When we began planning this adventure, sailing friends told us that the best part of the journey would be the friends we’d make along the way. And they were so right.
As we started our engines to depart Morehead City, we were passed and hailed by “Hit it with a Hammer” Tyler on S/V Resurgam and “Rebel” Doug on S/V Winsome Lass. Both are single-handing (meaning sailing their boats alone). We first met Tyler and Doug on Day 11 at the Dismal Swamp, and had assumed they were close friends, only to discover that they had just met in Norfolk two days before. Amazing, because they certainly seemed to be best buds.
We had been playing leap frog with them, sometimes ending up in the same destinations without knowing it. We had actually assumed that they had ventured much further ahead of us so were surprised to later learn that they had anchored in Oriental just a stone’s throw away from where we had lunch.
So when they passed us in Morehead City, we were a bit surprised, and ended up following them, and then passing them (our boat is a bit faster) on the way to Mile Hammock Anchorage. We had chatted with them on the radio and knew Mile Hammock was their destination too. In fact, we were fairly certain that almost every boat traveling down the ICW that day would be anchoring with us, since other options were fairly limited.
Sure enough, we were all anchored by mid-afternoon. Dudley and I invited Tyler and Doug over for dinner since we had plenty of burgers to share. They accepted and brought a side dish, along with their libations, a guitar, and several flutes.
Up until now, we had enjoyed several opportunities of cocktail or dinner conversations with them, usually with others present. But this evening, it was just the four of us. And we shared more stories, more of ourselves, and eventually some music.
Doug plays a mean guitar and has a lower somewhat raspy songwriter voice (like a young Bob Dylan), which was complemented by Dudley’s sweet pitch. Tyler brought at least five flutes, all handmade (by him), each with a story and unique design. He sings too. I tried to chime in when I could but was having much more fun enjoying their gift of music, and of course, snapping photos. We sang what Doug could remember the chords to, and Dudley would find the lyrics on his iPad (yay—an anchorage with internet connection!).
After awhile, I brought out my new Little Martin guitar for Doug to play. It was a gift I bought for myself just three days before we launched. My nephew Bryce has the same guitar, and I had admired it, especially its small size and great sound. Perfect for a boat! For the last week, I’ve been trying to practice daily, especially since I need to build up my calluses again (my guitar teacher Big Dave will LOVE to read this). Doug was able to make that guitar really sing. He also acquainted me with a few of its features (like the tuning thingie I didn’t know it had).
We sang lots of songs, including some by the Eagles and Jack Johnson, and then a personal favorite: Wagon Wheel. Tyler’s flute interludes were amazing.
There’s something about music that really bonds people together.
And there’s something about being sailors on the water, together. Our friends were right. Friendships made at sea will be the highlights of our adventure.