Sailing away from it all, part 1 of 2

As some of you know, we just got back from a “sail away” vacation. It is very similar to going off in an RV and a little like camping. Only wetter. (unless you are camping in the rain, then it’s actually dryer on the boat.)

Our home away from home

It may  be hard to imagine from this picture that down inside, there can be up to 6 people sleeping, a kitchen (galley), a bathroom (the head)…Okay, I had to stop laughing. It’s hard to call that thing a bathroom. More like a coffin on end with a toilet in it. Oh there is also a window, sink and curtains for a shower, medicine cabinet,  mirror, towels. But so so tiny. I suppose that is a good thing. If the boat is rolling and lollygagging around, you don’t need more room to fall over. There is no way in this little closet you can fall. You have the 4 walls close all around you. If you fell, you would just land sitting on the toilet again. Then, after you tinkle, you push this little plunger up and down a few times to pump water into it and voila! You have now flushed the nautical toidy!

Like in a trailer, they manage to fit what you need in there, but its amazing.

And lets not forget the watermelon…

Doesn’t everyone carry a watermelon in the head?

Sorry for the blurry picture. I could blame it on a rogue wave. Or it might have been just my hurry to get out of there. We carried this dang melon on the whole trip, waiting to eat it. It sat for a while in the sink, but people needed to use it to wash up. (to wash hands, step 1. remove watermelon from sink. Step 2, find soap.Step 3, give up)  For a while Mr. Melon was cozy on the bench seat…

“Why, hello Ms. Pillow, what lovely buttons you have. Mind if I sit a little close?”

But it was getting too fresh, so it ended up in the sink again, then on the floor. To tell you the truth, we lugged it home and it is still in the kitchen. I think we are all afraid at this point to cut it open. Either it has become a member of the family or we are afraid of how mushy it is going to be inside. We don’t want to witness its watery red guts spilling out all over the counter. Euww.

Anyway, traveling like this on a boat is fun and challenging at the same time, as is anything worth doing.

Did any of you see the Lucy/Desi picture “The Long, Long Trailer?” Remember how Lucy wanted to collect rocks everywhere they went, but instead of collecting nice little portable rocks, she would pick up small boulders and stash them all over the trailer? If you haven’t seen it, rent it. It’s a must. So is there other flick, “Forever Darling” where Desi works for a chemical company inventing new ways to kill off insects while Lucy (named something else I can’t remember) is home with Mrs. Howell from Gilligans island telling her how she should move up in the world. They only had 1 maid, poor things. (the woman from Beverly Hillbillies, Jane Hathaway). That is a funny one too.

Okay, where was I?

Oh yeah. Well, in the Long, long trailer, Lucy decides she is going to make a lovely gourmet dinner for Desi and to save time, she will cook it while he drives them to their next stop?

Do you see where this is going?

Cooking while driving?

Yes, it was an hysterical Lucy moment.

Cooking on board a boat any smaller than a cruise ship is very similar to cooking while driving. If you are moored or anchored in a protected harbor, conditions would be similar to cooking in a trailer while driving down a fairly straight road. There would be a gentle rolling rocking motion with moments of stillness. Not too bad, until you try it.

See our hand made fruit and veggie hammock? A crew member made it while underway for over 2 weeks going to Hawaii with skipper once.

Cooking on board while underway, even in calm flat conditions (“Oh honey, see how flat the channel is? This is perfect!” he says while I grab the railing to keep from falling off the cockpit seat) is like being in a 3 stooges movie, only you are all 3 stooges at once. Lets add to this that the 2nd day out the double kitchen sink (with hot water, if the motor has been running) decided to clog up. So now I had to do dishes with pans of hot water or large bowls. Sort of like camping again.

Okay, so I didn’t really try cooking per say while underway. As we were motoring home I was trying to put together some lunch type munchies. Sliced salami, crackers, cheeses, bread, chips, easy stuff. No problem.

Just brace one foot against the cabinet behind you while hooking a knee to  the side of a drawer for balance. Now neatly stack up your supplies on the stove top, deftly grabbing them as they try to slide off. Weld your knife very carefully!  And remember that there is a first aid kit in the head. Slice up the salami, placing it on a plate you just pulled out of the drawer next to your knee and set on the counter. Add some Triscuits, the garlic kind (yum) to one side, munching on a few first. Throw out the trash in a bag hanging next to your hip, putting the knife in the sink still holding some scummy water that wont drain. While still bracing yourself, hand the plate up through the hatch. Someone will be there to grab it. Now start on a cheese plate. No worries there.

Not just anyone can serve lunch on Alfa Romeo picnic ware

Once we decided to motor off to a private cove for the day. It was lovely. Remote, lots of pretty rocks and good fishing spots.

we dingied around the cove, our own private beach at Little Gibraltar.

But the rocking! It was like being inside a giant metronome! While I was on shore I could see the boat heaving back and forth, the mast keeping time. Try making lunch in those conditions! I needed to clean up from breakfast still. Now what was I going to do?

When I got back in, with hands there to grab me in case I fell, it felt like a nonstop Disney ride. I got even more nervous when I saw the fruit hammock swaying violently to and fro in the galley. There was a pan full of soapy water I needed to take to the head and pour down the sink. Remember, the galley sink was plugged. I suppose I could have just dumped it into the ocean. But something about it just made me cringe. Dirty, soapy water in that beautiful ocean?

So I carefully lifted the pan and made my way out of the galley while being thrown left, right, left, right,  around through the dining/living/sleeping area. Yikes, hold pan while grabbing handhold and bracing hip against table. Wow, cans of food came crashing off the shelves. Dodge the chili, keep going, there is the head! I let go of the handhold and swiftly grab the door handle. Yanked it open and jumped over the rolling watermelon that just leaped out under foot. Splashed dirty soapy water down the front of me. Tried pouring the rest down the drain just as boat took a ‘heave-ho’ and most of it went on the counter top and my shoes. By now I am laughing at the ludicrousness of this whole thing. One has to maintain ones sense of humor in all this or one might find herself trying to burn the boat down. Or breaking a watermelon over the skippers head.

But when the seas are calm and Posiden has smiled upon your little vessel, cooking is really not too hard. We had quesadillas for one lunch…

Black beans on the right. Buttered tortillas on the left frying. Filled with precooked chicken, cheese n beans.

Another time I used the precooked bacon I brought to make the egg/potato scramble we love. I threw in onions and cheese, then buttered and fried some good bread, since we didn’t have a toaster. Frying the toast in the skillet makes it look almost gourmet, I don’t know why.

Sailing builds appetites!

I had also made some crumb cake for quick breakfast food, homemade rolls to have with dinners. Precook whenever possible. It doesn’t have to be processed prepackaged, although sometimes that helps.

We were at Two Harbors most of the time, which is small and quaint with a little store that surprisingly  has everything you really need. Like more ice. The boat has an ice box and if we have it fixed, has a refrigeration unit. Then we brought 2 ice chests that we stored under the table. (the same table that makes into a large bed, the “princess” bed. For me or a guest princess).

When we went on shore, we saw lots of people with boat doggies! Cute doggies everywhere. As it turns out, we had just missed a dog contest they were having. Best kisser (?), best dressed, etc.

We took the red dingy to shore several times a day, tying up to the dock with lots of other little and big dingies.  That was always an adventure.

A parking lot for little boats. On weeknights you might not even find a place to park, kind of like parking at the mall on Christmas Eve. So we would bellie up to the dock, reach over and push other dingies to the side, squeezing into a spot. They were all made of rubber and would just bounce off each other, like bumper cars. We would get one of the boys to leap up onto the dock and tie us up. Then, with careful balancing, we would each try to step up on the dock. If we were lucky, we might only look like a giraffe climbing out of a ravine. We might maintain a little dignity. Usually though, and especially if the boys weren’t with us to lend a hand, we would end up crawling onto the dock on all fours, along with all the other of-a-certain-age crowd. Grasping the dock, trying to keep our balance while pulling our rickety bones out of the swiveling bouncing dingy. Forget dignity at this point. Just let me out of the dang boat! My feet are wet and so is my bum. Gasping and grunting we might finally get up, heave a sigh, straighten our hats and sunglasses and proceed down the docks as if nothing had happened. We would all avert our eyes as others did the same, but secretly watch out of the corners to see if they had as much trouble as we did. Seeing if they got their knees all wet or splinters in their hands.

Did I tell you about the time I couldn’t get the dingy motor started from the dock and had to row to the darn thing? When was the last time you rowed a boat? Yeah, me neither. But I didn’t have much choice and tried to look as if I preferred to row. Smile plastered on my face, trying to maintain some sense of grace. How hard could this be? I was just getting the hang of it (and mind you we were only moored about 20 yards off the dock so I didn’t have far to go) when my knights in shining armor showed up, one son had gotten a lift in someone elses dingy, the younger had jumped ship and swam to my side. My angels! Between them, they got me back to the boat in a second. After that they would row around, just for the fun of it. (Lets face it, there is a lot of down time while docked in a harbor. I was probably the entertainment of the moment. “Hey, come watch this lady row herself in circles. Whatdoya wanna bet she ends up washing ashore?” “No, no, falling overboard!”)

Well, this is way too long already. I will write more about the trip, if you are interested, later.

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