May 20, 2008
"Dad, this is the best and worst part about cruising. Just when we really get to know someone new, which is the best part, it seems like we have to say goodbye, which is the worst part." Amy hit the nail on the head as she correctly identified one of the inevitabilities of the cruising lifestyle. Almost by definition the very nature of what we are doing, cruising in a sailboat, requires that we continue to follow the wind as it moves from place to place. As we leap frog from destination to destination it is possible we will see friends again but there is certainly no guarantee. The result is frequent hellos and goodbyes.
So it is once again that we prepare to not only say goodbye to some new lifelong friends but also a country and its' people. After 4 ½ months in Panama we are just days away from heading out to sea, but this time landfall will be 175 miles offshore on the Columbian island on San Andres. Panama has been a wonderful country to visit and a great place to get our start cruising. The natural beauty and diversity of the geography is breathtaking and the people are kind, engaging, and beautiful both inside and out. We feel blessed to have spent so much time in this wonderful country.
Amy's prior comment points to one of the biggest lessons I think we are all learning aboard Mima. Life is about relationships! This past week has been a particularly frustrating one for us as we try to wrap up a few boat issues before heading out. I am eager to get under way and with the current good weather window I would like to be sailing not stuck at a marina fixing things. One of the struggles we faced this week was making sure we took care of the relationships on board Mima. We have been so busy taking care of mechanical problems and things that have to be done in everyday life that we did not nurture our relationships within our family very well.
Then, once again, relationship happened last night as we had the joy of welcoming new friends on board Mima to share a meal and to more importantly share relationship. Bruno and Sophie, along with their daughter's Estelle and Marjorie, have been cruising as a family for the last 2 years aboard s/v Sashay. The kids met at the marina and quickly became friends. Estelle and Marjorie have been enrolled in school here in Bocas Del Toro for the last 6 months. Amy joined Estelle one day last week for school and enjoyed observing the differences between school in Idaho and school in Panama. It was a great day for Amy as she misses the social life of school.
Bruno is a chef and also makes gourmet items for the local upscale grocery store and a few of the nicer restaurants. Those of you who know Susan will appreciate the fact that they were both soon swapping culinary secrets while Sophie and I discussed the finer points of diesel mechanics and needlepoint. Bruno brought homemade bread and smoked pork pate as an appetizer and the evening was quickly off to a good start. Susan finished the meal off with pasta topped with a tomato, kalamata olive and fresh basil brochetta, but I digress.
Two hours later as we helped them back into their dingy I was struck once again by my profound need for and the privilege that it is to have relationships. Seemingly contrary perhaps to the previous paragraph, the majority of the evening was spent talking about our lives and learning about each other. We shared sailing stories, motorcycle stories, parenting challenges as well as hopes and dreams, triumphs and failures. The end result was that by the evening's close new friends had become lifelong friends.
It is 6:00 a.m. and I just got off the phone with my best friend Kelly back in Idaho. The timing of his call could not have been any better. He was calling to check on my progress with boat challenges and to encourage me. His call and the priceless value of his friendship puts a timely finish to this article. Another good friend in Idaho Ray, always reminds me that relationship is about being not doing. I hope that each of us has the opportunity within the next week to build upon an old relationship and invest in making a new relationship. I am treasuring the new relationships we are making at sea and realize more each day that I do not possess the ability to express the value of the relationships we currently hold. Our prayer for all of us this week is that we will live well and love well by investing in relationships. Thanks for following along with us in our journey.
Farewell from Panama and Blessings, The 4Wheelers
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