get together. It's good to be back. We met up with Doug, one of our oldest cruising friends. We met him in Charleston back in 2000 when we were just starting out. Lots of things have changed throughout the last 16 years, but our friendship has endured. He drove up from Lake Worth and stayed the night on the boat. We haven't seen him since 2012 when he visited us for New Year's in Sydney, but we picked up as if it was yesterday. There was not a minute that we weren't chatting and catching up. Doug was most noted for receiving, consolidating and sending or toting boat parts to Nine of Cups wherever we were in the world.
We were in the dinghy heading back to Cups one afternoon when we heard a hail from shore “Hey, Nine of Cups”. Kurt and Pamela from “Big Frisky” had been following our blog for some time. Embarrassingly, they knew way too much about us, but in the few minutes we had to chat, we learned a bit about them as well. We have the cruising life in common and we're all SSCA members. They're heading north, too. We hope to meet up with them again along the way.
We got an email from Zack who had read David's article about Dyneema lifelines in Good Old Boat. He recognized our boat name and sent us an email letting us know that we were neighbors in the mooring field. His ketch, Moonlight, is moored just in front of us. We'll get together with him before we leave.
Cheryl and Dave aboard Renaissance have been following our blog, too and we've had lots of emails back and forth over the years as they prepared to throw off the docklines and embrace the cruising life. And they did! They're here in St. Augustine. Getting together with them was like meeting up with old friends, though we'd never met before other than through internet correspondence.
Our niece, Jill, and her family made the 3-hour trek from Florida's west coast just to visit with us for a few hours one evening. We hadn't seen her since 2007, but after lots of hugs and kisses, it didn't take us long to begin catching up over dinner at the pub. What a fine, enjoyable reunion.
Then, out of the blue, we got a call from Stephan, one of the marina employees. Uh-oh … what did we do wrong? Nothing. Our friends Alyson & Mara from the Boston area follow our blog and are friends with Stephan. He called to welcome us on their behalf and offered us the use of his Jeep! Wow … wheels in St. Augustine. Awesome!
The world of cruisers has always been a friendly one. Though the passages may be long sometimes and sailboats are notoriously slow, we prove time and time again that the world is small. Meeting up with relatives and old and new friends is one of the wonderful aspects of cruising. Being back in the USA means we're all more accessible to one another. We're hoping this trend of meeting new folks, old friends and relatives continues as Nine of Cups and crew sail north in familiar home waters.