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IN LATITUDES at times. Friends and family back home become farther away — literally and figuratively — with each mile west we sail. Out here, your buddy boats become your family. We share our pasts, our hopes, and goals for the future. We share laughs over cockpit sundowners. We share meals made with love. We share our favorite books and media. We share roast marshmallows over carefully tended campfires. We snorkel together, sharing the wonders of the sea at each anchorage. Our buddy boats are our community. It's now the middle of September and the Wolf Pack has been split up for about a month, exploring various parts of Fiji. However, in a couple of weeks, we'll be reuniting to celebrate Tioga's semi-traditional Fijian nuptials. Certainly a cause for some buddy-boating revelry! After that, some head for Australia, while others, like us, for New Zealand. Some of us have hopes to keep cruising, others plan an imminent return to "normal" life. The friends we have met while cruising have shaped our experiences more than I ever thought possible. In just a short time, the members of our Wolf Pack have become our intimate and dependable sailing family. Even though we will eventually split off from our buddy boats, we know we will always have those kindred spirits who understand the enticement of a life at sea. — Molly 9/17/18 ALL PHOTOS RIPPLE

Below, 'Ripple' at anchor. Right, Fijian waterfall fun. Above, left and center, Wolf Pack photos at Tonga and Bora Bora represent nine different boats. Right, three amigas - Giselle of 'Sedna', Talica of 'Tioga', and Molly of 'Ripple'.

winds, torrential downpour and 10-foot swell on the beam somehow made it all seem a little less crappy. As anyone who has ever cruised the South Pacific can tell you, boat parts are few and far between out here. What you need, a buddy boat will have. Even better, all of that hoarding of provisions and spares in Mexico will help someone else down the line. Need a spare water filter? Great, we have have five extras and we'll take those extra cans of tuna that are crowding your cabinets. Need a hammock for all of your tropical fruit? Here you go. (No boat needs four fruit hammocks.) It just feels good to know that your tribe will have your back. Most importantly, buddy boats help us feel more connected and less isolated while cruising so far from home. Setting sail for distant lands can be a little lonely

If Lisa of 'Bloom' looked a little freaked out up there on the bow, it's because she was.

BLOOM

for long passages, and long-term itineraries. Of course, we still made our own independent decisions — cruisers are independent by nature. But there was a lot of comfort in knowing that there would be friendly faces to greet us hundreds of miles west, across the vast Pacific. Throughout the months and miles, new buddy boats have joined the Pack, cruisers both young and not so young. So what's so great about buddy boating? First, there's a feeling of safety in numbers, even if we're all essentially alone in our little cocoons in the middle of the ocean. Connecting via satellite while passagemaking sets our minds at ease. When a nasty low pressure system passed through Bora Bora just as we were embarking on the eight-day passage to Niue, commiserating about the 35-knot

Bloom – Bavaria 40 Robinson family Sea Shepherd to the Rescue Victoria, BC After spending 2017 cruising the Sea of Cortez, we departed La Paz last January, headed for the mainland. With a little over 200 nautical miles to Mazatlan, we

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Latitude 38 Nov 2018  

The November 2018 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 Nov 2018  

The November 2018 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.