Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Notes from the galley for next year

Menu suggestions: Memorable meals included: french cut lamb chops, hamburger sliders, sausage risotto, butter chicken and lamb tangine. I appreciated the hotdogs and Kraft Dinner at the end of a long sail day. I didn't pack flour for making roti, and regretted it. Also had an inexplicable craving for a can of baked beans. The best lunches were casual plates of cold veggies, cheese, smoked meats, pickles, devilled eggs & crackers.

Equipment: This year I made the switch from an electric stovetop to induction heat. Only one burner, though, so some things need to be cooked consecutively rather than the same time. The unit was on sale for less than $70 from Canadian Tire. While it can heat up to very high temperatures very quickly, it only heats the cookware and not the whole surface, a real advantage in a small space on a hot day. We tested the pressure cooker and cast iron pan and both were suitable for use. Our butane burner is still on standby for times we have no access to a power source or need a second burner at shore power.

I used the pressure cooker 3 or 4 times, but the 6 quart took up a lot of space, so maybe I will get a smaller one just for the boat. Should've packed: a couple of mason jars for liquid leftovers, 2nd/larger pot; bullet or blender.
butter cellar
Another addition to the galley was the butter cellar, which has been great at keeping the butter soft, spreadable, and fresh. Just don't leave it in the sun! I will keep my eye out for a smaller sized one just for the boat.

Meat: All the meat was vacuum packed in Toronto and kept fine in the ice cooler throughout the entire three week trip. Vacuum packing saved a lot of cooler space because there was no need to worry about ice from the cooler leaking into the seals. I went to McEwans and splurged on the meats, but many butchers can vacuum pack on request. Kaarina recommended this one, closeby. A real bonus is that when the meats are frozen, they do double-duty as ice, at least for a few days.

masala daba
Grains and pulses: I brought a lot of dried beans along on the trip but used absolutely none. I used green lentils a couple of times. Arborio rice, basmati, orzo, pasta, and breakfast cereal were all appreciated.

Spices: I experimented a bit with my tiffin and masala daba to pack tea and spices, but ended up tossing jars and spice tins into one big Tupperware container. The particular container shape works nicely on the galley shelf, but because I couldn't decide which spices to bring, I ended up with an overflow. A bit more editing in the spice department would be good, and maybe smaller jars.

Fruits and veggies: Apples kept very fresh in the hold where we stored the liquor.  Someone mentioned that wrapping a head of lettuce in tinfoil and then storing it beneath water level is a good trick for keeping it fresh. Cucumbers and tomatoes were delicious in snacks, salads and sandwich stuffers and kept well in the cooler. In past years I have brought equipment to grow beansprouts and kept a pot of fresh herbs, which I'd like to do on a more regular basis.

Dehydrated mushrooms and canned veg on hand for when fresh supplies run out. It might be worth stocking some dehydrated meals from Mountain Equipment Co-op to have on hand, as back-up provisions.

Wine and Spirits: Many of the bottles were left untouched. I think for cruising we will stick to a few signature cocktails and leave the full bar at home, which will free up a bit more space to ‘cellar’ fruit and veggies. Nice bottles of wine to bring when invited as guests came in handy. Having different gins on board resulted in a couple of impromptu tastings. Premixed Caesars were perfect on a hot afternoon.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Coming Home

Going five months without a working boat really helped me appreciate this cruising holiday. Things I loved: big skies, swims in the lake, the feel of the wind and the sun on my skin, uncluttered views of the horizon, cloud watching, sail watching, star gazing, shooting stars, drinking ice water & gin cocktails, enjoying the taste of food, doing yoga outdoors, meeting up with friends along the way, spending time with Rob.

It was also fun to keep in touch with everyone via social media. Fellow Bluffers were messaging each other, so I knew how Laura and Peter were adjusting sail plans to wind and weather, when Caroline was setting sail for Waupoos, what Kaarina and Mike were up to on Medina, and where Lyn and Mike were headed. I also posted a lot of photos along the way on Facebook - to the point I probably was annoying some people. Lois was encouraging us to sell the house and take up sailing full-time. 

Just knowing the holidays were coming to an end caused the holiday glow to dim, so I tried to trick myself into thinking we were just embarking on our holiday to sweeten my mood. In the last few days of the trip I found myself bothered by unpleasantries like: smelly dead fish and scummy blue-green algae that prevented swimming in unbearable heat; biting flies; crappy dock assignments. 


past the Deseronto Bridge
Our return trip took us back under the Deseronto bridge into Big Bay on Day 16. I felt the holiday was coming to an end, even though we still had four or five days left. 

When we dropped anchor in Sandy Cove I went for a swim. The water was warm but still refreshing, although there was a bit of a current and lots of waves. Dinner was a simple but delicious risotto, and then we watched The Big Lebowski until the mosquitoes lightened and the stars brightened enough for stargazing. Five shooting stars, a couple with nice long tails.

The next morning, the water calmed, and it was green and weedy as we dinghied over for a walk on the shore. A dead fish was floating belly-up, which turned my swim into a very short dip indeed. We lifted anchor and headed out on Day 17 with hopes to anchor at Cow Pasture if conditions were right, or retreat to the wall of the Murray.

Cow Pasture was too weedy and too shallow, so we tied to a spot on the canal. It was too cloudy for stargazing, so we ended up listening to Moth podcasts. Listening attentively reminded me of how we used to entertain ourselves with rebroadcast tapings of old radio shows, like the Twilight Zone and The Shadow Knows.

Day 18, the sail from the Murray to Cobourg was really wonderful, but we were tacking a lot and the water was rolling. As a result I wasn’t drinking a lot of water, when things get bumpy I avoid the scramble of getting down the stairs into the cabin to visit the head. After a few hours my mood was absolutely toxic. I realized at that point I hadn’t had any water for hours and was stinking and miserable from the sun and heat. When we docked I drank a quart of water, had a cold shower and then had a cocktail, but was still sour. It wasn’t until we went out to dinner in an air conditioned restaurant that I started to feel my core temperature and mood turn normal again. A reminder that fundamentals really are fundamental!

Day 19, we mainly motored back to BPYC due to very light winds. The lake was flat, so I was able to make some macaroni and cheese on the stove while we were underway. Finished a book, Birds Without Wings, on the ten hour trip. We stopped for a swim mid-way which was extremely refreshing. Drank lots of water!

When we landed at Bluffers we anchored at the beach and swam again. Swam over to say hello to Wendy on Zen, and then back to Yondering again. This really is one of the prettiest spots on Lake Ontario!

swimming at the Bluffs

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Storm overnight, and rain, finally. It's been a Stage 3 drought and hard for the farmers and vintners in Prince Edward County.

Day 15, and Rob and I were debating whether to stay, or go, and if we were to go, would it be Stella/Kerr or Picton? We opted for Picton and set out from Waupoos about 9:30, arriving at Prince Edward Yacht Club around 3:30.

Light or no winds meant some motor sailing, and when went through Adolphus Reach, the water was pretty bouncy. I stood on the top deck near the bow and enjoyed the sun and wind as we passed the ferry docks and then turned around the bend.
We grabbed a slip and at the end of the dock there was a tug we were admiring. It turned out to belong to an ex-Bluffer, Brian O, who was more than happy to give a tour of his work in progress. He’d purchased it as a project and was fixing it up. It will be a nice floating cottage when he’s finished. I asked how he’d adjusted from sailing to power boating, and he said he wasn’t sure himself at first how much he would love it, but he does. The boat is more stable when navigating rough waters and offers better protection in nasty weather.

Hot!  Hot!  Hot! The water in this harbour isn't appealing for swimming,  too many w

eeds floating on top. It was very hot and humid, so we thought we'd cool off by visiting the air-conditioned theatre in town. Star Trek was playing.

Before heading out I cooked up a lamb tangine, which made the cabin in the boat even hotter. Things cooled off considerably by the time we came home, and we enjoyed a late supper in the cool night air.

Next morning, rather than walking up the hill to Main street, we took the dinghy down to Bridge street and then walked to chef Michael Hoy's for an outstanding brunch. Eggs Benedict on bap pastry, scrumptious quiche, and the best ever creme brulee.

The previous evening, we'd bumped into someone who was in town for the Music at Port Milford Chamber Music Festival. Their son had gone to the summer school for four weeks and there was to be a concert Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at St. Mary Magdelaine Anglican church. We went to take in the show, and it was very well done. Madrigals, quartets, and orchestra music played by some very gifted kids, 14-18 years old. There was such a wonderful energy in the church, with the kids offering up their best and parents and grandparents revelling. Program included works by Dvorak, Mozart, Borodin, Barber, Haydn, Mendelssohn, 16th century madrigal, U2 and Coldplay. Such concentration and intensity on the young musicians faces.

Now back on the very hot boat, looking forward to the cool of an evening.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Little Bluffs

Day 14 we sailed back into Canadian waters. One tack, 5 hours, 6+ knots. The best sail of the trip so far!

We had to secure our lines before customs would clear us, so back to Waupoos marina. Bush Goat, aka Medina, wasn't to be seen but responded to our texts from Little Bluffs.

I thought Little Bluffs was the nickname Bluffers Park sailors had given this Prince Edward County anchorage, but it is a place on the map, just around the corner from Half Moon Bay. We've never stayed here before, and what a gorgeous spot. Deep water, rocky shore, high cliffs.

Once we arrived, I jumped in the water to cool down. Dinner was tasty and quick: barbecued lamb chops, couscous, and cucumber salad. Then over to Medina, where Rob, Mike and I sat in the dinghies and stared up into the brilliant night sky. Perseids is forecast to be at its peak between August 11 -13, but I kept my eyes heavenward and saw seven shooting stars in half an hour.

Slept soundly and woke to a beautiful sunrise. Later we dinghied to shore and explored the rocky cliffs. Medina left late morning but we stayed, enjoying the sway of the hook until late afternoon.

Strong winds forecast, so back to Waupoos for the evening. It was sweltering, oppressively hot but I started to feel a bit better after the sun went down and breezes blew. A cold shower before I went to bed helped, too.