|Disaster at sea reminds us of how fragile we are, and that sometimes, it just comes down to luck.|
It's been an interesting, wonderful time living at a cruising crossroads and popular stopover harbor. Lots of our old friends from Annapolis, and new-friends-just-met, and Facebook friends met IRL for the first time, all have passed through and we've shared sea stories and drinks (and in many cases, tours of El Galeon) before they continued on their way. We love the chance to socialize and play host and keep in touch with friends' news.
The first friend to come through had a wonderful visit, and we had a wonderful time hosting him, and a few weeks later posted that his trip was complete and he was back at the dock in Annapolis. Two other friends came through, less than a week apart; we had drinks and dinner and tours and saw them sail away ... and then we got the news that both had lost their boats. One had run aground when they lost their steering in a storm and was evacuated by the Coast Guard, and that the other woke to the smell of smoke and escaped in his dinghy while his boat burned to the waterline and sank. (To protect their privacy I'm not giving details or links to stories; both sets of friends are still working things out with the insurance companies -- and with their own emotions, although they are physically uninjured.) A week later we learned that a third friend's spouse lost their job. The couple and their kids, no longer able to pay the rent on their home and on the verge of homelessness, are now moving in with the parents. These friends are in their 40s, what should be their prime career money-earning years. Another friend who is working full-time but still can't make ends meet, has to put off some medical tests because there's just no money for even the co-pay.
(Seeming non sequitur, bear with me please) Some time ago we had agreed to be interviewed and photoed for an upcoming book; the interview was last night in our cockpit. There was a question about the best and worst aspects of our life aboard. The worst, per Dan, was fixing the head, the best was how many places we could explore when we're not tied to any one spot. From me, the best is that the tiny size of the boat makes it impossible for us to collect "things," so we've discovered the delight of collecting intangibles: experiences, friends, memories. And our most memorable story? I thought of lightning strikes, and phosphorescence lighting the edge of the waves like a necklace of sapphires on the beach, and shooting stars and a tiny bird hitching a ride with us far offshore, and settled on the dolphins' sunset celebration and green flash in the midst of an otherwise dreadfully uncomfortable overnight passage last autumn. The interviewer said it gave her chills as we described the perfection of those few minutes.
Reviewing our best times for the interview, juxtaposed with our friends' recent disasters, I'm reminded anew of how terribly fragile we -- and our good luck to be living this life afloat -- are.