August 1 – 31, 2005
Good morning boys and girls!
What can I say; yesterday was simply picture perfect!
The skies cleared up a bit, the seas were calm, we were well rested from the previous day’s endeavors and breakfast, the most important meal of the day, was simply amazing!
One of the things we’ve learned while spending time aboard Rocinante, is that the most mundane things take on new meaning when you pare them down to the bare essentials. Take toast for instance; we don’t have a toaster aboard our boat, so what do you do?
Well, if you’re me, you pull out the cast iron griddle and fire up whatever heat producing device you have at hand! In this particular instance, it’s an alcohol stove. While the alcohol stove doesn’t put out as much heat as a conventional stove, it will still heat up a cast iron griddle nicely, albeit very slowly! So, I wait, every now and again passing my hand over the griddle to gauge the temperature. Soon enough, it’s “just right” and I throw on a generous pat of butter. It instantly starts to sizzle; steam rises off the griddle and I soon catch the faint nutty smell that tells me it’s time to throw on a couple of slabs of bread… slide them around to absorb the butter and wait; 1 mississippi, 2 mississippi, 3 mississippi… 45 mississippi and add some more butter on the unused section of the griddle… 47 mississippi… 60 mississippi and flip… 60 more seconds and I’ve turned a slab of bread into the most amazing toast you’ve ever had! We slather them with some of our homemade, 4-fruit Jam, add some great scrambled eggs, a few strips of smoky, slow cooked, bacon and hot, fresh-brewed, black coffee… a meal fit for a king and queen! Oh yeah, & mimosas… can’t forget the mimosas!
Flash forward to 2017 –
To this day, we still do this every Saturday morning and refer to it as, you guessed it – “Boat Toast”!
We lounged about the boat most of the morning Maria reading her book and yours truly writing the latest entry. Morning gently moved into late morning and we started to think about lunch (perhaps we’re hobbits and don’t really know it). We had a couple of steaks that wouldn’t last much longer sitting in the “ice box” and being the frugal cruiser types that we are, decided that a nice rib steak for lunch would be a good idea… by this time, the winds had picked up a bit, and while not uncomfortable, certainly too windy to fire up the barbeque. Fortunately, there is always more than one way to get things done… I fired up both burners on the stove, turn them up as high as they would go (more or less) and heated up the griddle while I prepped the steaks… a bit of freshly ground salt and pepper would do just fine. Prepared a nice salad; romaine lettuce, kalamata olives and artichoke hearts with a bit of red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil… yummy! (especially with the bottle of red wine… remember, we have 3 cases to go through!).
After lunch, we contemplated our mid-afternoon snack. Just kidding! Actually, we decided to inflate the tender and head to the beach. The process went fairly well. Maria and I took turns at the pump (really should have gone for the electric one!) about 30-45 minutes later, we had it inflated on the foredeck and now needed a way of getting the darn thing in the water. Now this puppy is heavy, a bit over 100lbs, so you can’t really just pick it up and toss it over the side… wait a minute, perhaps you can? Well, at that point in time, I didn’t think of it, so I proceeded to set up a sling attached to a spare halyard, to hoist the tender over the lifelines and gently lower it into the water… I’m sure you can already imagine the comical ballet that followed!
The process resembled something akin to putting a cat in a bathtub… the tender was all over the place reaching out and grabbing every shroud, stanchion and innocent bystander it could… it was not going to cooperate! Eventually, we not so elegantly, shoved it tail down over the lifelines and into the water… in the end, it worked, but we obviously need to work on our technique.
We loaded up the cooler with water, grabbed our PFDs (personal flotation devices / life vests), a beach towel and headed to the beach. Oh, did I forget to tell you that the instructions on the outboard warn you of death and/or serious bodily injury if you simply clamp it to the stern without drilling holes and attaching it with bolts… who knew and more importantly, where the heck was I going to get a drill now?
So it was row, row, row your boat… about a mile and a quarter to the beach. I must have had the wind and current with me, because when all was said and done, it was actually not as bad as I thought it would be. We dragged our tender ashore and dug our little dinghy anchor deep into the cooling sand and took off towards the East. For the next couple of hours, we had a great time just walking the beach collecting shells and stones for our soon to be “sea shell and stones” collection.
Our little excusion turned into one of those moments where you sit on a bench on a beach and realize that the best things in life truly are free (ok, more or less free). Having enjoyed our time ashore, we got back in our little tender and headed back to Rocinante as she bobbed gently at anchor… “a bit to your right”… “now a bit to your left”… “hold it, hold it”… I zigged and zagged my way back… ok, so my rowing skills need some work as well, bottom line, I got us safely back aboard Rocinante and started to contemplate dinner – definitely hobbits!
The evening called out for linguine with Clam sauce and a nice cool white… down to the cellar I went (figuratively of course) and came up with a nicely chilled Chenin Blanc’… perfect!
This evenings dinner was not exactly one of my best; no fresh garlic and no onions… who the heck was in charge of provisioning?!… oh, wait, that would be me… oh, well. It was nontheless, edible and was made much more enjoyable by the scene that was slowly unfolding before us.
A group of sailboat brethren slowly made their way out of the nearby marina to greet the setting sun. Ghosting along, a solemn, silent procession of sailboat silhouettes against a Cadmium Orange sky – it was spectacular! As the sun finished it’s evening performance, they all slowly pirouetted and disappeared into the darkness around the point.
It truly was a sight to behold!
I finished off the night with a glass of port and a cigar… thoughts of Control Point Solutions going through my head (don’t think so!)
We hung out in the cockpit watching the stars for a bit longer and then called it a night. Needless to say, on this particular night, we slept better than anyone has a right to.
Till next time,
Carlos & Maria