There is an art to living in the moment, experiencing life as it happens without concern for the past or future, with joy in the here and now.
We’re we’re not there yet.
Instead, we’ve been working our tails off and running crazy, trying to keep our ducks in a row for departure, now just 13 days away (theoretically) as I write this. Whew!
Lacking the hoped-for trust fund or rich Uncle (where did he get to, anyway?), Nicki and I have to work for our supper, and since we’re hoping to have enough stashed away to last us until we get back to Maine next May, we’ve been putting in every hour we can at income production, and leaving damn little time for pleasure. With one exception.
Last summer we agreed to act as the hosts for the 26th annual Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) Penobscot bay Gam. This is the first time we’ve led it (though we attended the prior two years), and the first time we’ve attempted to put on an event like this. We were – understandably – a bit stressed trying to figure out the details and supplies and logistics… but it went swimmingly!
What is a “gam”, you say? Well that’s a bit of nautical history for you. Originally “gam” referred to the meeting at sea of two vessels, which would stop mid-ocean to exchange news and information, perhaps even warnings about what lay ahead for the other if they were headed in opposite directions.
In modern cruising circles, a “gam” is a gathering of two or more sailors to exchange news and gossip – or maybe just gossip – and for 26 years there’s been a gam in Maine that’s drawn as many as 90 boats and 200 people to the little island of Isleboro, ME for a weekend of convivial companionship and potluck meals. This year that same gathering moved to the mainland on the south end of Rockland Harbor, and in that new venue, drew 55 boats and 120+ participants; a very respectable turnout!
Our gam starts with boats arriving Thursday and Friday of the last weekend in July, mostly all anchoring in the same general area of the harbor. Meeting and greeting and general merriment ensue as old friends that haven’t seen each other since the other side of the ocean – or the world – catch up on the time past.
Then on Friday evening everyone brings their dinghy over to the host boat (Sionna, since we’re the hosts!), ties up in floating party formation, and starts passing the food around. And let me tell you, for people that have about a 6-square-foot kitchen, cruisers turn out some incredible food!
Then on Saturday everyone comes ashore for a potluck lunch, introductions all around, and a featured speaker, in this case the representative from Cape Breton Boating Association, who almost convinced us we should head north, instead of south!
We’re tickled with the positive feedback we’ve received, but even more we were overwhelmed with the way cruisers will just step up and help. Not once did we need to so “would someone please…?” We were constantly being offered help and supplies and support, and never had to do more than point out a need before it was done. It was marvelous!
So that’s what the crew of Sionna has been doing the last few weeks. Now that the gam is behind us (except for the obligatory post-mortem discussion over rum-based beverages, of course!) we’re turning our focus to moving aboard and winterizing the RV, with all the fiddly tasks that entails. This week the head (toilet) in the RV decided it needed to snap a cable, but Amazon Prime came to the rescue, and I had the new parts in hand and installed within 24 hours – the wonders of the modern age! I should have been a plumber.
I sincerely hope and intend to be more regular and entertaining with this blog once we actually get away from the mooring, and I thank you all for your patience during this frantic stage of transition. “Downsize and simplify” takes an incredible amount of work to accomplish!
We’re getting there.