Cave. Man. Cooking.

We don’t eat out at restaurants very often, but we do love eating ashore.

We’ve cooked breakfast in a volcanic steam vent, found secret grottos for picnic lunches and dragged our BBQ up a river to cook sausages beside a fresh water swimming hole. If there is a beach around we’re planning dinner over an open fire or cooking bread on hot coals. We’ve even popped popcorn over a bonfire just so we had snacks to enjoy with our sunset drinks.

Palau is short on beaches due to the typography; steep limestone islands. The few that are around are in National Park areas so open fires are not permitted. This, of course, put a serious cramp in our beach bbq plans. Which was rather disappointing because it had been a really long time since we’d felt comfortable cooking ashore. Continue reading

“You don’t know what you can do until you’ve done it, right?”

I recently had a virtual catch up with a dear friend of mine and she wrote that sentence in her letter. It jumped off the page at me.

She and her husband are working through the same problem that we are; trying to find a balance between the sailing life and working to fund that life. Except they have a kid, which I can only imagine adds so many more complications to things. She commented I was brave to be staying on the boat in the water, alone. She has a toddler and has spent several months as a “temporary single Mom” since he was born when her man is away working. I think she has beat in the bravery department hands down.

But I do believe in what she said; in life you need to constantly push and test yourself. These tests don’t have to be monumental, scary or record breaking, just doing something beyond your comfort zone is enough. You’re capable of more than you think. Way more.

I know, I have been testing the theory recently. Continue reading

Grotty Yachtie or Bust?!

The other day, while standing on the side of the road outside town, I was picked up by an ex-pat. She had passed me by but then noticed in her review mirror that so had two taxis that were following her. She pulled a U-turn and asked me if I wanted a lift.

I hadn’t flagged down those taxis on purpose. It was Cruise Ship Day and they were actual marked cars, I shudder to think what they would have charged me. I was waiting for a minibus to drive by, that’s how I and the locals get around. They drive everywhere, no route, just where people want to go, and they usually cost a buck fifty. I was happy to wait, but I was happy for the free ride too.

I climbed into the cab to find a friendly 50 something Aussie lady. As we drove down the road she started asking questions; Where was I from? What was I doing in Vanuatu? How long had I been in town? I gave her the general rundown; I was Canadian, we’d just sailed here on our own yacht (boat, confusingly, seems to denote ship in Vanuatu, so although yacht sounds a little snooty, people understand I mean small, private sailing yacht) we’d be around for a couple months.

Then she turned to me and said “Oh, well, you don’t look like a yachtie.” I let the statement hang in the air between us, unsure what to say. My non-reaction seemed to make her uncomfortable. Continue reading

“Land food”; the latest food craze on boats

I have been spending a fair amount of time this week in front of my laptop writing a couple articles about provisioning and cooking on board. While researching what has already been published (in the hopes that I might have something new to say, HA!) I keep stumbling across this notion of “boat food”. That idea that just because you live on a sailboat and have a small galley you need to drastically change the way you cook and what you eat.

There is, in fact, quite a niche market for “galley cookbooks”, ones that implore that “boat cooking IS different than cooking ashore” because “there’s no grocery store 5 minutes away, you have fewer prepared foods and electric appliances.”  And others that recommend that you eat off “paper cups and plates, particularly at sea.” Both to save washing up (you can just toss them overboard, of course) and because plastic plates “scratch and become dull.”

Really?

I mean REALLY?! Continue reading

A Different Angle on Things

I woke up this morning feeling rested for what seems like the first time in over three weeks. The difference was noticeable not only to me but to Steve, whom I spoke to via Skype at 0630 this morning, after brushing my teeth but before making coffee. He said I sounded like I had pep in my step.

I have been struggling with low energy since we pulled the boat out of the water. At first I thought I was having trouble sleeping because Steve was gone. That usually lasts a couple days  until I realize I can roll over in the bunk with bumping into someone. Hello bed hog! Then I thought it was because I was being buzzed awake by mosquitoes. Up went the mossie net. Waking up shivering; I now sleep with a blanket right beside me, unfolded for easy, half awake deployment. It is winter here now so it is still dark at 6am, it is easier to press snooze than to get out of bed before the sun. I have been eating meat like a prehistoric carnivore, so it can’t be low iron. I was stumped. Why was I having such a hard time waking up? Continue reading