Got a Card?

One thing about boaters, perhaps more accurately cruisers, is the exchange of ‘Boat Cards’ (think ‘Business Card’) on the occasion of first meeting other cruisers.  The details are pretty much the same as a business card, but usually including a picture or sketch of their boat.  Collected and filed, usually by boat name…since that’s how we think of these folks…and how we may recognize them again!  Boat names emblazoned in large font across the stern are easy to identify in a marina or at anchor.  Boat names are required in the protocol to hail another vessel by radio…..(although a more pejorative name often comes to mind when thoughtlessly slammed by someone’s wake…)  If we have the opportunity to get to know them, the details like home port, phone numbers or email addresses provide the means, and the oft-spoken desire to get together at another time.  We are, indeed, sailors in port for only a short time.

So why do I mention this now?  We had our cards printed before we left N. Carolina and have been handing them out to fellow cruisers we’ve met along our northern odyssey.  What is interesting to me is that we’re already meeting up with some of these same folks again.  Granted, these encounters have occurred at cruising hotspots like Cape May, Annapolis and St. Michaels, Md.  But it points to a real community with an interest in staying in touch.  There is much to share with our neighbors….stories, travel tips, favorite anchorages and the occasional pitfalls.  Sometimes we reconnect over dinner ashore (Dutch treat),  sometimes with drinks and hors d’oeuvres aboard, still others by just pulling along side in the dinghy to say “hi”.   Then we continue on our separate courses with the sincere wish to get together again.   All very low-key and all good.

….and perfectly suits the crew on Mosey On.

1stMate and Admiral

1st Mate and Visiting Admiral

“In 1814 we took a little trip…”

I should preface all of this by noting that Mosey On is back in the water with her full crew complement.  No hazardous weather noted during our brief foray into the Caribbean…and just a wee nick in their rum stocks. We’ve re-provisioned with somewhat more than “a little bacon and a little beans” and begun our Fall Cruise down the Chesapeake…toward Baltimore….where we heard over the radio that the Coast Guard had closed off the Inner Harbor for The Big Celebration (tall ships, fireworks, giant flag, and Blue Angels)!  I admit to some serious puzzlement…No mention of any of this in the bars on Virgin Gorda!

Which brings me back to Johnny Horton’s ballad that some might remember …and rather forget (here’s a helpful link to the full lyrics: ).  So there it was, the key to the puzzle…..Baltimore is celebrating the bicentennial of its pivotal (?) role in the War of 1812…the British failed to reduce Ft. McHenry on Sept. 24th, 1814 and we got the Star Spangled Banner as a result.  On the same day, a separate British force did reduce the White House to ashes in a fit of spitefulness…This, too, was deemed worth briefly celebrating… .  So the history we (and apparently the Brits) remember from The War of 1812 all happened in 1814….and the net result was a draw.

We might do as well to ‘celebrate’ our 200 years of cooperation with that other one-time world power.

I’d raise a pint to that!