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Friday, July 25, 2014

Serendipity @ Conception: Unlikely Cruiser's Reunion

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Small part of Kim's impromptu gathering on Conception Island.
BAHAMAS pristine, primitive, uninhabited Conception Island is 15 miles from Long Island’s Cape Santa Maria and 20 miles from our Rum Cay anchorage (click here for an earlier post overviewing Conception Island). 

Who would’ve figured it for an unexpected reunion with four other previously befriended cruiser crews?  And an impromptu beach party, instigated by one of them?

Early November 2012 we were finally joined in the rolly ghost town anchorage of French Territory Martinique’s capital city, Fort Du France.  Amazingly, the other boat bore a stars-and-stripes U.S.A. ensign flag.   Since September, we’d met only briefly two other cruising crews from the U.S.A.  We dinghied by and introduced ourselves to Kim and Scott of Bella Blue and left, hours later. 

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Kim puzzles, justifiably, over how her husband Scott stuck her
with holding my kayak.  Oh, Kim, I am so sorry, and
embarrassed about it still!
We had the pleasure of getting re-acquainted with Scott and Kim off and on up until late January 2013 in St. Barts, when we sojourned slowly back to the States to work for hurricane season and Bella Blue sailed down to ride out the hurricane season in Grenada.

Kim, on Bella Blue instigated a spontaneous just-before-sunset “drinks and floaty toys” boats-in-the-marina party, which everyone from all 18 boats in the bay came to.  It evolved into a BBQ potluck, and for the most part lasted from sunset and a bit beyond.

Heading down the intracoastal waterway (ICW) we kept hearing about another sailing vessel also named Journey.  There was some predictable amusing confusion when we checked into the St. Augustine City FL city marina between their reservations and ours at the same marina within a day of each other.  We met, briefly, in Bimini’s marina, then went our separate ways.  We noticed they were among the 300+ boats when we were in Georgetown, but never connected up.  But, a day before we left Conception, Drena and JR of (the other) Journey (blogsite sailingjourney.net) hailed us on their way in.  Ironically, our prior boat was an O’Day, their boat, Journey, is an O’Day, though radically different makes and models (theirs is a 35’ 1986 ours was a 27’ 1977).

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Scott and Kim and Hunter and Devi in the Conception mangroves.
Right before we left Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida Keys, we met Pers of Hug in the marina community center.  Though Norwegian, Per’s English is excellent and he was really fun to talk to.  We loaned him our Bruce Van Sant’s “Thornless Path to Windward” when we heard he was headed to Cuba to see his son act in a movie there.  We briefly bumped into Pers in Georgetown in March, after his trip to Cuba, then, again, in Conception.  In Conception. we also got to know his delightful wife Alva, who was’t sailing with Pers when he was in Boot Key.
 
We were about to leave Conception when we got a VHF call from Ron and Dee of Ursa Minor – from right behind us on Conception Island’s anchorage.  We became friends with Ron and Dee of Ursa Minor in Jacksonville, where we all rode out hurricane season together in the delightful social atmosphere of Ortega Landing Marina.  They left for Marathon FL Keys a bit before us, and left from there to the Bahamas a bit before us as well.  To our pleasure, we continued to catch up with each other.  We last saw Ron and Dee in Georgetown, Exumas, about a month prior and weren’t sure of we’d see them again.  We stayed an extra day to hang out with Ron and Dee.

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Bronzed Wayne on Conception Island's beach, with Dee
scaling the slope and Ron in between the two.
Will we meet the friendly folks from Bella Blue, Ursa Minor, Hug or Journey again?

We have no idea;  if, when or where.  Nor do they.  We hope to.  Our lives are richer for the pleasure of each other’s company, sharing this unique and rarified life.  Besides, it’s nice to hang out with folks who don’t consider us crazy for doing what we do.

In the meantime we sincerely wish each other fair winds and following seas, both on the water and in life.

Location Location

BAHAMAS retrospective.  This blog post is a recent retrospective of our visit to Conception Island, BAHAMAS (N23.51.033 W75.07.298) April 13–16, 2014.  Now that my cruising season photos are finally re-accessible (yay!), watch for more BAHAMAS retrospectives; though my broken right wrist is slowing down my posting catch-up.  We are currently working over hurricane season in Jacksonville FL; this time with our boat “on the hard” in Green Cove Springs, until just before we leave in November, bound for the South Pacific via the Panama Canal.  We did meet with Ron and Dee of Ursa Minor this month, and also with our friends Allen and Michelle of Incommunicado.