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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Generosity of Our Fellow Sailors


I have never met a more generous bunch of people in my life than boaters. I first experienced it when we moved aboard at Shilshole Bay Marina. People giving their time and help in any manner of ways when it comes to boat projects and expertise. Then I experienced the ladies room and the laundry room at the marina. Walking into either you will see a shelf of things on display: boat parts and clothing, books and movies, odds and ends too good for the dumpster but that have outgrown the space at hand. I have personally acquired many things including: a brand new sun shower, a very pretty sun dress, jeans, a sleeping bag, pillows, pots and pans, Christmas lights, Tupperware, books, movies, music and line.

Then you have the dumpsters where you can literally find things worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. When it came time at last to leave the dock in Seattle I cannot even come close to remembering all that we gave away by leaving it sitting next to the dumpster. This after taking everything we could to the second hand consignment store and giving other stuff to friends and family. When the new racing season comes it is not uncommon to have a race team strip standing and running rigging from a boat that is only one season old and leave it at the dumpster as they re-rig with new for the coming season. There were two fellows who lived on our docks who had become something of legend. It was possible to see them both running to a recently filled dumpster trying to stake their claim before the other arrived: some in fun but competition to the bone.

Now that we are cruising fulltime I am taking a back again at the generosity surrounding me. It comes out in force with any kind of emergency: people offering up their expertise along with their stored spares and supplies to help another boats distress. But it really shines when it comes to some of the cruisers favorites: books, movies, music, cruising guides, charts and now the new electronic books. We could I suppose be seen as the world’s biggest bootleggers. There are a few boats here that pay their way from country to country selling movies and music but mostly it is just friend to friend filling ridiculously small tremendously capacious external hard drives with thousands upon thousands of movies and Kindle format books. We left home with one Kindle with an array of free out of copyright books and now have bought our third Kindle and have more than two thousand books.

Until we left to cruise we had never even watched a movie aboard our boat now we have three hard drives full of blockbuster movies to fill our nights. The movies are big hits with cruisers though it remains to be seen if Bill and I will shift over from books (we have to date watched only a handful of TV shows and five or six movies.) What used to be a luxury -having enough room to store books and movies- has now become routine. A high tech addition to our light footprint, low tech life.

Recently we met up with some friends who were on the brink of their own departure for a life of sailing. They too are big readers and when I offered to share our store of Kindle books she actually became teary eyed! Oh the wealth and luxury of books. A small consolation and comfort for another library addict.


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