Finding Old Friends

After Suzy posted on Facebook that we were anchored in Cocoa, she soon heard from some friends from our old home town who happened to be right next to us in Cape Canaveral. Susan and Lee wanted to come by to visit, but we told them we were leaving early the next morning for New Smyrna Beach (NSB); however, we had planned a layover day in NSB, which is about an hour’s drive by car from Cape Canaveral. For us, on Madge, it would be another long day’s trip of over 50 miles on the water. It’s funny how your perspective changes when you can only travel at about seven miles per hour. Anyway, Susan and Lee decided to come visit us at the NSB City Marina on our layover day.

The trip from Cocoa to NSB was uneventful, for the most part. We had three bridges to negotiate early in the day around Titusville. The wind was out of the northeast to east. Because of the bridges and our direction of travel, we just motored in the morning. As we finally turned north in Mosquito Lagoon, though, the conditions were right for some sailing. We pulled the genoa all the way out and picked up some much appreciated speed. We kept the motor going, however, because we had a lot of distance to cover, but I was able to back off on the throttle a bit to give our old diesel an easier time of it. We pulled into the NSB City Marina not too late in the afternoon. As we tied up in our slip, I noticed that the boat right next to us was the same Caliber 47 LRC (47-ft Long Range Cruiser) sailboat (named Surreal)  that had passed us on our trip from Vero Beach to Cocoa, and which I had drooled over as it did. I may have mentioned to the captain on the radio as he passed us, how much I lusted after his boat. Now I had the opportunity to introduce myself to the Canadian crew, and to see the boat up close. I resisted the urge to ask for a tour of the boat, since I had seen one at boat shows, but learned from the always-nice Canadians that the boat was on its way to Brunswick, GA, where it would be put up for the summer. Dubhe, which pulled in just after we did, was in the slip just on the other side of Surreal. The NSB City Marina is fairly small, and we were lucky to get in, but it was full of some very nice boats. Very good for drooling and dreaming.

The city marina is in the old part of New Smyrna Beach, and the Dubhes were craving pizza, so we walked down Canal Street to a highly-regarded New York style pizza restaurant recommended by the dockmaster. Unfortunately, it was closed on Mondays. We fell back to our Plan B, and had a pleasant dinner. We turned in fairly early, since it had been a long day, and Suzy and I needed to spruce up Madge the next day to get ready for our guests.

Old Friends

Much to our surprise, on the morning of the visit, Susan and Lee informed us that another couple of friends from our old home town, Ingrid and Joel, were vacationing that week in NSB. Joel had just retired, and I guess he was taking some time to decompress after a long career, including 31 years at his last post. We had wanted to attend his retirement party, but were crossing the Okeechobee Waterway at the time. Well, Susan had called Joel to inform him that we were in NSB, so Joel called me to ask if he and Ingrid could also stop by. Of course! We had an awesome visit. Our friends arrived just after lunch, so we hit the local tiki bar and monopolized a table by the water for the entire afternoon, catching up on all the tales from home. What are the chances that we’d find ourselves hundreds of miles from home on our tiny little boat, in some random small town in Florida, and run into not one, but two couples from our old home town? How wild is that? Before our cruise, I’d never even heard of New Smyrna Beach.

Since our pizza dinner had been pushed back to that evening, we asked the Dubhes if we could invite our hometown friends to join us. We knew they would approve (which they did), so all eight of us descended on the previously-recommended restaurant called Panheads. The place was small — we took up about half of the indoor dining area — but it was comfortable. I’m not sure if the circumstances affected my taste buds or not, but that place had some of the best pizza I’d ever eaten. As the conversation continued around the table, we uncovered a number of unrealized connections between our old friends and our new ones, including previous home towns and several mutual friends. It was a jolly evening.

After the dinner was over, and the group had disbanded, Suzy and I walked back to the marina with the Dubhes. The only description I can think of for the day is “wonderfully bizarre.”

I wonder who we know that knows Kevin Bacon.