As we travel the world and join other cruisers great bonds developed, friendships grow and attachments attach. Since i left the good ol USA, i have been surrounded by fellow cruisers and many have kept in touch. As the paths varied we left many friends along the way. The connections made amongst fellow cruisers are fast, strong and lasting even if our paths part us.
One boat that stands above all is SV Totem. I was perusing the docks in Puerto Vallerta, Mexico a month before our great jump across the Pacific and came across a sailboat with Bainbridge Island as the hailing port. Bainbridge is quite near my birthplace so i tracked the owners down. little did i know this would be the beginning of a long and wonderful friendship.
We crossed paths often as we island hopped across great Pacific. Totem became the epicenter for all the “kid boats” as the parents would arrange rendezvous so the kids could get together. Soon i learned these rendezvous were a great source of fun and i joined in. I have talked often of the wonders of cruising kids, simply the best adjusted, most independent yet respectful and fun youth i have ever encountered. Rare as it seemed i found myself genuinely enjoying being around kids.
i had a friend come join Furthur with her, then ten year old son. The lad had no experience with any of the elements of cruising so i enlisted Behan of Totem to help me. She made sure we met up with other kid boats and that the lad was included in much of their adventures. i am sure this added to his experience greatly.
Again we parted for about a year and met again in Langkawi. Again i talked of the new set of bigger kids. I returned to Langkawi last week for our sadly last rendezvous for quite a while. Totem will head to South Africa and the Med soon so it will be a long time until our next gathering although i am sure we will keep in touch.
I have found it intriguing to follow the growth of three kids for five years. When we first met the youngest, Siobhan, was four, now nine. When we pulled up to anchor recently she came over in a kayak and plopped down in my salon. What ensued was a one hour conversation with a nine year old, ya me and a nine year old kid, a first for me and i loved it. The middle child, Mairen, has always been, well, the middle child. i have not paid as much attention to her as the baby and the older boy, to my loss. This time i saw a huge change in her, much more open and interesting, at twelve she is coming into her own for sure. My view of the kids growth is unique as it has been a series of snapshots over the years. My perspective is unique as well as amongst the many fans these kids have as i am not a parent nor usually a “kid person”. i once told Behan and Jeremy they had great kids, they smiled as they hear this often. i cut their thank you short and reminded them that they usually hear this people who like kids, so coming from me it has some more horsepower, we all laughed.
The Totem crew keep an incredible blog, sailingwithtotem.com i encourage all to read it especially those many who tell me they will go cruising “after the kids are grown”. i always say, go now!!! you could not do anything better for your kids.
We will meet again somewhere, Europe or the Caribbean and until then i wish them happy and safe travels. Knowing the Totem family has not only been a total gas but i have learned so much from them. i have a great love for them all, a kind of love i rarely knew before i set sail and the kind i know often as i travel the world.