The garden has been a great source of local community for us, but the tightest community we find is always with fellow boaters.
Last summer, the children had great company from the three girls living on the boat next door. We originally met the family on Tangaroa in French Polynesia. They got to Australia well before we did, but they had a bit of a deadline. They wanted baby Evie to be born there! She arrived a couple of weeks before we did… thus making the marina an dream location for me.
I thought I was the one who would love the baby fix. Turns out Siobhan loved getting to play big sister at least as much.
The lack of mutual language between our children and the Dutch girls was hard in the beginning. They’re all pretty used to this, but it can get frustrating for a little one who wants to be understood (Tamar and Suze were 1 and 3). They all got very close, though, and we sure do miss “The Tangaroas.” Besides their lovely selves, it’s been an adult only group: there haven’t been any other resident marina kids since they headed back to the Netherlands last fall.
A host of boats passed through during the “off” (hurricane season) and made the marina home, helping build the fabric of our salty little community.
The crew from Hokus Pokus particularly endeared themselves:
Several freshly minted cruisers fledged from the marina this year: Kadoona and Moonraker, Mary Blair and Liberty. Each departure was cause for celebration. Better yet if we can send them off from the water! This parade of our neighbors sailed out to anchor in a bay just inside the heads of Sydney Harbour when we bid Kadoona goodbye.
With a core of liveaboards in our little marina, we started a tradition for everyone to meet up on Friday nights to barbecue.
Tales were told. Songs were sung. Goon was drunk.
After listening to me complain about the lack of lyrics to his favorite tunes (OK, so it was a little slow pulling them up on the iPad) John even made up a songbook.
Goon is part of our new Australian lexicon. Some say it’s derived from flagon (because, ya know, boxes are a rather larger than usual vessel for wine)- but it’s also an aboriginal word for drinking.
We kept up our Friday night barbecues all year. Sometimes we had to sit closer to the grill to try and keep warmer. We definitely wore more clothes. There were times when the goon was warmed and spiced to help ward off the chill. And somewhere along the way what started as a friendly collection of neighbors with a lifestyle in common became a tight group of friends.