|Chandler reading from her list of items to include as she conducted the Cruisers NET|
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Friendships and the Net
It’s really wonderful to hear cruisers connect or reconnect via the VHF radio when cruising. There's an undeniable lilt in people's voices when they hear an old friend on the radio and make plans to get together. Many times it's the friendships that act like glue, keeping us in ports longer than anticipated.
For you non-boaters, the VHF radio is a lifeline for all of us out here. When we are in range of a port or an anchorage where many boats are anchored at once, there are typically "Cruiser Nets" each morning around 8:30 depending on where you are located. We all dial into channel 22 on our VHF radios and one person conducts the NET. There's a formality to it, in order to allow everyone who wants or needs to, to participate. The person leading the NET starts by asking boats to "check in" and listens for all those wanting to be recognized and accounted for. It's always fun to hear that someone you've been hoping to see has arrived or what port another boat has come from. From there the NET goes on to note any local activities, lost and found items, spare boat parts needed, services needed, etc. So we get tons of info each morning and find many solutions to problems that arise along the way such as needing to borrow someones fuel filter, etc. The supply of traded goods and services is endless in this community and we are forever grateful for that! In turn we have been glad to help others in need and "pay-it-forward".
In fact Doug and I have discussed how helpful a NET would be in a land-based community too. Can you imagine everyone on your street connecting via their VHF radios at 7 each morning to discuss ways they could help each other? Imagine this conversation,
"Does anyone have a jack? My tire is flat."
"Sure, be right over with it."
Hmmmm, we might get that going when we get back to civilization!
Chandler heard a 13-year-old girl conduct the NET one morning and was inspired to give it a try too. Two days later she did it...she conducted the NET...and beautifully I might add. She was even given "clicks" (clicking the VHF "speak" button on and off two or three times) at the end of the NET which is the way cruisers congratulate kids who attempt this sometimes intimidating activity.
Back to friendships. Making friends out here and then leaving them to our memories when boats head in different directions is an everyday occurrence. It’s not easy to let some friends go, knowing you will most likely NEVER see those people again. Chandler and Henry Wyatt make friends so easily and then ask repeatedly, when we leave their friends for different ports, “Will we ever see them again?” Sometimes the answer is “yes” but more likely it’s “no” or “we don’t know”. We explain that we can stay in touch via their blog or email but that doesn’t fully satisfy. It’s a lesson in cherishing the moment and understanding that friendships are everywhere whenever you yourself are a friend.
We are grateful our "friendship net" has brought us many connections that we won't lose or forget.