Friday, September 7, 2012

Damon and Marcie Become Sailors

We were very fortunate to meet some really good friends by accident.  Well, maybe not accident but more just by surprise at the time and place. You never know when you will meet people that will become lifelong friends.  One of the things that I love/hate about the cruising life is the people that you meet along the way.  I love it because we meet people from all walks of life and spend time getting to know such a diverse group of people.  I hate it because sometimes you have to say goodbye before you want to.  It's more of a blessing than a curse though, 'cause we get to meet so many awesome people along the way.

I will let Damon tell you the story about how we met.  Here is a guest blog from Damon and Marcie, friends that came to visit us in the US and Spanish Virgin Islands:

Marcie and Damon chillin' at Mamacita's in Culebra

Little did we know that a trip to a Dominican Republic resort would change our lives. It started innocently enough: While lying in our cabana, soaking up as much of paradise as we could, we kept seeing the same group of friends whooping it up in the cold tubs on the beach. I nudged Marcie and said, “We gotta get to know those people, I overheard them talking about living on their boats.” It sounded like a fantasy life, and we had to know more.

We invited ourselves in the tub and made quick friends of the whole gang; Troy and Deana, Rene and Stacy, Patrick and Darnell, and Ivy. We were fascinated by our new friends, and we just didn’t stop the barrage of questions about the lifestyle and their idyllic life on board their floating homes. All of our curiosity and Deana’s southern hospitality added up to an invitation to spend time with them on Storyville. What a gift!! It took us a couple months to work out the details but we met up with Storyville in St Thomas in May. 

Growing up on an inland lake in Michigan, I love the water, but neither Marcie nor I really knew what we were in for. Would we be comfortable on a boat for ten days? Would Troy and Deana be our kind of people? Would we fit in with the “boat people”? If they got sick of us would they make us walk the plank? Well, it all worked out well. Storyville is a beautiful and comfortable boat, and Troy and Deana could not have been more hospitable. They made sure we felt right at home.

A cuttlefish see on a reef at Culebrita
We set sail out of St Thomas on a beautiful day. It took us only a few hours to reach Culebrita. The uninhabited island is only accessible by private boat so the only people we saw during our visit were other cruisers.  The small protected cove is exactly what you see on brochures for Caribbean vacations: beautiful bright blue water, a pristine beach and snorkeling right behind the boat. I think we were in the water about three minutes after hooking up to the buoy.

Can you see Troy waiving?
The only structure on Culebrita is an ancient light house built by the Spanish Crown in 1886. It took us about an hour to hike to the peak and take in breathtaking views of the entire island and Storyville below. If you look real close in this picture I think you can see Troy waiving from the cockpit.

One of the best evenings we had on the trip was Mexican pot-luck night. We made a couple of dishes, grabbed a couple of bottles and dingy’d over to Island Dream for an evening of getting to know your neighbors. What a blast! I can certainly say that the boating community is very warm and welcoming. At least this group of sailors is. It was great to get to know the rest of the cruising armada Rene and Stacy, and Pat and Darnell, and also to experience each of their floating homes. A big thank you to all for their hospitality.

The ten days seemed to go by in a blink and we were not ready to leave when the time came. Our hosts had effortlessly made our adventure an amazing and memorable one. One thing is for sure: our lives have been altered forever. We have a three-year plan to become cruisers. Thank you Troy and Deana!

Damon was even brave enough to go up the mast for us!
Strangers are just friends waiting to happen. ~Rod McKuen, Looking for a Friend

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