Pearls of Wisdom

We are in Eau Gallie, Florida now and have spent four days here with a group called the Seven Seas Cruising Association.  Every December they gather here for socializing and learning from various well known sailors who volunteer to give seminars.  This year we were lucky to meet both Chris Parker, our weather router (guru) and Jimmy Cornell who has written a number of cruising books that are well known to sailors. We also met Jimmy Cornell’s daughter, Doina, who has written a book herself about growing up on a circumnavigation, Child of the Sea.

I’ve been hearing about this town called “Oh! Gollie!” or “Oh! Gallie” and wondering how on earth it got its name.  It turns out it is “Eau Gallie,” and since it sits at the water’s edge that explained the ‘eau’ to me.  But what about Gallie?  I’ve just learned that ‘gallie’ is French (galet) for rocky and the two words together are ‘rocky water.’  The town is named for the coquina rocks that abound here.  Still, it’s fun to say…. Eau Gallie!

This has been an exciting weekend for me!  I have met a weaver from Ontario! Her name is Lois, and she is sailing south to the Bahamas with her husband on their boat Astar.  She has a large 8-shaft LeClerc, a 10-shaft draw loom, and the same 8-shaft Baby Wolf that I have.  She knits and spins as well, so we had a lot to discuss!  One of her wheels is the same Lendrum (made in Canada) that I have.  We both had our knitting with us.  She has her OHS certificate of excellence in weaving and has worked in some capacity for that organization. She is a member of very large guild in the Ontario area. I can’t wait to learn more about that. She has heard of my regional guild, MAFA (Mid Atlantic Fiber Association), but not my new regional guild NEWS (New England Weavers Seminar). We both started weaving in the mid-70s.  It is so wonderful to have finally found another weaver!

Another woman mentioned to me that she knows of two weavers that she has met while sailing.  She promised to find them in her list of contacts and give me their names.  I made connections with these women and others during a seminar called Women and Cruising.  This seminar was for those of us women who are new to living aboard.  It was a time for us to express our concerns or fears or voice our hopes in finding other women who have similar interests.  There were birders and shell collectors and bridge players…..  One woman who has her sewing machine aboard along with bins and bins of fabric told me her wonderful experience from last winter.

In the Bahamas she likes to weave traditional baskets of local materials.  I think she called it ‘silver grass’ or something like that.  She said the local women taught her to weave these baskets.  At some point she learned that some of the women have no access to the basket materials they need because it grows in places that are only accessible by small boat.  She used her dinghy to harvest some of this basket fiber and brought it to the women who needed it.

What a lovely way to connect with the local culture, to make friends and learn something so precious!  I hope I will find opportunities like this! Doina Cornell’s tales of spending her childhood sailing around the world with her family were also full of the experiences she had living in such varied cultures from all around the world.  The weekend was rich with amazing experiences and valuable insights!

Walking about with my knitting led other women to talk to me about their own knitting projects.

 Oh!  I must not forget to mention that I finished my Ann Jacket!  Woohoo!  Just for the record I finished it on December 5th, in plenty of time to wear home!  And since I cannot let my needles lie silent I have moved on to the “Ruffle Wrap Cardigan,” and it is practically knitting itself.  Every time I knit what feels like a couple of rows an entire body section is finished.  If only all sweaters would knit up this quickly!  I have finished the back and both fronts, so yesterday I started the first sleeve while walking around the SSCA conference.  The sleeves are the first opportunity to use the fun ribbon that gets knitted into this design.  Wow!  That ribbon is really over the top….perhaps a bit garish?  I’m wondering if I have the guts to wear this when I finish….

We are homeward bound!  Today we will sail down to Vero Beach and will have dinner with our friends who have a house there and split their time between living on the Connecticut River in the summer, in Vero for fall, and on board their boat Camelot for winters in the Bahamas.  Then Monday I will get a rental car in preparation for our trip to the airport, and I’ll do our last minute laundry.  Tuesday we fly home!  I will have 1500 hundred miles under my belt and three full months onboard.  The first tiny drip of experience in what Bob hopes will be many, many experiences living onboard.

Day 90, December 9th: Eau Gallie to Vero Beach.

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