Friday February 23 , 2018
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Eric's Story

Much of my life has been focused on boating, sailing, cruising, and generally messing around in boats. Many refer to boats as she and it is easy to become captivated with the physical characteristics and the individual personalities of a boat. However, it is the human bonds that develop and form around boats and the nautical environment that keep drawing one to the cruising lifestyle. These bonds may be as simple as sharing sea stories on a beach or as formal as membership in a yacht club.

Relationships form and then are pulled apart by the boats upon which they were originally based. Often, the paths of the boats and the sailors once again cross in far off places and the sparks are rekindled when you least expect it.

In recent years, we have spent much of our cruising life on the west coast of Mexico. The area of Mexico between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo is known as the Gold Coast and it draws many boats which stay for extended periods. We have gotten to know many adventurers from California and the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and formed lasting bonds. One evening, a group of us were sitting around the pool bar of a small hotel in Barra de Navidad discussing what our futures might look like after each of us had ‘dropped the hook’ for the last time and moved ashore. It was not long before we had agreed that life on land would be best shared with like minded spirits. We could not imagine being too far from the ocean or too long away from the tropical paradises we had all come to love.

Together, we decided that joint ownership of a tropical bar would be the ultimate solution and we continued to discuss our shared dream as we ordered another round of Pacificos. Where would it be and what would our paradise look like? What would we call it?

Our fantasy was broken when one of the boater’s kids came running back crying and bleeding from his finger. He had been bitten by a monkey!

Nearly hidden in the back gardens of the hotel was a cage with a monkey. The child had put his finger in the cage and the monkey bit him. The damage to the child was minimal and soon peace and fantasy returned to the group. Stories of other monkey encounters were shared and I told of my experience with the Strawberry Monkey. What if, we wondered, the monkey in the cage was also one of the few remaining examples of the nearly lost breed?

We had to find out for ourselves and we headed back to the monkey cage. It took only a brief moment for us to confirm our suspicions. Lacking a strawberry, we found a bright red flower and after only a glimpse, the monkey displayed the same arousal and excitement brought about by strawberries in other monkeys. We had found another one! This had to be more than coincidence. Somehow, the stars had become aligned or the strawberries had been placed in a row.

What if our recently established bonds and shared dreams were meant to be something bigger than we had imagined? What if we were being drawn together to reestablish a remote station of the Strawberry Monkey Yacht Club? What if the magic of the monkey intended us to reunite and name our fantasy bar The Strawberry Monkey?

We ordered another round of beers and began to absorb what was happening to us. We knew our bar ownership would have to wait until we had each completed our cruising adventures. However, we realized that the spirit and mystery of the strawberry monkeys must not be allowed to die or disappear again. We committed ourselves to preserving and perpetuating the Strawberry Monkey Yacht Club. We would share the magic and seek worthy members as a virtual organization until the time once again was right to establish a land based facility in the spirit of the original headquarters in Monkey's Eyebrow, Kentucky.

Fate and coincidence had again brought together believers in the spirit of the Strawberry Monkey. The SMYC was reborn. We would not let it die.