When Belle Bateau departed Baltimore on October 19, we were hailed on Channel 16 (on the VHF radio) three times within a few hours. That’s quite a lot actually. On the Chesapeake, days of sailing could pass without anyone hailing us. But on Day 1, we heard “Belle Bateau, Belle Bateau, this is X” three times. The first was the Coast Guard, and that was a bit alarming until we learned they just wanted to let us know they planned to pass in front of our bow near the Key Bridge. The second was a friend on land, who saw that our AIS target was finally moving, and wanted to wish us a safe voyage.
And the third came from S/V Dreamtime, another Gozzard, just after we passed under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. We had met Christina and Bob at the Gozzard Rendezvous in Canada last April, and knew they planned to head south from Rock Hall sometime in the fall, but we had not stayed in touch beyond that. Coincidentally, we both chose October 19 to launch, and coincidentally, we were within one nautical mile of one another at the Bay Bridge. However, that was the last time the two boats were in visual proximity until Day 44, when Dreamtime was slightly ahead of us on the Mackay River but ducked into Brunswick when we chose to continue on to Jekyll (but didn’t make it as per blog Days 43-45).
And because of transmission problems and weather, we were still on Jekyll Island on Day 47 when we heard Dreamtime hail the marina as we were signing out the courtesy bikes for the afternoon.
When we returned after visiting the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, the two Gozzards were finally united, looking like a Double Mint Gum commercial docked side-by-side. But of course, Christina and Bob were out on the courtesy bikes by then, so we “clothes-pinned” an invitation to their lifelines to come over for cocktails. And they did.
We all laughed about the many times we had heard each other on the VHF (it’s like listening in on a party line). And because we were slightly ahead of them for most of the trip, they kept hearing at several marinas about “another Gozzard” that had just left. It turns out we stayed at several of the same marinas, including Lady’s Island Marina, which we left just prior to Thanksgiving, and where Dreamtime spent Thanksgiving. Not quite like “two ships passing in the night,” but very close.
There’s something about Gozzard owners that makes for instant bonding. We’ve seen this happen with other boat brands as well. After all, selecting a sailboat is an arduous process, and in our case, consumed countless hours of creating spreadsheets to compare desirable features, and other spreadsheets to estimate the money it would take to buy those desirable features. So to meet others who have made similar decisions means that at some level we value similar things. Having the opportunity to wine and dine together gives us the chance to get to know one another at another level.
We had already spent some time with Jekyll Island residents and “liveaboards” Paul and Linda, from S/V TrueLove. Both Dudley and I had taken sailing courses taught by Paul several years ago. And both Paul and Linda had warmly welcomed us to the island with a personal tour as well as sharing a few meals together.
So we knew what a treat it would be to have them join the four Gozzard owners for a pseudo potluck dinner in Belle Bateau’s cockpit on Day 48. One tale after another had us all laughing. I couldn’t help but be thankful for that transmission problem and high winds that had kept us on Jekyll Island an additional three days. What fun we would have missed, not to mention the Gozzard rendezvous.
Yep, another serendipity at sea (blog post Day 41).
I’m learning to be open and flexible, for we never know what rendezvous might be around the next corner. A good lesson to take back to land someday.