Warning: sharks…card sharks.


In 2010, my cousin Claire came to stay on Totem in Bora Bora. Three years later she’s back again, with the unique distinction of still being the only relative to have trekked the miles to visit us (at least until next month, when my parents will meet us in Langkawi!).

photo: Claire Suni

Being far away from people we love can be tough. It’s almost certainly the highest price we pay for this lifestyle. Even though email and video chat make it easier now than the cruisers of yesteryear, there’s still no substitute for being able to be right there with someone. We were in North America for most of our first two years of cruising, but have put awkward “vacation distance” between ourselves and home since then.

Claire’s visit prompted the reprise of a favorite tradition. We play a variant of rummy; an annual tournament back in Bellingham, Washington, has been our de facto annual family reunion for many years. And so it was decreed: the POCRT (Pan Oceanic Chicago Rummy Tournament) would have a regional competition in Malaysia: a championship title with medals, and of course bragging rights for all eternity.

We take card playing very seriously.

Card playing is serious business

My Aunt Glenna had medals made up and delivered to Claire to pack along in her luggage to visit with us.

We needed to wrangle a few more players to get multiple tables going on a tournament, but that wasn’t too hard- I think it’s fair to say that cruisers are pretty active game players, be it cards, dominoes, or whatever! The good sports on Tahina and Utopia were more than game to jump in and play. They could appreciate the fine balance of friendly competition, salty snacks, and cocktails that are all important elements of POCRT.

We did decide to spare them the talent show, I did need to have a margarita.

Card playing is serious business

We had a warm up day, to get in the groove… and then it was all about the cards. Vicious, sharky cards!

Card playing is serious business

The fleet arrived at Tahina, where our gracious hosts Frank and Karen made extra ice to accommodate the revelers competitors.

the dinghy fleet

Cards were played; games were won; tears were shed.

Jamie was our emcee for the awards ceremony.

The Emcee

Does anyone care to identify the classic cruising movie playing in the background?

And those tears: tears of joy… mine, anyway. For the first time in umpteen years, I won!

I proudly wore my medal into town. Actually, I kind of had a hard time *not* wearing it for a few days. My crew mates on Totem may be seeing a lot of this medal, in fact. I’d apologize, but I’m too busy reveling in the glory of my new found POCRT champion status.

photo: Claire Suni

7 Responses

  1. Hugs to Mom and Dad when you rendezvous! We missed them at PAB. We will be closing up soon, the house is sold and we are moving onboard S/V Trillium in October for our circumnavigation. Follow us at http://sv-trillium.blogspot.com. We will never catch up to you unless it will be in South Africa in December of 2015. Would like to know good marina in Sydney where we might leave the boat for land touring. Stay safe, Champ and crew!

    1. Hey Sherry- really exciting that the house is sold- big step! I’m pretty sure you’ll blow past us on your circumnavigation at some point- could be SA, who knows, hopefully we’re in the region when you go by! In Sydney, the cruiser’s choice is Cammeray marina. It’s the only one that welcomes liveaboards, which I think also makes it the perfect place to leave your boat for a stretch. Lots of options in Sydney though!

  2. Ah! That’s Captain Ron! My family’s all-time favorite movie. We watch it every year at both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sometimes on New Year’s too 😉 Can’t ever have too much Captain Ron in life…

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