There's nothing like dragging anchor in ultra remote Chagos, Christmas in European/NorthAmerican eclectic ways under palm trees in San Blas or the passage from Madagascar to South Africa to build life-long friendships. While I've stayed in touch with many former cruising friends, it's always nice to hear from more and to connect more often. Mary McCollum and now, husband, John Hicks are two such friends (photo taken July 05). I first met Mary when she was singlehanding Mighty Merry Too, her Pacific Seacraft 24'. I had just crossed the Tasman from Australia to New Zealand and was in the early stages of a research study documenting stories of women sailors. She had been caught by a nasty blow off the coast of NZ prior to our arrival and was recuperating from a broken back. John was on another Pacific Seacraft, also singlehanding. Years later, I saw them again, this time together, sailing on the larger of their two boats, renamed Duet. From meeting in New Zealand in 1993, we met again in South Africa and now, they live ashore in Port Townsend, less than 5 blocks from me. Other cruisers I've heard from recently are Paula & Vigo on Marijke, Silvija & Egon on Magnum Bonum, Peter & Carda on Shemali Blue, Mary & Rick on Tranquility, Tricia & Art on Cynosure and Thalia & Bob on Renaissance. They are in Alaska, Sweden, England, Rhode Island, Florida and Maryland respectively. Small world? Yes, thankfully.