Thursday, February 12, 2009

Buddy Boating Benefits

As many readers know, we have been "buddy boating" with our friends Roger and Tobe on the Catalina 44, La Palapa, off and on, ever since the Ha Ha rally ended. We first cruised up in the islands north of La Paz, and later, we sailed together down the "Gold Coast" between Puerto Vallarta and Zihuatenejo. (The picture above is of our two boats in Paraiso...Hurulu is not ACTUALLY that much smaller than Palapa, it's just further away-- an optical illusion!)

Buddy boating was never really our original plan; we sort of just fell into it, but in a word, it's been awesome. Having another boat to cruise around Mexico with has brought another element to the trip, as well as numerous lesser bennies, among them:

Scout: Since La Palapa is 8 feet longer than Hurulu-- and probably 10 or 12 feet longer at the waterline, which is a primary determinant of overall boat speed-- Roger and Tobe are always well ahead of us and get into each anchorage many hours in advance. While I believe Roger gets a particular level of enjoyment in passing us (e.g. when we leave before him), having them out ahead allows us to know what sort of wind and sea conditions we're about to face-- such as when we rounded the notorious Cabo Corrientes. It's also very useful for anchoring, since Roger will relay his lat/long coordinates to us, and we can just pull up alongside and drop the hook. I've said to Naomi recently that I worry we're getting accustomed to this level of concierge service....?

Big Boat Toys: Although La Palapa is only 8 feet longer overall, it's a massively larger boat; it's only 2 years old, and modern boats are much beamier than older ones, particularly in the stern section, and thus they have vastly larger room for all the toys. And La Palapa has all the toys...watermaker, ice maker, stern mounted showers, a hookah snorkel setup, and all sorts of kitchen and electronic doo-dads for weather, navigation, and entertainment (and did I mention he has video cameras mounted on top of the mast? very cool...)

Roger likes to share his toys, and we like to share his toys with him. A typical evening in anchorage sees us coming over for sunset happy hour (with drinks on ICE, a precious commodity), rinsing off on his stern step, grilling up some meat on his huge Australian-made BBQ, then watching a movie on the flat panel in the salon. When Tobe is in town, it gets even better, as she's a wizard with baked goods. Lest you think we're engaged in a totally parasitical relationship, we do try to contribute as best we can..we bring the movies from Naomi's iPods, we bring the "Controy" necessary for margs, and she's pretty handing in whipping up an accompanying pasta or rice side (and I usually do the dishes).

Amigo-ship: Probably the best benefit of all is simply having some other folks to hang out with. As mentioned previously we've started our Sea-Rebral book club, and we tend to spend a lot of time just sitting around with coffee mugs discussing: i) the world; ii) personality types (are you task oriented or schedule-oriented?); iii) boat projects (Roger is a great sounding board for my proposed McGyver-type fixes for things); and iv) business ideas (I've got a boat-related gadget brewing that I'll disclose to you after I file a provisional patent).

So that's it in a nutshell. As an aside, Roger said that a couple years ago, when they first sailed the Mexican coastline on a much smaller ship, it was them who were sort of taken under the wing of another cruisers it's karmic payback? Probably, and perhaps in a year or two it will be our turn to "mentor" some other couple making their first trip.

Also, I should state that it's very very tempting to continue on with them to the South Pacific (Roger has even promised a mid-ocean meetup to refill our water tanks from his watermaker), but that's currently in the long-shot category (unless this economy keeps imploding). Plus, I think Roger and Tobe need some quality alone-time together, and what better way than to cover 3100 miles of open ocean?

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