Posts tagged food

Moce Viti

I couldn’t help thinking of what October in Seattle must be like: the cool fall breeze starting to blow, clouds and rain, trees taking on their autumnal colors. Meanwhile, in Lautoka I was sweating profusely in the hot and humid sun of the tropical spring.

Nick has left us to return to the real world, so it is just Shirley and me now. We celebrated our independence with another day on the town, enjoying cheap Indian food, ice cream and a fun bollywood movie. We took Idefix out of Vuda Point yesterday and anchored off another picturesque island whose name is completely unknown to me, and worked at brushing three weeks’ worth of slime off the hull. The water was much warmer than the last time I was in it, scuba diving off Vanua Levu. Idefix thanked us for the brushing by spending the night wrapping her anchor line around coral heads, so we had an exiting morning of untangling. Anchor wraps have been an unrelenting hassle everywhere we go, and the lack of an anchor roller, windlass, and scuba tanks put us at a serious disadvantage over the coral. Once we were free we came within about 3 feet of colliding with a coral head lurking under the surface.

Today we went to Lautoka for some last provisions for the trip to New Caledonia, and accomplish the checkout formalities. I wish the US had places like the markets we’ve found here and in Tonga, with mounds of cheap fresh produce. The so-called farmers’ markets in Seattle are an absolute rip-off, and Pike’s Place market is a tourist scam. Thank god there are places like Rising Sun and Oak Tree market.

After clearing out the customs official wanted to inspect our boat. We walked out to where our dinghy was tied up. He took a long look at our half-deflated dinghy with no engine on it, another at our midget-submarine of a sailboat, and wished us a good trip. Thankfully some kind Swedish cruisers we knew were going back to their boat and offered us a ride, towing our once-again leaky dinghy. After untangling another anchor wrap (I can’t wait to be in a place that doesn’t have coral), we are on our way to Nutelladonia.

Fish on!

815 miles from Honolulu. Only 1900 miles to Niue.
After 4 days of trailing various assortments of fishing gear behind the boat, we finally bagged a nice mahi mahi after sunset last night. I was beginning to fear they had completely deserted this part of the ocean, as they usually bite as soon as I drop a line in the water. It was cooked in a delicious mix of fresh pineapple, garlic, onions, soy sauce and fresh ground black pepper. Nick and I wolfed down as much as we could, and Shirley even nibbled a little bite. My efforts to turn her into a true sea denizen are not making much progress…
The weather charts say we have entered the ITCZ, but we still have a decent breeze from the East. The chop has abated significantly and the cockpit is mostly dry now. Things are very warm and damp down below and nothing dries in this humidity. Took a salt water shower today, which felt very good. Nick and Shirley seem to be waiting for their weekly freshwater allotment to shower.
We were visited by a very large pod of dolphins just before sunset. Some of them were jumping up in the air and flipping around. I can still hear them squeaking through the hull.

Praying for doldrums

I never thought I’d say that. It seems every day gets rougher, and today is the worst of all. Maybe I’m just crazy for trying to reach across the trades in a boat with less than 2 feet of freeboard. We gave up on Tahiti, and now we’re having trouble making Fanning, let alone Penrhyn. Not for lack of trying. Waves break into the cockpit every 15 minutes or so, completely soaking whoever’s driving. I guess I didn’t expect being wet to be such a problem once in the tropics, but it’s highly demoralizing. If it weren’t for Nick and Shirley, I’d bear off and head for Samoa or Wallis, but I think they’ll riot if I tell them we have to sail for another 3 weeks nonstop.

The silver lining is we are quickly approaching the ITCZ, aka the doldrums. Who knows what lies in there, but the zero-to-ten knots of wind in the forecast may offer us a change from getting bashed by breaking waves. And the rain will give us a chance to do some laundry and shower (we are on a strict water conservation regimen). Unfortunately the forecasts also show 2-meter waves in the ITCZ. Hopefully they’re just rolling swells and not steep or breaking waves.

Since I seem to have the strongest stomach, I’m sleeping in the v-berth for this leg. It’s the driest part of the boat, but it pitches wildly. It’s kind of like sleeping on a diving board while someone jumps on it. I share it with a stack of sails and some rotting fruit. I cleaned up some of the moldiest fruits yesterday and released a plume of mold spores all over the front of the berth. Did I mention I’m allergic to mold? Our bread has all gone moldy as well. On the transpac, bread and fruits will last at least half the trip, if not the entire trip. Not so in the tropics. Everything here seems to rot. Even my knees are covered in itchy little blisters. Shirley is going crazy because reading on the pitching boat makes her nauseous, so she has nothing to do. Nick is tough as nails, but I can tell he’s not exactly enjoying this sail through paradise either. So far only the boat seems not to mind.

That’s enough for one day. Idefix out.

Food. Lots of it.

This has been a pretty typical conversation for me lately:

“I’m sailing to Hawaii alone this summer.”

“What are you going to eat?”

It’s funny that that’s the first thing most people think of. Or maybe I just hang around people who are primarily concerned with food.

I experimented with various flavors of canned chili on my qualifying cruise, but I really need to hammer down quantities, volumes, storage, etc… if I want to be prepared when it’s time to leave Seattle. I’ve tried a couple freeze-dried packaged meals, but most of them are way too salty, and you have to put water in them, which doesn’t save much on weight.

Some of the entrants in the last race were raving about MREs and “Heater Meals”, but the excessive packaging seems like a lot of waste to me, and I’ll have a pretty efficient propane stove on the boat. But I imagine there’ll be times when I don’t want to cook and need to get some hot food in me.

Keep on reading for my 21-day menu… (more…)

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