Yachties

Like most people, you can group yachties to an extent. For example, some yachties are in it mostly for the sailing. It makes sense. They’re the ones who don’t tend to stay in one place for long. Tuned into their boats as moving machines. Metal horses. Gotta keep going.

Other yachties are the opposite. They like to live in one place – only on the end of a hook. Living on a boat allows you to cosy up close; especially on an island. You might not move much, but you’re in touch with nature. Woken by rainstorms, buffeted by cycles of breeze. These boats are floating apartments.

Most yachties do try to be a bit of both these things. We have yachties all around us right now, and the mooring buoys are close together. Though we don’t really go around purposefully making friends anymore, unless we’re drawn together. With school and stuff, we tend to do our own thing now.

The boat on the buoy metres in front of us is a steel-craft French boat. It’s been there for at least a month. Although we’ve waved at each other, we’ve mostly left each other alone. Until the other day that is, when we were invited to Patrice’s boat for dinner. The couple from the boat in front of us were at Patrice’s too. They’d cooked the whole dinner.

Slightly embarrassing moment. I’ve barely nodded at you – and now you make me dinner? Not just an ordinary dinner either. Lucie is a Parisian chef who worked at a Michelin-starred restaurant. The food was totally delicious. Goat bourguignon for the main course. Not something I’d been hanging out to try. More fool me. Lucie and her partner, Nessim used a traditional Bonairean foodstuff and made it their own. Gently slow-cooked cooked with rosemary, red pepper and the marrow of the goat.

During the meal we asked each other, ‘How long have you been cruising?’

Turns out both of us have been going for about the same amount of time: around five years. Not too many yachties have been going that long. And with this length of time, here is another grouping of yachties – especially the long-term ones. Hippie boat? Or not a hippie boat?

For us, well, no. I feel a shimmer of shame when I say it. Part of me would like to be. This is because hippie boats are often extra resourceful. They let things flow. They always build stuff too. And they sew – since they always seem to own sewing machines. Another way of classifying hippie boats: ‘Do you own a sewing machine? And are you sailing for an unspecified amount of forever time?’

Answer: yes. Tick, tock. Hippie boat. It takes an special person to be part of this kind of operation. We neither build stuff nor sew. That forever thing too is cool.

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