Posted on: December 30, 2016 Posted by: Cole Ruth Comments: 0

Even before our departure we knew that the winds were projected to change on Friday and bear down from the north. North, as all you who live up there can testify, means cold. This also promised to shake up the seas to between 6-9 feet with winds between 15-30 knots. We decided we would sit this one out. We’d made good time so far, and spending a day in port would enable us to get some extra sleep. I could also get some work in, not to mention catch up on my blog posts.

We just had to be in Miami by January 1st at around 6 pm. Why, you might ask? I don’t think I have actually mentioned this yet, but we are sailing to the Bahamas with another couple. This tiny space that most people can’t imagine as home to two is about to hold four.

Greg used his free day to practice his sextant.

A few months back when I mentioned to my best friend from college that we would be going sailing somewhere this winter, she said she and her husband would love to join us. At least that’s how I remember it going down. I mentioned it to Greg and he was keen on the idea, so we started with some Skype introductions (Greg has never met this couple in person) and, next thing we knew, they were in the mix.

This has naturally had an impact on much of our planning, starting with our departure. It’s another reason Pepé’s accident did not hold us back. We had four days to get to Miami, and while it could be done in three, we left one day for engine problems or, in case of days like today.

It has also impacted things like storage and meal planning. The boat had to be set up to sleep four, so Greg sewed a privacy curtain that you can pull around the berth in the main cabin, and one to close off our V-berth. Keep in mind that our boat only has one cabin – unless you count the head. The head (aka., bathroom) is the only place on the boat you can go into and close an actual door.

Boat art: prints from a 19th century book about marine life.

“It’s small!” I told them on our first Skype call.

“Oh, we live in a yurt. We live in tents for weeks. We can do small,” they told us.

We shall see. Actually, Greg, who knows me pretty well by this point, saw right through me. It wasn’t them I was really worried about. I’m the kind of person who almost always says, “the more, the merrier.” Want to bring an extra person or three to my house for dinner? No problem. But I can also easily feel hemmed in and become almost canine about protecting my space. I’m a writer, after all – and writers need a certain degree of privacy, right?

So early on I gave myself permission to take time away from the group. If I need to, we’ll stop off somewhere and I’ll get a bungalow or a hotel room. This might even be necessary for me to work if I get a substantial assignment. The main thing is, lack of space is not going to get in the way of us all having a great time.

They are also bringing inflatable “pack rafts” and we have two kayaks, and a tent, so some configuration of us might go off on a little overnight expedition. Though beyond the idea of this, we have no set plans.

When it comes to food, we had to pack twice as much. I planned more than half the meals for the month and asked them to plan a similar number so I wouldn’t get stuck making every meal and so they could prepare some of their favorite foods.

A medical chart holder became our game rack – and hides a water stain from a now sealed) leak at the mast. Greg sewed the little bags out of extra sunbrella cloth that he used to make a grill cover and new winch covers.

Today I gave my sister Lindsay a video tour of the boat, with in-depth descriptions of what lies behind each bulkhead and even in the bilge. One compartment contains only nuts. We have a whole basket dedicated to dried fruit. Another compartment has grains and one whole side of the boat is filled with canned goods. As on my tall ships, I have stowed all our eggs below the floor (called a “sole” on a boat) – about 50+ of them from a local goat farm that also keeps chickens. I have special plastic egg cartons, but had to leave them at home because these eggs were too large to fit in them!

I also pickled almost two dozen eggs, since this is a perfect protein with a long-term storage capacity. Beside the pickled eggs I’ve packed a quart of our favorite ancho chili relish, a 2-quart container of pickled red onions, some homemade ketchup (because my friend can’t have MSG, which is in most main-brand ketchup, believe it or not) – and it was about here in my tour that my sister stopped me.

“Is this normal?” she asked.

I thought for a minute. Well, yeah, storing eggs in the bilge is normal. Bringing a lot of eggs and canned goods, that’s normal too. But I don’t know and haven’t read about many sailors or cruisers who have prepped so much in advance. I’ve pickled ginger and green onions, three-bean salad and I made a large batch of pork rillettes. I don’t know many people who do that period.

I think many sailors do like in the blog I referenced the other day where the couple brought 48 bottles of wine. They also brought “26 cans of coconut milk”… I think we have 8, and each one is accounted for in our schedule of meals. There simply was no room for over-packing. Every cabinet is filled to the brim.

So no, this isn’t normal. But tonight, as we ate fish from our freezer that had nicely defrosted over the past few days, pan-fried in breadcrumbs and stuffed into tortillas with a freshly made cabbage slaw, ancho chili salsa and pickled red onions, the reason for all that work was obvious. We may be four adults stuffed into a floating sardine can, but we will be in paradise – and we shall eat like kings and queens.

MEAL PLAN
Date Breakfasts Lunches Dinners
2 Yoghurt, granola, berries Feta and couscous salad with romaine, candied walnuts, pomegranate, pickled beets and radishes, balsamic glaze Oxtail ragu with ricotta, parm
3 Yoghurt, granola, berries Fattoush + muhammara Greek lemon soup with orzo and arugula
4 Cream cheese, salmon, sprouts, crescent rolls Banh mi with rillettes, pickles, cukes, green onions, cilantro, sauce Bibimbap w/spinach, sriacha, egg, kimchi
5 Biscuits, tomato, Canadian bacon, eggs Tuna/salmon salad roll-ups w/ sprouts or greens Spinach paneer w/ rice, pappadum and mango chutney
6 Apple-jack two ways (w/ eggs & fresh apples early, or dried apples & no eggs later; syrup, PB, or jam on side) Salmon “ceviche” w/ corn chips Carmelized onion pizza with prosciutto & arugula
7 Toad-in-a-hole (skillet toast with jam, and egg fried in middle) Tomato soup & grilled cheese Indian tomato soup w/ basmati rice and chapatis
8 Breakfast quesadillas (w/ pepper-jack and bacon) Marinated garbanzo salad w/ feta and quinoa Sushi rolls w/ canned salmon and fixings
9 Steel Cut Oats w/ raisins, nuts, and maple syrup; or blueberry lemon–x3 Couscous tabouleh (salmon optional) w/ flatbread and tahini dipping sauce Miso bowls w/ rice noodles, sesame seeds, scallions etc (good w/ fish if we had it)
10 Ricotta, fig breakfast pizza with honey Muffeletta sandwiches with mortadella and provolone with giardiniera salad Breaded fish sandwich with slaw and tartar sauce
11 Oatmeal with fresh fruit alt. dried fruit Fish tacos, slaw, black bean salad Corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, mustard
12 Ginger oatmeal with plums Roasted curried cauliflower & Israeli couscous salad Our favorite black beans & rice
13 Dutch baby with apple compote Nachos, chorizo, pickled jalapeños, cheese, black beans Red lentil dal with chutney and chapatis
14 Milk & granola Sushi bowls Biscuits & sausage gravy
15 Chorizo grits with eggs 3 salads: 3-bean; carrot; German potato Polenta w/ mushroom red sauce
16 Corned beef hash, eggs Kimchi pancakes , sprouts, radishes Lemony pasta (rice spirals) with garlic, olive oil, capers and greens prn
17 Steel Cut Oats w/ raisins, nuts, and maple syrup; or blueberry lemon–x3 Pasta salad with olives, sun-dried tomatoes and veggies Coconut curry garbanzos w/ brown rice and veggies or seafood
18 Black rice pudding w/ coconut milk School lunch–PBJs with ants on a log and sliced apples with honey Red lentil dal with chutney and chapatis
19 Apple-jack two ways (w/ eggs & fresh apples early, or dried apples & no eggs later; syrup, PB, or jam on side) Left-overs burritos (after beans & rice nights) Our favorite black beans & rice
20 Blueberry pancakes w/ maple syrup chicken salad / or egg salad with crackers or bread or tortillas or rice cakes with pineapple salsa Lemony pasta (rice spirals) with garlic, olive oil, capers and greens
21 Spicy polenta grits w/ bacon bits or sausage Pasta salad with olives, sun-dried tomatoes and freshies Moroccan couscous
22 Yogurt parfait with granola, or jam & nuts/seeds School lunch–PBJs with ants on a log and sliced apples with honey Ramen with egg, rillettes, bamboo shoots, mustard greens, sweet potato
23 Blueberry pancakes w/ maple syrup Fish dip, pickles, crackers Vegetarian chili topped with cheese, jalapeños
24 Steel Cut Oats w/ raisins, nuts, and maple syrup; or blueberry lemon–x3 Sesame soba noodles w/ ginger cabbage slaw Khao soi with egg noodles, sprouts, bamboo shoots, pickled mustard greens + grilled fish
25 Cardamom buns and fruit salad Quesadillas with black beans and ancho chili relish Thai Choo-chee fish curry w/ rice
26 Cheese grits and maybe we can avocado? Alt. fresh fruit salad, whatever we can find. Panzanella w/ olives, artichokes, roasted red bell peppers, parm Butternut squash pasta with bacon and rosemary and parm (+egg)
27 Pancakes and syrup & peanut butter Brats, kraut, chilli con carne, cheese Paella with fresh fish/lobster
28 Milk & granola (more like an emergency breakfast when we need to get underway and there’s no time to cook) Nori hand-rolls, fish, carrot, sesame, cukes, miso? + caviar (!) Singapore chili lobster + baguettes
29 Rice porridge Rillettes, crackers, tapenade, pickles, cheese, brie w/ fig chutney Andouille sausage, rice and beans w/ plantain chips
30 Roti canai w/ bananas if we can find them! Poke bowl w/ sushi rice, carrots, ginger, pickled jalapeños Grilled lobster, spoonbread and roasted red potatoes