The stews of M/Y Dorothea III still get excited when they talk about handing out paper and pencils to children across the Pacific Rim. During one visit, the crew were so into it that one of the guys gave the kids the sunglasses off his face, the T-shirt off his back and the shoes off his feet.
They remember rushing back to the boat, looking around for other things to give away, getting breathless as they retell the story and the excitement rushes back.
It’s one of those feelings you just don’t forget.
So when the 147-foot Cheoy Lee leaves South Florida this fall on another cruise around the South Pacific, they want to carry more items for the children and families they will meet as they cruise to remote places. And they are asking other yachties to share in the thrill.
“It started with the boss,” Stew Jamey Harrison said. “He’s always helped schools and people less fortunate than himself. For me, it started on watch with the captain, talking about the life we live, traveling the world. We have this great opportunity to give back.”
Capt. John Crupi is behind them the whole way, even asking them throughout the summer what they were planning and how they were going to do it. They’ve placed boxes in marinas and shipyards around Ft. Lauderdale to make it easier for crew to drop things off. Or anyone with donations can contact them directly.
The most popular items are school supplies and clothes.
“And hard candy,” Harrison said. “I know it sounds bad and we don’t want to hurt their little teeth, but for them, that’s the ultimate.
“It’s Christmas for them,” Stew Jess Thomson said.
Another grateful gift is water. While the crew doesn’t want to carry bottled water, they would like to deliver water pitchers or some other sort of container, then make the water onboard.
The yacht’s recent refit at Derecktor Shipyard has resulted in one whole tender bay being empty, and they envision large plastic tubs teeming with school supplies, sports equipment, clothes and more.
“We can take quite a lot,” Harrison said.
They will collect items until the end of September, and expect to leave South Florida in October. Their wish list includes writing and craft paper, pens and pencils, sharpeners and rulers, stickers and erasers, balls and sports toys such as Frisbees, sunglasses and clean clothes.
“It was so rewarding for us,” Harrison said. “The kids are overwhelmingly excited, dancing around, shouting for others to join them. … And everyone on the boat wants to do this. It rewards us more. We are so blessed. We all realize how lucky we are in life. How can we share that?”
Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.