A crisp fall day. Relatives in town, but off visiting the National Holocost Museum for the morning. I was sailing just a few days ago and will again in a few days. I'm working a small project I want to install, but it needs a few more coats of varnish. A perfect opportunity for a short bouldering work-out at the local crag, Carderock.
I walked the base of the cliff, scanning for familiar faces; often we come without having made arrangements with friends and simply meet up. A good way to meet new faces, too. Mostly, that's how climbers meet and how climbing partnerships form.
"You look like you've been here before"a stranger bouldering up the crag called. I noticed he had experienced (old) shoes and callused hands, suggesting he was an old hand at the climbing thing. The way he moved suggested to me that like me, he knows what he's doing but has been away from it for a while. Old shoes that are mostly worn out suggest that too.
"Yes, for 30 years anyway. Can I help?"
"No, just looking around. A caught a ride on a top rope with some guys over that way. Fun. Nice place."
"Where are you from?"
Sounds like more of a place for sailing than climbing." Annapolis is hopelessly flat.
"Actually, yes. I teach sailing."
The conversation went on a bit, me relating that I had a boat in Deale, one of a string of boats. Some stuff about sailing. I said goodby and wandered to the far end of the cliff to boulder alone. But about 100 feet away I turned around and decide to return to the stranger, to be a bit more sociable to our visitor.
We talked a bit more. He coached J-80 sailing for J-World. We talked about fast boats, planning on J-boats, and speed on the Stiletto 27 and capsizes of the new AC 72. I mentioned that I'd slowed down and bought a PDQ 32.
"I know a couple who has one of those, out cruising."
I thought I knew the answer but asked anyway; "Oh, really? Who?"
"Zero-to-Cruising. I follow their blog."
"Cool! Me too. I met them once, in Cape May, and we trade emails now and then. Good folks."
"Would you believe me if I told you that I taught their "learn-to-sail" class in Miami?'
"Yup, I'd find that easy to believe!"
We chattered on for a while. I pointed out a few bouldering spots, but in no way gave any demonstration of prowess; I was wearing a heavy knee brace and was having a high gravity day. We talked about a few sailing adventures. I gave him dirrection to a few local crags he'd heard of within the local area--Easter Egg Rocks, GreatFalls--and we parted ways.