Saturday, 8 July 2017

Cruising USA - Generous Folk In Every Port

This is Ben, a clam fisherman who works the waters of Sandy Hook Bay, just 20 miles south of New York City. Ben is a "clammer" - hard work on these cold waters, as all the retrieval is done with muscle power, no engines permitted when actually fishing - he rakes the bottom with long rakes. He's also a sailor, and one of the very many Americans who have been incredibly gracious and generous hosts to us, since we arrived on the East Coast of the USA.

Fresh New York Clams
When we anchored in the Shrewsbury River near Pacific Highlands, Ben was on his way home.  He stopped his boat and said he'd like to offer us a meal of New York clams - could we pass over a bucket ?

Of course we could, and Ben loaded us up with a decent meal of large clams. They were delicious, and we owe Ben a beer or two when we pass his fishing grounds again in a few months.

Ben isn't alone in his generosity to cruising travelers - from the first day we arrived in Charleston (South Carolina) people approached us, seeing the Australian flag, and offered to help. In two days on the dock in Charleston we were offered moorings in three different harbours on Long Island Sound. One passing sailor watched me removing the Raymarine wind vane from the top of the mast and immediately offered us a spare that he had at home in his garage. Others have simply been there when we needed them, helping with local transport and sharing local knowledge, opening their homes and sharing meals and social time together.

Some of the support is tendered through connections with sailing associations - the Seven Seas Cruising Association and the Ocean Cruising Club in particular - those clubs have a network of friendly volunteer port officers in many of the harbors and towns along this coast. Club membership does have it's benefits.

Frankly, we've never felt quite so loved, there is a real sense of engagement and support here that we didn't expect - despite the many times we've toured and worked in the USA in the past. Yacht Club members are quick to offer support and if possible share their club facilities. So, hats off to the friendly people of the US east coast - from the Carolinas, to Chesapeake Bay and on to Long Island Sound, it is a delight to cruise here - we thank you all!

One Of The Protected Berths We've Been Able To Use - Thanks Walt & Mary !

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