Doreen and I had not heard the term 'Pay Forward' before but we were impressed at this 'ethic' and we were very pleased to adopt it in our dealings with the 'liveaboard' community.
'Pay Forward' may well be the ethic of many other organisations or societies, we do not know, but it certainly fits very well with the liveaboard life. Effectively, this is where yachtsmen and women with specific knowledge or skills help other yachtsmen and women who do not have such knowledge or skills. The key point is that this help is given completely free of charge, NO FINANCIAL PAYMENT CHANGES HANDS. The person who has been helped is obliged and accepts to 'PAY FORWARD' which means that they in turn help other yachtsmen and women, with the knowledge and skills they do possess.>
An example of this wonderful way of living was shown when many of us spent time in Trinidad. On one particular day, ashore in the marina, we had a bit of a 'help workshop' where there were a number of yachties helping the others. One person was an expert in sewing machines and so he was servicing any and all machines that were brought to him. I was able to check out several PCs to remove viruses and try to speed up the machines for the owners. Another good friend was an engineer so he went around several yachts and serviced their inboard engines for them. A really great way to live.
Jan & Max - Mambo
After many smaller adventures, we reached what was to be our winter home for the year 2004 and that was Almerimar on the Mediterranean coast of Spain approximately 133 nautical miles East of Gibraltar.
We entered the marina and tied up to the berth where the harbourmasters office was located. Coming in right behind us was Mambo, a 40ft catamaran and so we offered to help them with their mooring lines. We introduced ourselves to the owners of Mambo, Jan & Max who were also to berth in Almerimar for the winter.
Jan & Max were experienced cruising sailors and we were very grateful to them for lots and lots of tips about many aspects of sailing in the Med.
Jim, Sharon, Shelly, James, Martin and Peter - Wendreda
Having spent time in the Mediterranean we decided it was time to head across the Atlantic. One of our stops was on the Island Of Graciosa in the Canary Islands. Here we met Jim, Sharon and their children Shelly, James, Martin and Peter. This intrepid family had been on their way back to Northern Ireland when they suddenly thought, why are we heading home to the cold, and immediately turned around and headed South. We spent many wonderful days with Jim and Sharon and the gang, we even crossed the Atlantic both ways in the company of Wendreda. Though we do not see them often, the children are all now grown up and Jim and Sharon are back in Northern Ireland, we still remain in contact with this lovely family and are hoping we can get together again soon.
Philip, Anne, Annalize and Jabez - Abracadabra
We first saw Abracadabra in Bermuda, when we stopped off there on our way back to Europe. Abracadabra is a big yacht but has a very experienced crew, the children almost having spent the whole of their lives on board. When we arrived in the Azores (Terceira) Abracadabra was berthed close to us on the same main pontoon.
One day there was a knocking on our hull and when we looked there was a very young lad on the jetty dressed in a short wet suit and carrying a boggie board under his arm. At the time Jabez was only 7 years old. He asked if we wanted our water line cleaned. So we said yes and this small chap told us how much it would cost for him to do this work for us. We agreed the price on the basis that if the job was a good one, we would pay him a little extra but if it was bad a little less. Jabez was a great little negotiator and we finally agreed a fair price lol.
That was our main introduction to the Strouse family, with Mum & Dad (Philip and Ann) and big sister Annalieze (not too much older than Jabez). This wonderful family became good friends and even now we still keep in touch with them and are very pleased to see how well they are all doing
Rich and Lena - Big Sur
On our way back out of the Mediterranean we called again at ports in Mallorca. In Andraix we were anchored just in front of Big Sur and met with the owners Rich and Lena.
A lovely couple who became good friends over the next few weeks, as we sailed in company back to mainland Spain and then onwards down to Almerimar (calling in at many lovely ports on the way).
Rich and Lena decided to head out into the Atlantic and to cross to the Caribbean. Unfortunately, it was not to be and they had to return home for domestic reasons having reached Morro Jable where we were lucky enough to spend a few days with them again. Rich and Lena were kind enough to invite us to visit them in their houses, one in the mountains and one in Algarrobo near Caleta de Velez.
Bob and Liz - Yanina Of Bosham
Another couple we met in Almerimar, Bob and Liz were excellent musicians who kept us entertained well. We spent some time in their company, including crossing the Ionian Sea both ways.
In company with Yanina we crossed the Ionian Sea from Gozo to Ithaki. Quite a mixed sail but as we neared the Ionian Islands the sun came out and it was a beautiful day. We rounded the North end of Kefalonia and Ithaki and turned South sailing down and into one of the most beautiful places I felt we would ever see, the entrance to and the mooring in Vathy.
Eventually we ended up in the town of Lefkas, where Bob and Liz told us they were thinking of hiring a car and heading up to a place called Meteora. It seems that Monks built monasteries on top of hugh rock pillars, using only the tools they had in those ancient years. It was an absolutely wonderful experience. We also spent the winter of 2005/6 with Mambo and Yanina, in Marmaris, Turkey.
Tony - Tarnimara
We first met Tony in Trinidad at the yacht club. Tony is a major musician and though his yacht was quite small he managed to keep every single item of instruments, mixers, speakers etc in it's own place on Tarnimara.
A first class man in every respect, Tony gave unstintingly of his knowledge of yachts and how to maintain them. Tony showed me how to create a 'cover' for the gas solenoid (in the external gas locker) on Kiah, by creating a tin form of what was needed and then using fiberglass strips and epoxi resin to lay over the tin form, building up the soaked layers until we had created the fiberglass cover (sanding and painting and then installing). Tony is a very experienced sailor who returned to England and exchanged the sea life for one on a Canal Longboat.
David & Shelagh - Stella Maris
I (Alan) decided, prior to our departure from the UK, that it would be necessary for me to obtain my HF Radio Operators licence. I first met David when we both attended an HF Radio Operators course, just outside Southampton in 2003. David and his lovely wife Shelagh also owned an Island Packet 380 called Stella Maris, based in Turkey. A lovely couple, and we were lucky enough to spend winter berthed near to Stella Maris in Marmaris Yacht Marin over the winter of 2006/2007.
Maria & Norm - Bellahorizonti
Our second meeting with Maria and Norm was in Vila Real de Santo Antonio marina, a half mile inside the estuary of the Guadiana River, on the Left (Portuguese) Bank. A wonderful couple with a wealth of knowledge they were more than willing to share with us beginners. We went with them (each on our own boats) one our first trip up the Guadiana River, a wonderful experience, repeated on our way back out of the Med in 2008. We were to meet up with Maria and Norm on several ocassions during our time in the Med. Always a great pleasure and we had some very enjoyable times with these lovely people.
Fran & Roj - Hulaballoo
Many of the people we met whilst in the Med, we first met in Almerimar over the winter of 2004/5. Fran and Roj were two of them and, once again, we built up a good friendship with them and met up several times as we stopped in the same places for a break or over winter.
We were very pleased to accept an invitation to visit their new house in Spain and stayed with them on a couple of ocassions. We hope to visit with them in Spain again soon.