Friday, January 30, 2009

Guests on Gypsies

John posting here.

On Sunday, Sept. 15, we had our first visitors since Gypsies officially got under way. Those visitors included my 26-year-old daughter Jennifer and her fiancé, Nic Pakler, who drove a rental car from their apartment on East 45th Street in Manhattan to the town docks in Stony Brook on Long Island.

Acting upon our strong recommendation, they came bearing two 30-packs of Coors Light, plus two cardboard cartons containing non-descript boxed wine, so naturally, we were extremely glad to see them.

Their first taste of the cruising experience – other than that lesson about bringing adult beverages – was a prolonged dinghy ride from the Brookhaven Town Docks in Stony Brook to where Gypsies was anchored off the beaches in Smithtown Bay.

It was rather tame and dry, as dinghy rides go, but heavy shoaling made for a circuitous path. Fear not, seasoned cruisers, for they would experience the more typical dinghy ride on the way back.

The weather was spectacular, as was anther surprise gift from Nic. He bought us a cable connector that will allow us to watch Red Sox and Patriots’ games on our flat-screen (after connecting to my Mac Book) by means of a free, on-line gadget they got us called Sling Box. Bottom line? When we have Internet, we get the Sox and Pats for nothing, no matter where we are in the world!

In honor of our guests, we did the typical cruiser cook-out, that being beers, burgers and dogs, all served top-side, al fresco.

There was a lot to talk about with the kids, who met Doug and Tammy when they drove up to Kennebunkport to visit in advance of our trip. They’re getting married in June, so there was wedding talk. They both work in high finance in Manhattan, so there was money talk – not that we have any, anymore – and there was much talk about the voyage.

Since Colleen has bagged our only fish of record so far – look for my photo of her landing a funky, flying catfish kind of critter – she gave the kids some casting tips and they both tried their hands, alas without success.

Sunset and tides played a big role in the duration of their visit, so at 5:45, they said their goodbyes to Colleen and Tammy while Doug fired up the dinghy, Meanwhile, I outfitted Jen and Nic in our olive-drab ponchos. I’m sure Nic thought it was some kind of cruising, fashion-related, hazing ritual, but once that chop started splashing into their laps on the 40-minute return dinghy trip, they had officially been baptized into the ranks of the cruising community.

They had come bearing gifts of beer and wine, and we sent them away with a bag of garbage to dispose of somewhere on the hard. Talk about cruiser hospitality! The good news is that, in spite of that send-off, they plan to connect with us somewhere in the Bahamas, perhaps in March.

As a proud dad, I know I’m biased, but I can’t wait to see them again.

To make the day even more special, as Doug and I made our way back to Gypsies via the Braille method -- no kidding, hands and heads over the side checking for depth (along with Doug's nifty hand-held depth finder -- we had the splendor of a full-blown vermillion sunset on one side and a full moon on the rise on the other, which Doug was able to capture in spite of our rocky perch in the dinghy.

As days go...

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