Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Diverging Paths

Mizzy and Brian and the Cooley's Landing gang during Kokopelli's renaming ceremony

Tonight we said goodbye to our good friends Mizzy and Brian for what is probably going to be at least a long time, if not forever. Their plans take them to the southern Caribbean and then on to Mexico and back through the Panama Canal and returning to New Zealand in a few years. Since we pretty much have no plans to get that far away from grandkids 9, it's likely that our paths have diverged for the foreseeable future.

Some cruisers complain about the goodbyes being the hardest part of cruising and, while they are indeed difficult, we take so much away from these fast, deep, rich friendships that we have no complaints. We met Mizzy and Brian the summer of 2014 in Cooley's Landing Marina. They had just bought their new-to-them Hylas 46 and were beginning to unravel the truth about "cruise-ready" boats. We were there with our kids helping them to survive the Floating Bear disaster (if you're a recent reader and unfamiliar with the story, you can play catch-up by reading the posts around May 2014 to September 2014). We were both suffering from boat-inflicted physical, emotional, and financial wounds and were able to support each other with the occasional laughter, sundowner, and hug when needed.

Even after parting ways at Cooley's, we kept in touch and frequently ran into each other. We spent a good bit of the summer together at Oak Harbor sharing boat projects and introducing them to new friends there - David and Nancy and Sue and Wayne - with whom they would go on to become deep friends in their own right. The eight of us blend well and have continued to spend time together whenever we can.

Us with Wayne and Sue of S/V Skimmer
Some of the Oak Harbor gang
If I had to qualify cruisers with one word, it would be easy: generosity. Mizzy and Brian have opened their hearts to us without hesitation. We have shared meals, buddy-boated, rafted up multiple times, worked together and laughed together. They have come to typify the relationships we have found since going cruising. Always the cruising community is ready to give whatever is needed. Someone's dinghy goes drifting in the anchorage and it is immediately scooped up and returned to the owner. Need a tool? A quick trip around the anchorage and you'll likely find the one you need ready to borrow. Need some help along with that tool? No problem. And in times of much, much more duress like the recent passing of Tim's father, the cruising community comes together like a well-oiled machine as evidenced by the transportation miracle that got us to Pittsburgh for the funeral. I could tell countless stories of cruisers helping other cruisers, of cruisers coming together to help the people of the Bahamas hit hard by the hurricane this past summer, of cruisers coming together to help with the Syrian refugees, or to volunteer time to tutor kids in a Bahamian school. Always, generosity without a thought, without any need for recompense, with a smile. It is an amazing gift, and one we have been privileged to receive time and time again. And while Kokopelli  and Kintala may not share an anchorage for a very long time, the crew of Kokopelli will be carried along in our hearts.

Thanks, Mizzy and Brian. Fair winds and following seas.

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