by Christine Kling
Cruising boats and cruisers certainly do come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve seen tiny little midget boats under 30-feet out here in the Pacific as well as humongous catamarans and retired maxi racers put to new use as cruising boats. However, last evening we got to watch something that was certainly new to me.
The Drifting Circus put on a performance at the Boatshed Restaurant here in Vuda Point. This circus troupe is essentially a floating commune of artists, musicians and acrobats. If you click on their link you will see that they call themselves the Alternative Sailing Community. They perform at resorts and on the street and pass the hat for tips. In the outer islands, they also perform in the villages, at hospitals and for children at schools. They are now a group of five boats and over thirty people, mostly twenty and thirty-somethings, and I was impressed by their show last night. While it wasn’t a polished show, it was fun and sweetly earnest. Wayne used the word “authentic” and that works, too. They kept their energy very high and really knew how to play to the crowd. They work at what they do, from acrobatics to tight-rope walking to belly dancing to clowning. The stunts they did with fire added just the right amount of breathless suspense. The instruments varied from guitars to banjo, accordion, flute, tambourine and drums. It was a great fun show, and when they passed the hat afterwards, we were happy to contribute.
Most of us have a difficult time managing life in the small space of our cruising boats no matter what the size. Each one of these boats has 6-10 people on board and they grow lots of food on board, too. It’s not a cruising lifestyle that would suit me, but the smiles and warmth from these folks was truly genuine. Maybe it’s something that works better for the young.
I believe artists should support each other and given that we writers want to be able to float around out here, write our books on the water and get paid for it, I say “Good on you!” to the artists of the Drifting Circus. If they drift your way, I hope you too will pitch a nice donation into their “Magic Hat.”
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