We are two months into a hefty list of very necessary projects and I can feel my sea legs atrophying. It’s not the time spent on land that is causing the problem, it is living on the hard.
I have always liked that turn of phrase, “living on the hard.” It sums things up nicely. Nothing about living on a boat out of water is easy. It is completely and utterly unnatural.
Firstly, there is the whole fish out of water feeling with the boat being propped up, whether it is in a hole, on stands or in a cradle. No matter how secure it is, it still moves. And in the high winds that have been the standard here in the Philippines this season it down right shimmies and shakes…but mostly only at 0300, of course. Continue reading →
As part of my “Less is More” ethos for this year I recently did a major clean out on board. Our wee closet and drawers were thinned out yet again, the cupboard in the head was decluttered and all the holds in the galley were sorted through. What I ended up with was pretty impressive rag pile, several tubes expired of sunscreen, some make-up that is embarrassingly old and enough to canned goods to survive the apocalypse, (zombie or otherwise).
I usually keep a healthy stock of canned goods on board (I write on the tops for easy indentification in my vertical storage compartment). Food in cans come in very handy when you’re sailing in more remote destinations like the Solomon’s and Papua New Guinea, where refrigeration is non-existent outside urban centres and the general population are subsistence farmers and fisherman. And to be honest there is nothing wrong with beans, lentils, tomatoes, corn, soup, mussels, pate, dolmas and tuna out of tin, just to name a few of my regularly stocked items.
It seems appropriate that we are starting off 2018 in the boatyard. The New Year is, after all, traditionally viewed as a time of renewal, a chance to make all those improvements that you’ve been meaning to get around to for the past 12 months. An opportunity to take stock, address problem areas and make positive changes. And that is exactly what yard periods are all about, fixing, modifying and hopefully improving.
So here we are, slowly, slowly getting work done.
The engine has been removed and over a week ago the engineering firm who is doing the rebuild came and took it away. We have yet to get a quote for the work…which means it is mid January and nothing has been done to the engine. This is holding up a pile of other smaller projects involved in improving the engine bay. Until we have the engine back we cannot fit and size the new shaft, strut, engine mounts etc.… Continue reading →
Looking for a little something special for your New Years Eve cheese plate? You still have time to make a quick batch of Cranberry Blueberry Compote, it only takes 20 minutes! I wrote a nice little blog post about it for Marisa over at www.foodinjars.com, so head on over for the recipe. I certainly am looking forward to cracking open the wee little jar that I smuggled back from Nova Scotia in my luggage! We hope you have a wonderful celebration and send you Best Wishes for 2018!
After 5 months (almost to the day) we returned to Kate in the Philippines. We decided to stay in Manila for a few extra days so we could catch a ride back to the yard with one of the Yard Managers. Sure we could have taken a 5 hour bus ride to the nearest town then hopped on a couple motorcycle taxis for the 45 minute ride to get us to the boat. But, when you are carrying a combined 5 pieces of 23kg checked luggage, three carry on’s, some groceries and a piece of 1″ stainless rod (the new propeller shaft) that is 6 feet long a direct ride just seems so much easier.
Not a lot of people talk about it, in fact I think most sailors who suffer from it are a bit embarrassed. But, I think talking about issues like this is important, and I hope that by sharing my story I can help other sailors out there who is suffering in silence.
What I am talking about is landsickness.
Landsickness affects different sailors in different ways; some people have difficulty believing that their coffee cup will stay on counter top without non-skid, some people crave salt and others feel nauseous when simply sitting still. The trick is to recognize how your body reacts to living on land and learning how you can cope with it. Continue reading →
It seemed like it took forever to finalized the haul out plan with the yard. Spaces were limited, the travel lift broke, communication was via email was difficult. Then we had to actually get there; hoping for wind that never seemed to blow while we were underway and babying our extremely tired engine while we asked it to run for many more hours than we liked or even thought possible. By the time the stars aligned and the morning of our haul out arrived we were both exhausted. Yet there was still a whole lot of work to do. Continue reading →
I haven’t been here much recently. By here I mean both on the blog and in the galley.
My enthusiasm for the blog ebbs and flows like the tide. Ironically, when we finally have half decent internet access and I get a chance to ‘catch up’ with the world is when I experience the most resistance to blogging. I start comparing our adventures to the thousands of other sailing and travel blogs. I spend too much of my time online and I find myself thinking things like “Oh, this would make a good blog post”, and “Gotta make sure I get a good photo to post online.”
Thinking of our lives as fodder for the blog, as not much more than material for a story, means that I am not being present in my experiences but rather just recording them. Living your life for someone else, an unknown, online audience, is exhausting. So, I chose to put down the camera, forget about the blog and just enjoy my time exploring the world with Steve. Only when I fill myself with enough real-world experience do I feel able to come back to this virtual world.
My time in the galley has also been brief as of late. This is partially because we’ve been trying to cover a lot of miles in the Philippines, without the help of much wind. This has meant early departures, lunches underway and two tired crew that can’t be bothered to stand over the stove after they’ve just thrown the anchor. There has been a lot of rice and fill-in-the-blank meals; spicy beans, shredded chicken with a splash of salsa, veggies and a fried egg. There’s also been lots of quick bowl dinners; pho, whatever’s in the fridge salads, pasta served with a hasty pan sauce. There’s been lots of leftovers. It’s food that fills the belly but doesn’t really inspire the soul.
It is also because ready-made food in the Philippines is practically on every street corner, and we’ve been taking full advantage.
We spent last weekend on the beach, but not just any beach. We spent last weekend on perhaps the busiest beach in all of the Philippines.
The island of Boracay (pronounced Bor-RA-cai) is only 9km long and 1km wide. White Beach takes up most of the western side of the island and is THE tourist hot spot, not just for locals but for the international crowd as well. With everything from hostels to exclusive resorts you can imagine that the scene on the beach is pretty interesting.
Although we did enjoying some world class people watching what caught my eye the most was the vendors, who make the rounds laden with goods, some practical, some absurd. Also, it wouldn’t be a day on the beach without some street food, or I guess beach food. So here, in no particular order, are:
Last week we stopped at a little island called Gigantes Sur. Still in the Western Visayas province of the Philippines it is a small island off the east coast of Panay; a dot among several others in the area. There isn’t too much in the way of Cruising Guides for the Philippines, or at least not that we have. Quite frankly it has been nice not to have one, nice not to have some unknown opinion mire our choices. Gigantes Sur was not listed in our almost decade old Lonely Planet and Google Earth only showed a small fishing village, so we had didn’t expect to find much ashore. All of which was fine with us.
Our choice to anchor there was made purely by how it looked on the chart; a wide bay with a slowly shoaling cove that ended in a sandy beach, which probably meant good holding and there wouldn’t too many rocks to snag the chain on. The anchorage was protected from the predicted winds, was within our travel range and we were well provisioned. Really Gigantes was just another stepping stone in our voyage north, not much more a convenient stop over, a place to rest for a night or two.
The thing is about exploring is that you never really know what you’ll find. So we when pulled into the anchorage and saw flags lining not one but two beaches nearby and a parade of boats depositing people on those beaches we were more than a little surprised. Gigantes Sur was not just a sleepy little fishing village, it was a destination. Continue reading →