On Buddyboating

When we left Seattle last year, we hoped we would meet like-minded people and make new friends along the way. Both for the adults and the kids.

As we gained miles down the coast, friendships started to happen. And with it came buddy boating.

There were short but fulfilling stints with m/v Adagio and s/v Sarita on the Sea of Cortez. We spent nearly two months with s/v Coastal Drifter and s/v Imagine in San Diego (kind of a dock-buddyboating, if that exists). We even have a “virtual” buddy boat – Jon, from s/v Akimbo, whom we met in Seattle via our kids just one day before our departure. Our direct interaction lasted only a few minutes on the dock, but we remained in contact since then via the blog and email. And then, there’s been the four months we spent cruising the southern Baja California together with s/v Coastal Drifter (more about this one on a subsequent post).

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Buddyboating has added much enjoyment to our journey. Sure, there are the elements of Mutual Support and Company, especially in the case of the kids. But there’s more to it:

  • First off, there is Stimulus. Different people travel in different ways. Enjoying the places we have been visiting through a variety of perspectives has made the experience more wholesome. Because of Steve and Cathy (Adagio), we had an exhilarating dinghy ride from Puerto Escondido to Isla Danzante, which we might not have done otherwise. Debra/Phil (Coastal Drifter) took the kids’ graduation party to a high level, including printed certificates and speeches, and Paulo and Raquel were inspired by Katya’s artistic talent aboard Sarita.
  • Then there is Problem-Solving. Be it for a nagging maintenance item, routing or storm tactics, two minds always tend to think better than one. Steve, Phil Richard and I (respectively Adagio, Coastal Drifter, Sarita and Pesto) exchanged a lot of information and ideas which I’m sure improved preparations for the remnants of Hurricane Blanca in Puerto Escondido earlier this year.
  • Next up, there’s pure Enjoyment. Spirits are often high up during cruising. Add to that like-minded friends, formidable settings and flexible schedules, and you don’t need much to start celebrating. And party we do. We’ve had countless memorable moments with our boat friends, from the kids’ numerous sleepovers, to campfires, or simply the systematic depletion of our boats’ booze supplies whenever a fantastic sunset justifies for it (which, in Baja, is pretty much every day).

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But I kept the best for last. For me the two elements that made our buddyboating experiences so great up to now were:

  • Emotional Comfort: truth is, boy is it comforting to look through the cabin hatch and see your buddy boat’s mastlight standing just a few yards away. And there is a special joy of seeing your buddy boat come from behind the hill on a new anchorage, or simply seeing their AIS signature on the chartplotter during night passages … it’s just very special
  • And my favorite, the WDYST Factor (short for “Wow, Did You See That !!!”): despite of how much I write on this blog, how many pictures I can possibly take, and how well I can ever process them, the fact is that words and images don’t come even close to making justice for the things we see and experience out here. So, when the sunset paints an Island purple, dolphins surround our boats in the middle of the night, or we just arrive from an incredible sailing passage, the WDYST element vindicates how special the moment was, and gives you extra assurance that it wasn’t just you mind augmenting it.

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The myriad of papers and parts scattered around the cabin now remind me of the many maintenance jobs still to be finished, urging me to wrap up this post.

But writing these lines made me realize how much I look forward to going out there again and sharing wonderful moments with Adri, the kids and our buddy-boating friends !

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