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Sunday, May 12th, 2002
Sailing with Sean and Jo
Saint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles

Saturday morning, Curt and I were working on some boat chores when we heard Sean and Jo call out to us from the dock. Seems they had just returned from the bank. The final money transfer had gone through and they stopped by to congratulate us. We were now full-fledged boat owners. It was very sweet, because you could tell how sad they were to report the news, though obviously they had wanted to sell the boat as well. With this news, we asked if they'd like to come out for a sail with us the next morning. Just for a few short hours. We'd go out the 9am bridge opening, and come back in with the 11:30. They seemed happy at the invitation and agreed to meet us aboard the next morning.

I don't know how things got so tense so quickly, but somehow everything just got off to a funny start. In hindsight, I think I should've gone over what our plan was with Curt beforehand much more completely. You know: the order of how and what to do pulling away from the dock, who would steer, who would trim sails. Or better yet, we should've sailed some together before having Sean and Jo join us. I felt badly, because it turned out to be more of them showing us "the ropes" so to speak, than a relaxing sail for them. I'm certain Curtis thinks it went fine, and Sean and Jo may've as well, but maybe being the rookie has left me feeling more insecure than usual. At any rate, in the end, it ended up being a lovely morning once we got going.

Upon our return, we sat in the cockpit chatting and Jo invited us up for a little barbecue and offered us a hot shower. Curt and I were both so grateful for the invitation and of course accepted (it's not like we had any other big plans, right?).

They stopped at a market, Lido's, on the way to their house. I hadn't realized how much our view of grocery shopping had changed until we walked in and fell all over ourselves to see a not only fresh produce, but a wide variety of it as well. Granted, one tomato cost roughly $2.50, but at least you could buy one if you chose. They had artichokes, asparagus, and mushrooms. And fresh meat! Of all the markets we'd been to, we found almost exclusively only frozen chicken parts, or beef ribs, and fish cured in some sort of salt. The selection at Lido's was almost like a grocery store at home. We knew where we'd be spending our Monday morning.

Sean and Jo's home is absolutely beautiful. It's in a lovely neighborhood and the house is a good size, but not overwhelming or ostentatious. The entry way and living room each have a wall that is filled almost entirely with big glass doors that open out onto a patio where we found their dining room table. With the doors open, the whole house seemed almost not to have walls. If we hadn't known better, we might've thought they were showing us their beautiful home on land to talk us into selling them their boat back.

Sean barbecued steaks, and Jo prepared squash just they way they would've on the boat (I've since tried to replicate her dish, but my attempts aren't even half as good). Curt and I had remembered to grab a bottle of wine as we left the boat earlier, and we had it with our late lunch. It was a great afternoon, and we listened to many exciting stories about the adventures they had had when they were out cruising - crossing the Atlantic, a trek through the Andes, the characters they had run across throughout the Caribbean. And the funniest by far was their visit to the U.S. and their attempt to buy an RV for a cruising adventure by land. It didn't last long though, as the RV blew up.

All the while Jimmy Buffet played in the background and we'd occasionally pause the conversation to reflect on brother Jimmy's wise words. And just as one bottle of wine would be polished off, Sean would grab another. "Here we are now. Cheers! What do you say we have just one more bottle?" It was just perfect as I knew Curt was enjoying the day as much as I was, and neither of us had any desire to have it end (and apparently neither did Sean?). The afternoon wore on into evening and we found ourselves on the veranda staring at the Caribbean Sea and a sky brimming with stars. I couldn't resist mentioning Curt's nightly quest to catch a glimpse of the Southern Cross and how he hadn't been able to track it down yet. Of course (wouldn't you know), Sean was able to point it out without blinking an eye. It was one of those moments (of which I found few at home and yet find many here) that you know you'll remember forever. I believe Curt's dad calls them "defining moments." I don't know if I could make-up a more fitting story for Curt to see the Southern Cross for the first time, than from the man who has passed our boat on to us. The boat which will carry us safely on our adventures and show us all sorts of new lands.

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