“Buddy Boating”

Buddy boating is a concept I had read about, but never done. It normally consists of finding a friend who has another boat and leaving one anchorage together to move on to the next one where you meet up again. I suppose you could also sail together, but usually one boat is faster so you end up separating, especially if your passages are several days long. It is sort of like going on a cruise to a destination together but a bit less organized. Interesting idea perhaps, but probably not what I would end up doing, or at least not anytime soon….all those books that I read were probably doing it in the South Pacific, and we won’t be there for months or perhaps years.

Little did I know! We tried to start out in Key West, except that we didn’t plan our stay well enough for Hank Schulte (Margaret’ dad) to meet up with us, so we missed the first leg. We arrived in Vero Beach and hung out with him for over a week; The crew (Margaret, Barry AND Prussia) even moved onto land in his new condo. Margaret’s brother Steve was also visiting her dad, so it was a mini-reunion. It was a wonderful time, and after visiting, doing a few boat projects, and celebrating a big birthday we headed back out to sea. Three or so days later we arrived near Harbor Island, South Carolina.

A few hours later, our buddy boat arrived: Hank’s Toyota Camry! And despite a minor snafu about which rest area to meet at before heading in, Steve’s Toyota Camry arrived as well. We connected up the next morning, and then we stayed around for a few days. Margaret’ family has been going to Harbor Island for twenty years with first a vacation condo, and then a beach house at retirement. It was always a wonderful, almost magical place, especially when Margaret and I got married there. Hank had sold his places on the Island a few years ago, and we hadn’t been back since. We had a wonderful visit, with more time visiting with Hank and Steve, plus checking out how the Island had changed (mostly more development) and how it had stayed the same (the beautiful beaches and marshes, and the remoteness). This visit also included a boat project: Borrow Hank’s “boat” and drive our sail in need of repair to Charleston.

Then we departed. This time we shanghaied Hank and took him with us in the boat, leaving his Camry behind. Steve drove his Camry back to Spartanburg, shrinking the flotilla by one. We had two nice days (with a bit of intense navigation) going up the ICW to Charleston. Once we arrived we met a friend of Hank’s and after a very brief visit said goodbye. Hank got a ride back to Harbor Island that afternoon, and the next morning we headed North.

It may never be like this again, but I think buddy boating is fun!