Throwback Thursday; In the Beginning

I started writing Letters from Kate as a weekly newsletter to family and friends in 2008 when we bought the boat. They went out as emails and when I got organized appeared on a page of the website. In 2014 I changed format and started using a more modern blog platform to share our “Letters”, thus removing the newsletter page from the website. I thought I would share some of our past adventures with you in a Throwback Thursday series. I hope you enjoy! H

I dash up the stairs, across the cockpit of our little boat and lean out over the side just in time. My recently eaten peanut butter sandwich comes up in a violent convulsion of abdominal muscles, each new heave making a prefect splash in the calm water before floating into our wake in oddly recognizable chunks. A wave of relief washes over me, as if I have dispatched some of the worry that has been clinging to me since we left the dock in San Diego at 3am this morning.

I stay hanging out over the cool stainless steel railing watching my reflection in the glassy sea. I look pale, despite being bathed in the warm afternoon light that is reaching across the sky behind me. My eyes look shadowed with worry.

“Are you alright, Honey?” Steve asks from behind the wheel. I give him a thumbs up as I wretch one final time.

Perching on the big primary winch staring into the distance I try to find the faint line of the horizon where the sky stops and the sea begins, wanting to focus on something other than the sharp tang of acid that is coating my mouth. I’ve been seasick before, I know all about that kind of queasiness but this smacks of something different. There is a nervous aftertaste and a hint of insecurity.

Steve shifts uncomfortably, trying to relieve the pressure on his right leg. He won’t say so but I know his leg must be throbbing and his foot swollen. After getting around for weeks without crutches and more recently without his plastic walking boot he decided he was fit for sea. I’m not so sure. He couldn’t stand the thought of delaying our departure any longer; we were already 5 months behind schedule. I knew there would be no arguing with him, he could be as rigid as the 30cm of titanium holding his tibia together. All I could do was hope I was ready to take up the slack.

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We be Jammin’

Well, pickling really.

Everyone once in a while I need some serious galley time; Steve calls it my therapy. Something about the methodical actions of slicing and dicing, of stirring and waiting somehow calms me, brings me back to centre. I have to admit, a small boat in the tropics is really not the smartest place to choose an activity that involves standing next to a stove for hours on end. But I can’t resist.

Over the years when fruit is in season and crazy cheap I’ll make a batch of jam or chutney, squirreling it away for a day when we are at a deserted anchorage and we haven’t seen a real store in weeks.  Nothing boosts morale like a dollop of homemade Mango Chutney on leftover curry or spruces up breakfast like Passion fruit Pineapple Jam.

Having broken almost a whole tray of mason jars way back in Costa Rica one night (a sad lesson in the thermodynamic differences between solids and liquids let me tell you) I was running low on proper canning jars. So last visit to Aus I ordered a case, carefully packed them in my checked luggage and hoped they would survive the plane ride. Amazingly all 12 jars made it to the boat intact and they sat on the table taunting me until recently.

I started off by making a batch of Tomato Relish when tomatoes went down to $2/kg. Even if it failed miserably I would only be a couple bucks out of pocket- less than if I bought a jar of relish in the supermarket here. I headed straight for the book shelf and pulled two dog-eared and much loved volumes off the shelf for guidance.

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