Saturday, September 28, 2013

Creamy chipotle sauce

Yesterday was one of those days.

We looked in the bilge and found that there was quite a bit of water in it. This was a real reminder to us that we need to be more consistent about checking the bilge for water. We know that some water came in when Bryce was doing the engine alignment and then we did some cleaning. I didn't want to clean it out as we are planning to put our paddle wheel back in soon and that would just make it disgusting again and why do a disgusting job twice! So we knew that there should have been some water in the bilge, we just hadn't expected it to be that much and it was right below the level where the electric bilge pump would kick in.  So I set about pumping it manually and in the process the pump handle snapped off. Great... something else to add to the list!
Jack's favourite job on the boat - pumping out the bilge!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Things that make life better!

This post was written for The Monkey's Fist, so head on over and check out what everyone else thinks makes life better when cruising. Check out ours below!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Blog-osphere

There are so many blogs out there in the world wide web and surprisingly, tons of blogs about people living the dream as full-time cruisers! While we have had electricity and internet, I have been catching up on all of the blogs that I follow. I have also been playing with my new (old) toy! It was a combined birthday/christmas present earlier this year but I haven't had a chance to play with it yet. It's so much fun. I'm a very lucky girl! Anyway, it shouldn't shock me anymore that I regularly discover a new (to me) sailing blogs.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mexican Coleslaw

So, Tim ended up spending Saturday night here and he and Bryce finished up the remaining engine mounts and reinstalling the raw water impeller and installing a new Speedseal kit. We owe Tim big time! If you compare the old engine mounts to the new ones, you can see why we needed to replace them!
The impeller in the raw water pump was also on it’s last legs so it was good timing for us to replace that as well.  It had lost 3 of it’s vanes, so it was really a ticking time bomb, because if it stops pumping cooling water, our engine can quickly turn into an extremely heavy paper-weight.

On Sunday afternoon, my Aunt and Uncle came up for a visit. This was momentous for many reasons, particularly for the fact that when I went to pick them up in the dinghy, it was my first solo trip on Dingbat! I was making some quick nachos in the oven while they were here and our gas ran out. We had been using one tank (we have two) for the past three months since we moved on board but really had no gauge as to how long it would last us. Now we know! The problem with this scenario lies in the fact that we assumed, incorrectly, that our second tank was full. Bryce switched over the tanks and nothing happened. Thankfully my Uncle and Aunt saved the day and took us out for a really delicious meal. We are truly related to some awesome people! Thanks to Tim, Sean & Marisol!

Over the next few days, Bryce set about doing the alignment. We had a minor heart attack when Bryce realised that by following how the mounts were installed previously, we had installed them backwards. Turns out not such a huge deal but it was a good reminder to check things for ourselves. We had the mechanic come to check over Bryce’s work and help out with the final steps. It turns out Bryce was pretty close… as if there was ever any doubt!  The proof will be in the pudding when we take her out for a spin.  Fingers and toes are both crossed that the alarming vibrations will have disappeared.

We are now trying to put the boat back together which is proving to be a bit harder than we imagined. We had taken apart the head in order to trial a new holding tank idea. In the process some screws broke off and we can’t figure out how to get them out (stainless steel screw through aluminium frame – aluminium oxidises and locks the thread of the steel screw in place… hmm). The wind has picked up and is helping with our motivation to be out sailing though. We will go back to Brisbane one more time, finish up some odd jobs, do some laundry and will hopefully be on our way within the week. Touch wood!

On Monday (the day after the gas ran out), I was helping Bryce with the engine alignment and somehow it got to be lunchtime before I realised that I needed to go refill the gas tanks. I kept having all of these ideas of easy things I could make for lunch without the stove and then would have to nix them, as they needed the stove.  (I did refill the tanks but not until after lunch). We didn’t have any bread so sandwiches weren’t an option but what we did have was cabbage! As far as I’m concerned cabbage does not get enough credit! My sister-in-law, Mint is from Thailand and in discussing the finer points of coleslaw with her and Bryce’s brother, they said that the best coleslaw they had had was in Thailand and was loaded with coriander (cilantro). I had both so set about to make some “Thai” coleslaw. I chopped up some onion to add and was reminded how I have been craving bean tacos with roughly chopped coriander and onion with a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of salt on top. Yum! Well this whole thought process changed the direction of the coleslaw and I ended up with “Mexican” Coleslaw instead of Thai! Our avocados were not ripe so unfortunately did not get included in the fiesta. But they were ripe enough to include with leftovers the following day though! Delicious! The mayo could even be completely eliminated if you were to mash up the avocado and use it in place of the mayo. While I was making this, I also realised that Monday was September 16, which is Mexican Independence Day. How fitting!

Mexican Coleslaw
  • ¼ - ½ head white cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 bunch of coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 chili, minced
  • 2 cloved garlic, minced
  • 4 tsp mayonnaise (vegan or not, optional)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt, to taste
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in large bowl.
  2. Combine the next 3 ingredients and mix with first 5 ingredients.
  3. Sprinkle with lime juice and salt.
  4. Toss and serve cold. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Crunchy Cabbage Salad

Our engine mounts have arrived! Finally!
This was what all of the fuss was about!
Bryce and Tim have been working all afternoon and have changed one of the mounts and are working on a second. This will certainly give Bryce the confidence to change the remaining mounts with my assistance. This past week we haven’t really gotten much done around the boat and while that goes against all of our to-do lists and productivity quotas that we need to meet (Kidding… kinda), it has been wonderful.

Bryce’s mum is now home from the hospital after her double knee replacement so we have been able to spend some time with her helping her transition to being back home. Last weekend we were able to help out with and have much fun at our nephew, Jack’s, 5th birthday party.
It was a superhero party and Ironman paid a visit.
We then had two days in a row of friends visiting up the boat. We haven’t spent too much time just relaxing on the boat so this was really great! One of the visitors was a one year old and while we love all of this kids that have visited the boat (6 months-7yo), we thought that this was by far the best age yet to have on board! Max can walk but wasn’t able to climb the stairs very easily so we could just shut all the doors and let him hang out! Thanks to everyone who visited and brought us treats! Please come again soon! 

Last week there were a couple of dolphins that made their way up the river and while I was up the mast the other day (we do do some work!), I saw a jellyfish! I have seen jellyfish in aquariums and washed up on beaches but I couldn’t ever remember seeing one in the wild moving as they do like an accordion as they do in wildlife documentaries. Bryce was pretty surprised by how excited I was as growing up he was used to seeing squillions of them. Nevertheless, he obliged and took a photo for me!
If you look closely, you can see it!
I had to go up the mast twice that day and while I was up there the second time, we decided that it was much easier to send the part that needed a quick repair job down in a bag for Bryce to fix rather than have me bring it down and then have to climb back up. This was a great idea until the sun started to set and the wind picked up. Not such a happy camper but I did get to see a beautiful sunset.

Yesterday, Bryce and his brother, Callun, spent the day building us new seats for the cockpit. One of them was rotting and we decided to rebuild both of them, just to be safe. All of the pieces are cut and they just need to be put together and painted. They are one of my favourite perches on the boat so I am looking forward to having them back!
Cozy corner chair (this is one of the old ones)
Backyard workshop

Since we haven’t been at the boat full-time these last few weeks, we defrosted and cleaned out the fridge and have been living with our food in an eskie (cooler). Leafy greens don’t cope very well living in an eskie and this has only served to further my new found fascination with cabbage. I have never cooked with cabbage much before but now my eyes have been opened! I love that I can keep it around and just peel off the leaves that I want, whenever I want and use them to bulk something up or add a little crunch. I have really loved experimenting with it and have had it in dumplings, salads, sandwiches and soups. This salad I love and think I could eat every day! Crunchy, salty, cool & delicious! It’s important not to put the noodles on until the salad is going to be eaten or they will lose some of their crunch. This recipe is loosely inspired by the recipe that comes listed on the back of the package of some Chinese fried noodle packets and by one of my aunts, who makes this salad all the time!

Crunchy Cabbage Salad

½ cabbage, white or red, loosely chopped
1 bunch green onions, roughly sliced
½ c slivered almonds, toasted (can be toasted in a pan on low heat over the stove)
1 package extra-firm tofu, crumbled
1 tbsp rice bran oil (or any other cooking oil)
1 bag Chinese fried noodles

¼ c white vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp brown rice syrup (or agave or honey)

1. Cook the tofu in the rice bran oil at medium-high heat until it gets some colour.
2. Combine all dressing ingredients together.
3. Mix all salad ingredients together, except for Chinese noodles and toss with dressing.
4. Serve chilled with Chinese noodles sprinkled on top & enjoy!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Meet Aquabat

Many people have been waiting very patiently for photos of Aquabat and others not so patiently! I must've been waiting for the magical day when all jobs were done, everything was put away and the boat was "perfect" before I introduced her to the world. I now realise that that is an illusion and that you will all love her just the way she is. So without further ado, meet Aquabat.

Aquabat is a 40 ft Aluminium Adams Naut sailboat and will be the vessel that will carry us around the world (we hope). She has already done one circumnavigation so we hope she remembers the way! We heard from someone that more Adams Naut 40's have circumnavigated than any other type of boat. We don't know if it is true but we like the sound of it! We bought Aquabat from the man who built her from scratch 23 years ago. He named her and since we didn't have another name that we wanted to change it to, we decided to keep it as it's a part of her story.

We have all of the old documents and receipts from when the boat was built and it is quite fun to go through them and see everything onboard itemised and how much cheaper it was 23 years ago! These are some of the notes from the designer about the boat:

"The Naut 40 has a finished deck which gives a clear deck to work on and lots of room to lie about in the sun. The hull of the Naut 40 is of moderate displacement. This allows it to carry with ease the luxurious accomodation plus gear and stores. The keel is a long fin, carrying ballast inside... The rudder is hung on a skeg for strength."

The plans were originally drawn up with fibreglass construction in mind but as I mentioned above Aquabat is actually built from Aluminium.
Vital Stats:
While she is technically 40 ft long, she is actually 43 ft if you include the swim platform & bow sprit. She weighs 11 tons unloaded and a bit under 12 tons loaded.The Keel is 4.5 tons of lead.  She is a cutter rig and we carry 7 sails on board. The mast is 55ft above deck and her draft is 1.9m below the waterline. The hull is aluminium and is 6mm thick below water line and 5mm thick above it. There is a 10mm thick reinforcement running along the bottom of the hull from stem to stern. We have the ability to hold 600 L fresh water, 200L of diesel in our primary fuel tanks plus another 200L in the reserve tank, and 180L of waste in our holding tank. She also has a 40 horsepower Yanmar diesel engine and hydraulic steering.  
Inside Aquabat!
We will still be going through and covering room by room, system by system but these photos give a brief overview of the newest member of the family!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Meaty" Mushroom Pasta Sauce

Too much time blogging, not enough time sailing! Some of you may have noticed that things have moved around a bit on the site. Over the weekend, I did some rearranging. In the process, we have lost some of your comments that were previously posted on various pages. If your comment was one that we lost, please don't take offense and please please please continue to comment! We love hearing from you! Our engine mounts have been shipped so we will hopefully be on our way very shortly!

I am posting this recipe in reverse because in retrospect this is probably the order that I should’ve made it in. It all started with a craving for white lasagna. Creamy, white lasagna is something my mum has always made and while mine didn’t exactly turn out the way I had imagined, it was still pretty delicious. To put it together, I spent hours in my small galley making all the parts when what I probably should’ve done was make the sauce one day and then assemble the lasagna the next. That being said, having the sauce already made meant almost zero effort to make lunch the next day. I will hopefully post the full recipe for the lasagna in the coming days.

I had heard about TVP and had read recipes that called for it but had never actually looked for it, let alone cooked with it until we moved to Honiara a few years ago. Yes, despite all of the things that we couldn’t get there, TVP was readily available at the bulk food shop. I experimented with it a bit but didn’t get much farther than using it in pasta sauce or sausage rolls. The other day I was reading a cruising forum and saw it suggested that TVP was a great, compact form of protein when cruising for vegetarians & non-vegetarians alike, which makes sense. Then I saw it in the shops here and figured I should give it a try again. TVP stands for textured vegetable protein, another one of the really awesome and attractive names that some vegetarian/vegan food has. Just doesn’t really sell it to the non-vegos! It comes dehydrated and is reconstituted in water, broth or any other liquid. It doesn’t have much taste on its own but has a chewy texture and takes on the taste of whatever it is with. In this case it fit in perfectly with the tomato sauce and added another texture and some protein. We had it with gnocchi but it could be had with any type of pasta or would also be delicious on top of polenta. It may seem as though we are having a lot of gnocchi lately and that is because it is delicious! But also because I discovered a flaw in my provisioning technique and so am trying to use everything up so I can start over!

More delicious gnocchi....
“Meaty” Mushroom pasta sauce
  • 1 ½ c TVP, any size
  • ‘beef’ broth (In Australia, Massel is vegan)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green chili, minced
  • 1 tin mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 tins crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a separate bowl, cover TVP with beef broth and let sit until it doubles in size (~15min). It may be necessary to add more broth. Remove from bowl and squeeze to remove excess fluid (I use my hands). Roughly chop and set aside.
  2. Saute onion until translucent (3-5 min). Add chili and garlic, cook for another 1-2 min.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, including TVP. Cook on medium heat until desired consistency is achieved (~30 min).
  4. Serve with pasta (or use in lasagna or on top of polenta) and enjoy!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Where are you?

Well you may not know where we are, but we definitely do! This is by far the question we get asked the most by friends and family.

Lessons Learned

We have found that there are many times when we would have light bulb moments while doing a job and would say "OK, lesson learned!" After noticing a trend of saying that we decided to keep a running list of all the lessons we are learning as we go on this journey.