Is this even a term that non-cruisers know? If so, does it even mean the same thing? We went for sundowners on Condessa del Mar tonight. The last time we did that we were in a deserted island with 6 other boats, all of whom were sharing this quintessential cruiser experience.
A sundowner is, technically speaking, a drink shared with friends as the sun sets. It’s misleading though because, more often than not, sundowners last until late in the evening. When the bugs have come and gone and things are finally starting to get cool; the stars are out and the milky way fills the sky, that’s when we start to notice that maybe we’ve stretched the event a little long. That’s when we start to realized that the crackers and special recipe popcorn we brought doesn’t necessarily constitute dinner, and maybe the kids should get to bed soon.
Tonight we had sundowners with three other boat families that crossed the Pacific. One crossed with us, but we never met. They are pretty sure they heard Ruby on the VHF, but who didn’t, right?!
As the stars came out I mentioned how nostalgic I was for the just spectacular stellar show we routinely witnessed while crossing the Pacific. It was unexpectedly comforting to hear everyone present share the sentiment. So often, when I express my awe at the sheer density of stars in the night sky, people look at me funny or think I’m blowing smoke. These people got it, and they got the other stuff that we don’t have words to describe too. They got the Sailing Me that I was talking about yesterday, and they got why raising your kids on a boat isn’t courageous, but necessary.
I often find myself unable to articulate what it is about this life that is so vital, not just to my own personal well being, but somehow also to the wellbeing of all people (even those that don’t participate in it) I reach for the grandiose. I look for some big truth that the cruising lifestyle reveals. Maybe though, I should be looking for the mundane. This event—that we almost take for granted—perhaps perfectly encapsulates the community and spirit that makes this life of ours so precious.