Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Family Love Affair

When we travel together, it's like boat baby gang.  "Look out! We've got dirty diapers and we're not afraid to use 'em!"
It's often said that friendships in the cruising community blossom fast and furious.  While we have definitely made life-long friends on this journey of ours - I would have to say that Scott and I have actually struggled a bit in this area.  Turns out this kind of camaraderie does not, as is often alluded, come in spades whence on the water.  People are nice, helpful and friendly and all...but sparks are not flying at every single pot-luck (to which we have only been one this season) with every single cruiser.

Part of this is the fact that Scott and I are always a little "behind the pack" and late to the party.  Right now, for example, most "cruisers" are tucked safely away to wherever they will stay for hurricane season.  It's "low season" in these parts.  The anchorages have thinned out, the happy hours aren't exactly "hopping" and the marina's are more or less empty.  Most people on our route south passed through this area months ago, so we're meeting less folks because we're picking up the rear as it were. We actually kind of like it this way though, so no complaints here.

The big reason for our lack o' buddies, however, is most likely our age.  At thirty-four and thirty-seven, we are approximately thirty years younger than most cruisers.  This is not to say that friendships cannot blossom cross-generationally - because they absolutely can.  Some of the very best friends we have had the pleasure to cruise with are Baby Boomers.  Sometimes, however, it's nice to hang with your peers.  But we've had trouble here... On the rare occasion when we do meet "young" cruisers (the further south we go, the fewer there are), more often than not they are a) sans children b) lack alarm clocks of the "human" variety and c) have livers pickled with cheap rum and Ginger Beer (with the exception of my beloved Bahama mamas). Not that Scott and I are above cheap rum and Ginger Beer, because we're not...we just have a baby who wakes up at 6am and waking up that early with a colossal hangover while still expected to perform parental duties is HELL (trust us, we know).  We like to think we are in the "cool parent" category and we do indulge from time to time - but we cannot party like we used to...and like other young cruisers often do.

But I digress.

We made friends here in St. Maarten (insert happy dance).  Really, really, really, really COOL friends (insert even more exaggerated happy dance). And guess what?  They are young, they live on a boat, and they have a BABY! (somebody get me a scrap of cardboard, because I'm practically break-dancing over here!)  This, my friends, is the ultimate trifecta of togetherness!  Ladies and gentlemen:  we have fallen in love with the "S" family.

Darcy, Luke and baby Stormer live in St. Maarten on their boat.  They'd been reading our blog for some time and Darcy and I emailed back and forth hoping for a meet-up.  I was excited at the prospect, I mean - you never know how people will gel - but I got a good feeling about this family.  "Scott!" I exclaimed after her first email, "There's a family in St. Maarten!  They are sailing to Grenada too... and get this: their son is named 'Stormer'!! Isla could have a playmate with a super cool name and we might have a fun buddy boat - they're going to be in the Caribbean for the next couple years like us!!"  Scott doesn't exactly share my 'insta-excitement' over things unknown, but he smiled and said "Oh really?  Cool," and continued tinkering with whatever he was tinkering with (the man can tinker).

The morning after we arrived, they dinghied over to our boat to say hello.  We invited them and their (absolutely adorable) little boy, Stormer, aboard for coffee and the love was almost instant.  We've been hanging with them ever since.  We even had one night where we all got a little starry-eyed and drank way too much after the babies went to bed.  Needless to say, we all suffered the punishment for it.  But here's the thing: misery loves company.  The fact that we all woke up the next day at the crack of dawn to bouncing babies and had to be functioning parents took a tiny bit of the edge off the pain.  Solidarity people.  We all had a sluggish greasy lunch together complete with dark sunglasses, pounding headaches and Bloody Mary's.  The evening served as a brutal reminder that we cannot drink like that any more.  None of us.  Ever.  Again.  Sangria: 1  Parentals: 0.

Meeting this awesome family has been a total breath of fresh air.  While Scott and I enjoy each other's company most of the time, it has been so nice to hang out with other people that are young and have a baby.  We didn't realize it, but we've been positively starving for this kind of companionship.  Their friendship is legitimate soul food.  The best part?  Seeing Isla and Stormer play.  They giggle and laugh, they kiss and hug.  He pushes her in her stroller and she shares her sippy cup with him when he's thirsty.  It's pretty freaking adorable.  They play so sweet with one another and they keep each other entertained (siiiiiiigh).  The four of us parents get all aflutter trying to catch their kodak moments on film.

So it's official:  Isla is off the market.  Arranged marriage might be considered "old school" and not the norm in our culture, but this match is just too good to be true.  We're having a family-style love affair over here and it's nothing short of awesome.


Michelle said...

I LOVE this post! Seriously too cute. Makes us want to start the sailing lifestyle now.

Karen said...

So great...

Jennifer said...

How freakin' cute is that?!? All of it! :)

Julie said...

I really konw what you are saying here... not too many families travelling down south, we are still hoping to find the perfect match like you did. We are traveling with our 2 kids (5 and 8) to Grenada and did not meet too many family on board.
Lucky you!!!! :-)
Safe Travel!

Deb said...

You're right about the cross-gen stuff. Three of our best friends at the marina are younger than our own kids. Keeps us young!

S/V Kintala

TT said...

Yihaa!! So you've met finally :)

Liesbet said...

Awesome post! As a youngish cruising couple ourselves 38 and 43, but seven years younger when we started), we have had a hard time to really "bond" with people as well. Being in the Pacific now, makes it even harder. Instead of commenting "Makes us want to start the sailing lifestyle now" like in the first comment to this post, I would like to say "Makes me want to start a sailing family!" :-)

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