Back in Seattle, Sophie was a great platform for hosting parties. On Thursday nights in the summer, she’d regularly carry 30-40 people for the Downtown Sailing Series races (see the photo on this blog’s homepage for an example). On our August cruises she’d be the mothership for 4 other families who would raft their boats to Sophie every night, using her as the main gathering place for communal meals followed by showings of “The Thin Red Line” where EVERYONE would fall asleep before it ended. Again and again. Kids love bouncing on Sophie’s trampolines, grownups love hanging out in the aft cockpit with a cocktail, and Jenna and I love sharing our floating home with everyone.
But Sophie hasn’t hosted a real party since we left Seattle last September. For most of the time it has just been me, Jenna and the kids and our occasional guest crew. In anchorages in the South Pacific, we haven’t gotten our act together or connected with a large enough group of people all at the same time in order to organize a proper party,
Until last night.
We’ve been in Niue for a week now and have been getting pounded with swells and squalls from the west since Saturday. It’s been pretty bouncy for Sophie and REALLY bouncy for the 6 other boats in the anchorage: Will and Sarah on Hydroquest (Canada), Umberto on El Hollandes Errante (Catalonia), Ola and Nina on Ninita (Sweden), Kid and Rosalie on Lady Lustrous (Sweden), Ludde, Tobbe and Simon on Warskavi (Sweden), and Johannes and Carolne on Orkestern (Sweden).
Yes, 4 of the 7 boats in the anchorage are from Sweden. We call them the Swedish Navy. Ludde, Tobbe and Simon are covered in ink. We call them the Swedish pirates. Hazel believes they really are. And we invited ALL of them along with the Canadians to come over to Sophie last night from 5:00 PM to 12:30 AM for a party that would do her Seattle friends proud.
For starters, there was a 5 foot swell all day yesterday, so our neighbors were all either exhausted or a little seasick. The average size for boats in our local Swedish navy is 28 feet. The sea was so rough, the only way to get onshore was to swim from your boat to the quay and then time your lunge for the ladder for the top of a swell. Jenna and I tried to go to shore in our dinghy with the kids, but when we saw the size of the surf breaking over the steps on the quay, we turned right around and headed back to Sophie where we played Settlers of Catan all day. At 4:00 in the afternoon I looked to the wharf to see how the surf was doing and saw Swedes in bikinis and tatoos throwing their waterproof bags into the surf and then jumping in after them and swimming into their dinghies. I had to go to shore in the dinghy again to tell John and Bev from New Zealand that I would NOT be giving them a ride to Sophie for the party and wound up fishing Caroline out of the water and catching her waterproof bag from an excellent 25 foot toss from John.
All of this just created a great backdrop for a successful party, and man did we succeed! We told the guests that we would provide the fish, wine and booze and that they should bring everything else, which wound up including rum, juice, coke, vegetables, cous cous. Everyone showed up at 5:00 and settled around Sophie’s aft cockpit for a cocktail when I pointed out to them that we had an ice machine with a bucket of ice right there at the bar. They suddenly turned into zombies, jumping from their seats with their jaws agape, crowding around the buckets all softly mumbling the Swedish word for”ice”. This happened throughout the night every time I refilled the ice bucket. They told me afterwards about the irony of how they all fled the Nordic cold for warm water cruising only to miss ice more than anything else.
Anyway, it was a great party. We ate the Ono that sliced my foor 2 weeks ago. We sang Swedish sailing songs. We watched Swedish pirates do handstands onto the trampolines. We sang along to Macklemore, because everyone on the boat knew the words to “Thrift Shop”.
Caroline and Nina wound up sleeping in the “yellow room” (forward starboard cabin), marveling at the size of the bed and the softness of the clean cotton sheets. They had both been awake for 48 hours and apparently had not slept in a proper bed for 2 years. Johannes slept on the salon sofa.
For breakfast, they had tea, eggs, dries fruit, and a full dose of Leo and Hazel playing Rat-a-Tat Cat.
I cannot imagine how uncomfortable it must be on a 25 foot sailboat moored in this swell, but Jenna and I are happy to hare our home with new friends. We plan to take a tour of the Swedish Navy later today to show the kids what its like to live on a boat smaller than their bedrooms.
It was a great party, and we are very happy with our new friends.