Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Challenge of Friendships, Community and Family For Voyagers

A full moon rises next to Mount Ida on Crete just yesterday.

Our time here in Crete is coming to an end. We hope to leave in the next few days. We will head north into the group of Aegean islands called the Cyclades.

Our first port might be Santorini. It might be Ios. Or it might be a third or fourth one depending on wind, weather and our whim.

We became part of the most interesting sailing community we have experienced so far. Many winter ports are large marinas and you can choose whom you want to be social with. That luxury wasn’t granted to us here on C-Jetty in Rethymno.

The port here is so small because few venture this far south in summer, or into such a small harbor with no services for the winter. Most prefer the big marinas.

In Rethymno, we had about seven boats here for the winter. There were:
The Germans, Heidrun and Berthold
The Lone Swiss, Andre
The Brits, Trevor and Susan
The South African, Roy (well, sort of. He was born in the UK but spent 25 years in South Africa and since we need to make this as international as possible, he’s stuck with that designation.)
The French Couple, Mathieu and Hortense
The Solo French Female, Lauraine
And us, the Americans

We comprised a wide spectrum of political views. Margaret Thatcher’s death was just one discussion which highlighted that. We spanned the spectrum of extrovert and introvert personalities. We all had different lifestyles. And yet, almost every Saturday we all went out to dinner together.

This is highly unusual for such a diverse group that has no external pressure to get along. In one instance, it came to such drastic differences that one boat moved away from the neighboring boat to seek a different berth. And yet, the following Saturday, we all sat together at the restaurant.

I was immensely impressed with our little international community.

The citizens of C-Jetty enjoying a cook-out.
Jennifer and I have come to realize that we are not necessarily cut out for long term voyaging. To do that, you have to be comfortable with transient friendships. All cruisers talk of these temporary friendships that we experienced here for the winter. Some of them turn into long-term, long-distance relationships.

They are wonderful but they do not replace the our longing to be back with our friends and families. It is difficult to put all of those relationships on hold. Because the reality is, there is no “hold” button. Lives continue and we feel we are missing out on critical (and even the mundane) developments and events. We look forward to being back in the fold again.

We wanted to leave Crete six weeks ago, but my Dad, 88, skidded into the hospital with a bout of old age. Jennifer and I flew over and extracted him from the hospital and got him back on his shaky feet again. So finally we can continue Le Grand Voyage.