Log #31d Seven Seas Cruising Association Rendezvous

March 24, 2004 in Log Series 30-39, Logs by Series, Series 31 Nine Months Ashore, The Logs

Log #31d Seven Seas Cruising Association Rendezvous

Istanbul, Turkey

March 27, 2004

We left off the last log from Lake Okichobee where we checked out a couple of storage sites before heading up to Melbourne in our borrowed VW camper van for the Seven Seas Cruising Association rendezvous. We have belonged to the SSCA since 1997 and have found it a valuable organization for the cruising we have been doing. We especially appreciate the monthly Bulletins which contain articles from members about their cruising experiences in various parts of the world. The SSCA has put these out for handy reference on a CD, which we periodically consult when visiting new places. Another aspect I like is their slogan, “Leave a clean wake”. This is not only an environmentally friendly policy about polluting, garbage, plastics or oil overboard, but involves social and cultural considerations when cruising to leave good impressions (a clean wake) so that other boaters will be welcomed in ports visited by SSCA members. Many marinas around the world give discounts to SSCA members, a much appreciated benefit as many of us cruise on limited budgets. We have received such courtesy at the CA House in Limehouse Basin in London as well as at Kemer in Turkey, where wintering rates were made more attractive due to the SCCA discount. Hopefully the marina of Porto Turistico di Roma – Ostia where we hope to winter this year will continue its courtesy to SSCA members.

We camped in a nearby large city park in which a barbecue was to be held during the rendezvous. The meetings were held in Eau Galle, a suburban community center beside the ICW where several SSCA boats were anchored. There was a strong emphasis this year on SSB and Ham radio qualifications and use of the Sailmail system for sending E-mail over shortwave while at sea. We debated whether to get our morse code up to scratch (only five words per minute) to get our qualifications, but decided against it as we do not have a shortwave or single side band radio/receiver yet, and do not assign a high priority to such.  We have made out well for the past five years with only a shortwave receiver on board, and do not think the expense, installation and maintenance problems of a full SSB or shortwave setup would be worth it. Besides, I have a hearing problem and Judy is not that interested. So we will do without for the foreseeable future.

Judy was a participant on a cruising women’s panel which, in addition to domestic tasks of food preparation and storage, odor control, laundry, galley hints, and clothing requirements, addressed issues of boat maintenance, navigation and “man” overboard emergencies. There was also a very good distributors’ display of current technologies and gear available throughout the rendezvous. The “Bilge” sale was a great success with individuals and some dealers displaying used parts for sale at very economical rates. We bought a roller for our stern anchor as well as a kerosene lamp and electric fan. These “treasures of the bilge” are always an interesting phenomenon, not only for what people are trying to sell or get rid of, but they provide an enjoyable opportunity to talk with other boaters about what they use and have found of value, and why they are selling what they are selling. Later there was a “Bilge Auction” of items that did not sell earlier and went for ridiculously low prices whether people wanted them or not.

There were several sessions on aspects of sailing which Judy and I were not particularly interested in, as we have had our own experiences to draw upon. One of the extremely enjoyable sessions was given by Eileen Quinn on “What the Magazines Don’t Tell You”. Eileen, a Canadian singer, cruises with her husband on Little Gidding in the Caribbean, writing and singing cruising “folk” songs lauding and lamenting the cruising lifestyle. She has produced four CD’s, all of which we have and enjoy. Her penetrating voice, and guitar instrumentals carry the listener through a wide variety of emotions, and reactions, and for those of us who are cruising, memories and reminiscences of what we have experienced. She encompasses sardonic humour, poking fun at the foibles and problems of cruising with such songs as “The Anchoring Dance”, “Working on My Boat”, and “I love Sailing”. However she also has a wide variety of melancholy ballads reminiscing on loved ones, life back home, and choices made to follow the cruising life.