May 7, 2010
Somewhere off the coast of Virginia between Norfolk VA and Cape May NJ.
So, we pull into Tidewater Marine in Portsmouth to take on fuel and water before running the Virginia coast from Norfolk to Cape May. A front is scheduled for tomorrow, late in the day, with attendant high winds and resultant high waves so we are in a hurry.
While finishing up the fueling we are approached by a complete stranger. The guy looks alright. He is older, his build compact, his accent Brooklyn or maybe Buffalo. You can tell from his bearing he is four square.
He asks if we are the Meredith from Toronto that was on the Potomac last summer. Immediately we placed the guy. He was sailing a Monk 36 up the Potomac and grew desirous of conversation. We were in radio range and not averse. Our discussion was unexceptional, just friendly banter between strangers whiling away a boring stretch on the Potomac. The Potomac has many boring stretches.
Discussion ensues and it is disclosed that Meredith is returning from Cuba. Unable to visit Cuba himself, our friend is ex Navy and in addition to the other hurdles faced by Americans he needs permission from the Secretary of the Navy. However one of his friends visited last year.\
"He really hated Cuba" we are informed. "My friend had to report his position every day to the government. He swore he would never visit such a totalitarian state ever again. What a mess that country is in. No freedom."
Maturity of a level sufficient to resist such an opportunity has always eluded me. I explained to our good natured friend that the same rules applied in the USA. Foreign boaters had to report to the government every day, just like Cuba.
"I'm not surprised" rejoined my newly refound friend. "With all the trouble we have had with foreigners in our country."