Written by Mia:
Since arriving in Gibraltar, we have been meeting lots more cruisers, people who live aboard and sail from place to place. There is a lovely sense of community amongst this group of people and it seems unique to this way of life. We are really enjoying making new friends. We have been introducing you to our new friends along the way and it is such a joy to think about the people we are meeting and relish in the time we spend together.
Marina Lanzarote stands out as a place of community for us. We were lucky enough to be designated a space on the F pontoon which meant we were right across from J-squared and met Jeff and Julie and Lucas for the first time. Teo was helping Jeff do some hammering before we had even been there a day! We met a Swedish couple down the way as they pass by and just check what people are doing for the day. I swapped stories with a lovely Australian woman while I was doing laundry and she later shared experiences with parking. These subjects become threads of conversation over the coming days as you meet each other on the docks or in a shop. The couple from Golden Glow who we met in Gibraltar appeared and we swapped information about forecasted wind and then they offered us some useful boat hand-me-downs. A Norwegian boat moors across from us and there is a four year old boy on board so we have kids running back and forth all day and at some point they were on J-squared learning about the light controllers and generally giggling, play beating each other up and getting treated to ice cream. Bright Eyes have been in Marina Lanzarote, too and we were invited over for drinks which was a lovely evening. Anne bought Teo little treats and even handed me a little bag of wrapped things for him to open on our passage- what an incredibly thoughtful thing to do! Everyone is out working on or cleaning their homes. People make conversation with each other and swap stories and information- it feels like the perfect neighbourhood. These experiences are just a taste of what we have been experiencing and all that happened within the space of a week.
People try to help each other. We were trying to clean stubborn fender grime off the side of the boat and someone comes and gives us a magic sponge thingy, which cuts the time of the job to half. If you are missing the right tool for the job, someone will be happy to lend it to you. We have been borrowing Stewart’s ladder to go up the mast and Jeff’s metal drill bits. Jon was trying to straighten a metal bracket for our new LED navigation lights and before you know it two other skippers appeared offering tool, advice, ideas and hands. Information is swapped openly too so you find out the fastest way to get permits approved or gas bottles filled or the best supermarkets.
We have become friends with Jeff, Julie and Lucas (J-squared) and not only shared time with them on pontoon F but were anchored together in the bay at La Graciosa. What a lovely welcome we got when we got there! Lucas came and picked us up and we had dinner with them on board. In fact we have been invited over more times that we can count, SO nice! Teo and I swam over there one day and requested a fly by – we got to swim under the trampolines! Check that off the bucket list. J-squared has a lot more space for entertaining and Jeff is a fabulous chef so we have enjoyed the lap of luxury! We have been invited for yummy dinners more times than we can count, we have shared errands, too. In fact Teo came out the a zinger, he says to Jeff when he had known him all of two days, “You know what would be great, Jeff? if you would come and help us carry our food shopping to the boat.” Jeff only told us what Teo had said after lugging our stuff – talk about perfect neighbours!
The community generosity is not just limited to food and talk, we have received many ‘gifts’ and passed on items which we don’t need right now, but have real value. For example, Teo regularly treats us to concerts with light displays because Jeff gave him a multicolour LED lightbulb with controller. Julie gave him a sticker book that is his current favourite thing to do and we all have less chance of flat bum syndrome because they parted with cushions that make Itchy Foot’s cockpit a LOT more comfy! There is no official exchange, but Jon gave Jeff a much needed cable for is navigation system which we happened to have spare and several hours of his time trying to get their satellite phone working with their laptop. This is not just a form of barter, but rather a sense that everyone will just ‘pay it forward’ with the next cruiser in need.
But, by far the best part is just trading stories and being in the company of lovely people who have a beautiful sense of spirit and wicked sense of humour. We are looking forward to seeing the friends we’ve met again and meeting more of this amazing community down the road. Knowing we will see them soon, and make new friends soon, makes it easier to say “Hasta Luego”.