Cruising from the Marquesas to New Zealand last season felt like going back to freshman year of college. You arrive in Nuku Hiva after 23 days at sea, brimming with excitement for new adventures, anchored next to strangers who rapidly become your cherished friends.
You hike together and snorkel, talk on the radio underway, share notes on shore-side restaurants and local market hacks. You brave windstorms and celebrate sunsets. You yacht race, dinghy race, share paddle boards and any catch of the day. You build bonfires, snacking on popcorn as the flames lick at canopies of stars.
And you say goodbye.
You say goodbye over and over again, because Arbutus and Oceanna are staying New Zealand to work this season, because Wairua is settling there and continuing their travels by plane, because so many yachts in the Pacific Class of 2015 sailed on to Australia, because Sabir is cruising to Tonga before Fiji this season, because the answer to those two most important island questions—Where have you been? Where are you going?—is a kaleidoscope, and the same crystals reflect differently for all of us.
If you've followed our travels, you've met our friends Dirk and Gretchen of s/v Peregrine. Together, we dove reefs in Tonga and hiked volcanoes and glaciers in New Zealand. Peregrine sails north to spend the rest of this season in Indonesia, before cruising around South Africa and up the eastern coast of South America before returning to their home in the eastern coast of the US sometime near the end of 2017.
We had one last farewell dinner onboard Peregrine, lounging in her teak cockpit, admiring her varnished spars and oil lamps, taking tandem trips to the head with one of their two cats, Queequeg. We take from them their curry recipes and waypoints for the Lau group. We send them with our surplus popcorn provisions and a million wishes for excellent adventures and safe travels ahead.
Another adieu; another sail approaching another vanishing point. It's hard to spend too much time nursing the tenderness in a paradise like Fiji, hard to imagine so many adventurous wakes never crossing again, hard to spend too much time thinking of life as anything other than quintessentially beautiful.
Ps. Both photos are of Peregrine as she anchors near us in the Ha'apai group of Tonga. In the bottom photo, Arbutus is in the background.