To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.
I tried to figure out why we got along so well with Kim and Doug. I decided it was because we must think alike, or be crazy in the same ways because, after all, we did choose the same boat. When Tropic Moon was built in 1961, she was one of a total of fourteen yachts made to the same design. Regen Tag was one of Tropic Moon’s sister ships. Forty-two feet, steel-hulled ketch, teak cabin trunk - she looked just like us!
Kim and Doug found Regen Tag in Florida. While they were getting her ready to go cruising, they were docked next to another boat that had a crew member named Stumpy. When we were in Grenada getting Tropic Moon ready to go cruising, we were docked next to a boat whose captain was this self-same Stumpy, a native of Grenada. Stumpy had told Kim and Doug about Tropic Moon, so they had the vague idea of keeping an eye out for us, even though it had been two years since Stumpy had last seen our boat.
Kim and Doug, with three friends as crew, sailed Regen Tag down to the Virgin Islands. One day they were touring Tortola by car. In driving past Maya Cove, they spotted Tropic Moon resting at anchor. They didn't meet us that day, or the day in June when they brought Regen Tag through Maya Cove. (I was in the States for the month, and Ed was at work). They finally did meet Ed by going to see him at the shop. Ed wasn't surprised to hear about our sister ship. One evening he'd been having drinks on a British boat when Martin, glancing out into the Channel, had exclaimed, "Oh Ed, I say, there goes your bloody boat!" - as Regen Tag sailed past.
It was two months later when they sailed into Road Town and I saw Regen Tag for the first time. I rowed over for a visit, and was given a tour. While the boats were alike on the outside, the interiors were totally different. While I felt like an idiot, I kept pointing out things (our hall is in a different place; we have a dresser instead of a door here; your galley looks longer than ours). Kim and Doug came over for drinks that evening. In going through Tropic Moon, they exclaimed and puzzled as I had done earlier, so I felt a whole lot better about my behavior that afternoon.
Doug thought it would be fun to compare Tropic Moon and Regen Tag under sail. The two weekends we planned to sail, there wasn't any wind. We did meet one weekend with the two boats over at Little Harbour on Peter Island, a pretty palm-fringed bay. While Ed was taking advantage of the clear water to scrape Tropic Moon’s bottom, he was kept company by a four-foot fish. When we all went swimming between the boats, the fish followed us back and forth. It seemed to enjoy hanging out in the shade under Regen Tag's rubber dinghy.
At first we’d thought the fish was a tarpon. I went snorkeling, and when I swam back to Tropic Moon, I was still wearing my mask. As I neared the boat, I spotted the fish against the hull – right under our boarding ladder! He “grinned” at me; I saw a whole mouthful of teeth. I called up to Ed, “Are you sure that’s not a barracuda?” I waited till the fish moved away from the hull before I went to the ladder. We looked in our fish book, and determined it was a barracuda. Seemed friendly enough!
That night Kim and Doug barbecued chicken on their grill. Kim had made two salads to go with the chicken – one fruit, and one vegetable. We had a peaceful dinner under the stars.