Friday, December 17, 2010

The Group

At around 11:30 on December 15th we picked up anchor to leave the U S of A and its freezing temperatures and well stocked grocery stores behind. We joined four boats who last year travelled together and spent a good part of the winter sharing the cays of the Jumentos, a formerly ignored and isolated part of the Bahamas where you are cautioned to venture only if you are self-sufficient. This year we are determined to make it there, come hell, high water, or lousy blood tests notwithstanding.

The boats with whom we travelled, Far Niente, Savage Son, My Destiny, and Veranda, are all approximately the same size as us, if not the same ages, backgrounds and political inclinations. They are a good Group that has formed a bond. First Edition is like the new kid on the block just joining the homeroom at the local high school.

We met Jay and Di on Far Niente several years ago, and our friendship began over two bottles of wine following more hearty cocktails, at one of our favorite restaurants in Beaufort. Jay is responsible for our higher horsepowered engine, and I suppose is therefore Mooch’s Godfather. Never ask a former race car driver for his opinion on this subject. Diana is stunning and outgoing, and according to one in The Group, never sweats.

We met the Savages, Bob and Bev, while docked next to us in Nassau last year and the morning following happy hour together, we were each surprised by a now outdated email from Di and Jay suggesting that we look each other up. We spent several weeks with Savage Son and hiked for several rocky hours to locate phone service when Bob found out his pregnant daughter was in jeopardy. Sharing times like that creates a closeness generally resulting only after years of friendship.

We met Greg and Judy from My Destiny last year at a Laundromat in Black Point in the Exumas, when Jay and Di told them to look us up. Like ships passing in the night, we exchanged hellos but had little time to get to know each other before My Destiny bounded South for a belated connection with The Group. Six months later Judy and I friended each other on Facebook, and found out we were born on the same day. In the same year. Judy professes to be younger than I, but I demand to examine her birth certificate, conveniently left behind in the mountains of Colorado, before accepting the role of Older Sista.

Two years ago Jay emailed us to tell us Veranda was in Solomons, Maryland, at the same time that we were. We never met, but for years heard stories about Christy and Bill’s unparalleled hunting abilities (in sailor speak, this means fish and lobster harvesting, requiring sharp spears and quick reflexes). This past summer I was turned on to Bill’s blog, which is a spicy collection of sailing tales and ramblings frequently leading to snorts and laugh out loud reactions. Bill is a man’s man, with a sensitive side. He has an incredible respect for his wife, who is one of the coolest people on earth. It’s no wonder; she’s a Jersey Girl.

So, it was difficult to part with this group of old friends and friends in the making. But the independent streak in Peter and me led us to a divergent path, and after losing wind and patience, we sped off in the darkness while The Group sailed on, merrily making their 4-5-6 knots, in no hurry to reach their short-term homestead. Off they go to Andros, while we head to Nassau, the home of discounted phone cards and cheap Johnnie Walker. And protection from the North.

We hope to reconnect with The Group somewhere down the line, but are also anxious to see Celebrian and our many other old friends and new ones we haven’t met yet.

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