The smell of friends

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Sat 30 Mar 2013 12:58
How is friendship among yachtes different from a landlife?
There is probably a lot in common, but let´s look at what makes it special,at least for us.
First of all our experience is 99% with familes having kids so it might be different if you are on your own or a couple.
What we all share is vulnerability so there is always a sense of dependence upon each other.Our boat might drag when we are ashore and of course we hope that somebody would do the same to us that we would do for them, save the boat.
When there is a call for help on the radionet there are always a bunch of volunteers.
There is no other safety net than the one we provide ourselfe, and that shows.
The sailing community is small, so you soon know or recognise the boats as you see them moving the same way that you are.
Before we left I heard that you will find french sailors rude and bad at anchor, there is no such difference in nationalities, we have met the nicest french families and we cannot see nationalities divided by behaviour.
Normally you are very empathic with someone not performing to well, they might be tired after a long bad sailing or a night at anchor can be terrible.
We learn a lot from each other, there is always a vast amount of information coming around, how to deal with different problems, navigational, engines, food, upbringing of kids on a boat, seasickness etc etc.
Now as we are all digital there is a lot of swapping of digital documents, the memory stick being the most important tool.
VHF and Shortwave radio being the next most important tool.
As we arrived to Portobello  yesterday we switched over to channel 72 on the VHF.
Ch 72 being a common hailing channel between yachts.
So we called a boat that we know might be here. They answered and we suggested "one down?", meaning we go down a channel, you never chat on the hailing channel. Then we can ask them for anchoring experiences and problems in the bay. They will give us that and so do we for others.
What we have found out is that this life is so social that we have to take it a little "cool" trying to have our own nights.
It is easy ending up on another yacht every night with a beer in your hand. The kids are playing and having fun somewhere on the boat. Adults sharing good stories. Some flat bread being cooked or a been stew served in pots to everybody. Then we drive home in the dark with our dinghy (it gets dark around 1900 here), being families with children we are never late.
When you get a great stew on a boat you ask for a recipe and eventually you will share knowledge about spices you never used before.
As with our friends on Sunrise, Laura made great bean stews and other good food. Their boat always smelled different from others with cummin, curry, seeds, coriander, salantro, mustard seeds and you name it.
Now we left them and as we took off she gave us three bags of different spices and some recepies for food we really loved.
Tonight I made one of her stews and it is amazing to feel the smell of Sunrise, rise in our boat. So they are with us in everything we learned from them.
Social life among yachtes is far bigger than we could ever had anticipated.
It is very easy to be social with the English speaking world, maybe because of the language but also because they
are very easy going and are great at networking, especially Aussies and Americans.
Swedish boats? Well, now we have not met or seen one Swedish boat since we left Grenada. The only one we know going westward is Miss My and we look forward to see them again in Colon.
Of course it is always easier to communicate in your own language and probably differences show up more when you understand the value of words better. But all the Swedes we have met have been easy to deal with.