Sunday, January 19, 2014

Entering Cruiserdom

During the months and years leading up to our departure, I had read so much about the camaraderie and the many new and likeminded people we would meet along the way.  I told myself that this would fill the void of leaving our friends and family behind...  While I knew that the initial stages of our travels along the Gulf Coast would be less traveled by other Cruisers, I had no idea that we really would be out here by ourselves for so long!

The only other Cruising boat we saw - Ingram's Bayou Alabama
Once we left our new friends in Clearlake, Bruce and I often remarked upon the fact that we saw literally NO other boats moving between there and the Louisiana/Mississippi border, where we shared the Rabbit Island anchorage with one other boat.  We finally began to see signs of Cruiser life when as we traveled through Alabama and into the Florida Panhandle... but they were few and far between.  Perhaps we were moving from place to place on the same weather windows and just never crossed paths...

Lunch at Dimitri's
It is what it is, for whatever reason... but things are finally beginning to feel like our "real" Cruising life is beginning.  We were met at the dock upon arrival here by another Cruising couple from Kemah, with whom we share a mutual friend.  Shortly afterward, another Texas couple arrived and docked just a couple of slips down.  All of us are here for a while, resting up from our Gulf passages and making repairs/upgrades to our boats... and sharing some of the more pleasant Cruiser pastimes...  hanging out!!!

Much of our time here has been spent enjoying our Daughter's company, but we were left to fend for ourselves this Saturday.  Having learned from our experience in Pensacola that the public transportation system is our friend... we formulated a plan and went down the dock to see if Stephanie Dawn was interested in a field trip.  Turns out that they were planning the exact same thing with Alegria and they didn't mind if we tagged along!

Crowded Market in Tarpon Springs
The Jolley Trolley runs a special weekend route to the neighboring cities of Dunedin and Tarpon Springs.  While we had previously visited Tarpon Springs with the kids, we were happy to return in sunny weather to see their street market and meet up with another Cruising couple from Texas.  Turns out it was the very same boat we had shared that Rabbit Island anchorage with and had spoken to briefly on VHF, Lucky Charm!

I love a parade!
Together we spent the day traipsing through the cold streets of Tarpon Springs, browsing the merchant's stalls and sharing a fine meal at Dimitri's on the Sponge Docks.  Bruce and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know everyone better and sharing stories about the places we had recently travelled though, as well as future plans.

Making memories and forging new friendships
It was such fun to have conversations that only other Cruisers can understand and enjoy.  Finally beginning to feel the first waves of the cruising life we were looking for!  Many thanks to Alegria, Stephanie Dawn and Lucky Charm, for a great day!  We look forward to many more good times!

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