There is a definite cruising community, and it seems to exist between all cruisers everywhere. While this certainly doesn't make us all friends, most cruisers seem to be sociable people, happy to chat and willing to exchange favors. In fact, there are few cruisers I wouldn't count as friends after stopping and chatting for a while, or having drinks either ashore or on one of our boats (it is perfectly acceptable to go over to another boat and introduce yourself, and most will invite you on board.)
Of course, there is a difference between the 'friendly folks who just pulled in' and 'our friends on the boat [such and such].' Most people will make good friends that they go out of their way to see and do things with. Unfortunately, due to the nature of cruising, it is often hard to stay with anybody for any length of time. The best is if both boats decide to stay in one general area for a while, and then we can talk on the VHF and arrange to be in the same anchorage (anything outside one anchorage is usually too far away.)
Since it can be difficult to arrange things any distance in the future, a lot of cruiser interaction is mostly spur of the moment. If somebody is having a birthday tomorrow, that is usually plenty of warning for the anchorage to prepare a big potluck party. Smaller events, such as having dinner on another boat, may come from something as simple as stopping by in the dinghy to say hello.
A big part of keeping the cruising community together is SSB radio and the many SSB and HAM nets. With the ability to talk over hundreds (sometimes thousands) of miles, and with dozens of cruising boats often on the same net, it is relatively easy (considering we all live on boats) to send messages. This also allows us to 'meet' people that we have never seen, and stay in touch with friends that we are unlikely to see again any time soon.
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