"Not only is the universe stranger than what we imagine,
it is stranger than what we can imagine."
Sir Arthur Eddington

The Social Whirl

We have been in Antigua for 2 weeks and it has been a social whirl. Marine Power Services has pulled the freshwater circulating pump on our Volvo engine: totally seized bearings and internal wear. The problem was positively identifying the correct Volvo part number on the 30 year old engine. Yesterday the parts were ordered, and we hope that they are the correct parts. I also hope that they arrive and are installed before we leave for Jolly Harbor. Fixing boats in exotic places? Absolutely!

 

Fresh water circulating pump
Fresh water circulating pump

Cruising the islands, as mentioned many times before, can become a social whirl when known and unknown cruisers and sailors gather in the same port. The reason we sailed up from Trinidad at this time was to meetup with the Salty Dawg Rally group that sailed from the States in early November. The group arrived over a number of days just after we did. Our good friend Bob on Pandora sailed down and was the Fleet Captain of the group and arranged more than a week of social activities for the Dawgs here in English Harbor and Falmouth. Bob’s wife Brenda flew down to meet Bob and it has been a daily whirl of activities since they arrived. It will culminate with a Thanksgiving Day dinner at the Antigua Yacht Club which has always been a great time. It rivals the Thanksgiving dinner held in St. Mary’s Georgia for cruisers going down the ICW. Actually, it was there at that time in 2012 that we first met Bob and Brenda. Cruisers that you meet early on in your cruising life usually remain good friends for a long time. And so it is with Bob and Brenda. As it happened another cruiser couple we met at the same time, Olha and Roman on Moya Mreeya, also sailed down to Antigua, their first time here. It was a thrill being together again after 7 seven years!  

 

Bob and Brenda, Roman and Olha
Bob and Brenda, Roman and Olha

The week included opening and welcoming parties as the winter cruising season is just starting. The Dawgs are the first influx of cruisers, and the Antigua Tourism Office National Parks in English Harbor  and local businesses really appreciate it. The rally is a good match for the organization and the island and both made the most of it.

Jammin in English Harbor
Jammin in English Harbor
 
Crab Races in North Sails
Crab Races in North Sails

Pillars in English Harbor
Pillars in English Harbor

We belong to three sailing and cruising organizations. The Seven Seas Cruising Association, the Salty Dawg Sailing Association and the Ocean Cruising Club. And there are also other boating, sailing and rally organizations in addition to these three. Each offer overlapping benefits and activities and concentrate on different aspects of cruising. The live-aboard cruising lifestyle, as apart from living ashore, encompasses many different aspects and so it seems logical that no single organization could satisfy all interests. That is why there are many organizations. The downside of this seemingly logical arrangement is that eventually they all start to compete for new members trying to grow their membership or to secure their own survival. Then, of course, most are non-profit volunteer organizations. That puts a great emphasis on personal qualities and abilities to keep the organization functioning in the “right” direction. Add in the inevitable egos, politics and human failings, and you have the recipe for multiple organizations basically covering the same material.

So, what can one do besides joining multiple organizations? Many cruisers however subscribe to the Groucho Marx dictum that they would never join an organization that would have them as members. I find it fascinating how these organization evolve and serve their members interests. Sailors pride themselves on their independence and so even joining an organization to many are verboten. Technology changes have a major impact and usually affect older organizations before they realize what is happening. All in all, different ships, different long splices. Although the business model of absorbing your competition seems to be the latest way to expand and survive your business.

English Harbor and Falmouth, Antigua
English Harbor and Falmouth, Antigua

In December we will fly back to NYC for Christmas with the family. Hopefully the few weeks there will not snow us in! In January we return, and the social whirl will continue. And the best part? Warm weather, good friends and a partner to share it with.          

 








 


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