Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Friends Along the Way

Fernandina Beach to Fort Pierce
November 11‒December 7

It’s often said that the best part of cruising is the people you meet. That’s so true. In the cruising community, you know even before you learn a person’s name or story that you share a lot in common.

With John and Sally in Fernandina Beach
That said, we didn’t actually meet John and Sally while cruising. We met them at Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina, Minnesota. But our first connection centered on our common enjoyment of boats and sailing. John and Sally are now fortunate enough to live in Fernandina Beach, and we’ve stopped to visit them twice: a year ago and two hours into this year’s trip. This time there was plenty of news to catch up on. They didn’t know about Sean and Maggie’s wedding in October, we didn’t know about their daughter Jennifer’s upcoming wedding in January, so that gave us (mostly Sally and me) plenty to talk about: venues, centerpieces, sand (the wedding kind), engagement stories, and more. They served up warm hospitality and a delicious dinner in their lovely home. Thanks, John and Sally!

With Claus, Rachael, and a beautiful turkey
Thanksgiving fell during our time in St. Augustine. I love Thanksgiving, partly because there isn’t much to commercialize about being thankful to God for what you already have. When we’re home, being with our families is the best part. Gathering with strangers or eating in a restaurant is just not the same. Fortunately for us, Claus and Rachael live only three hours away and were also going to be alone for the holiday. They’re friends who are like family ever since we got to know each other cruising together in 2007-2008. For the second year in a row we spent Thanksgiving with them. In keeping with tradition, Rachael and I cooked up a fabulous turkey feast on Thursday, we all savored oyster steamers on Friday and decorated their tree
Decorator elves
in full elfish splendor on Saturday. We love you, Claus and Rachael! Thanks for the second annual Thanksgiving weekend.

Bob and Ilona in Fort Pierce
On December 6, we stopped in Ft. Pierce to see Bob and Ilona, who will be keeping their boat, Ihana, at the city marina there this winter. In Minnesota it’s about a 30-mile drive from our house to theirs, but we had to go to the Bahamas to meet them last year. We traveled together for about a month and have the greatest respect and admiration for this couple. They crossed the Gulf Stream for the first time on their way to the Bahamas when they were in their 70s. That’s gutsy! They’re full of energy (Ilona) and humor (Bob), so they’re a lot of fun to be around. We’ve spent time in Ft. Pierce before, but until Bob and Ilona showed us around, we had no idea all the town had to offer. Thanks for hanging out with us and giving us the special tour, Bob and Ilona!

We’re grateful for all the friends we’ve met along the way who have added so much to our lives and our cruising experience. On this trip, we look forward to getting to know other friends we haven’t yet met.
We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, 
and the best that we find in our travels is a friend. 
They are fortunate voyagers who find many. 
We travel indeed to find them.
Robert Louis Stevenson

All of the elves, including Bentley the dog

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