A large joy of cruising is the people you meet along the way. How cruisers meet other cruisers has changed over the years. People do meet old school by rowing over to other boats at an anchorage or crossing paths at dinghy dock or at the local laundromat (as we did with a couple in Ensenada). But nowadays sailors just as often meet online first and then connect IRL.
When we sailed into Morro Bay, an Instagram follower reached out to me offering local knowledge and a ride around town if we needed it. We took him up on the offer and discovered we not only had mutual sailing friends here in California, but a direct connection to a guy my dad knew in Australia in the ‘60s! (That’s a whole other fascinating and intriguing story - listen to the ABC documentary on Vern Todd and the Drug Grannies for more).
Not only have we met people along with way, but thanks to WhatsApp and Facebook groups we’ve already connected with multiple families plying the same waters. Some of them headed south earlier, some are in our wake, and some are on the same schedule as we.
When we met up with Adam and Daniela - a couple cruising their Swan 46 Easy Day with two boys aged four and eight - we’d already been corresponding for weeks via WhatsApp. We knew our paths and timeline were similar and we decided to start heading south together.
Having a buddy boat for passages requires adjusting plans and sails to keep a similar course and speed. But it provides comfort of company, the security of knowing someone else is close by.
For example, Easy Day, a faster boat, shortened sail during multiple passages to keep in our company. And halfway through our four-day passage from Ensenada down the outside coast of Baja California to Magdalena Bay, when Easy Day’s autopilot stopped working, we were close at hand to provide moral support as Adam and Daniela hand-steered in difficult conditions for 15 hours to a detour destination of Bahia Tortuga. (They resolved the issue with some help from a local machine shop and you can view that whole story here).
A buddy boat with kids provides all of our children opportunities to play legos or board games together. Or better yet, as they did today, spend hours on the beach together splashing in the waves and exploring tide pools.
Having a front row seat to amazing beauty nature has to offer, the excitement of exploring foreign ports, trying all kinds of new food, and being self sufficient all contribute to the joy of cruising. But in the end it’s the people you meet and share the journey with along the way that make it so special.
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