Posts Tagged ‘yachting’

A Warm Welcome to the Marquesas

IMG 4569 300x225 A Warm Welcome to the Marquesas The tantalizing aroma of tropical wood, sweet flowers, rich earth… land came wafting over the waves.  The fragrance drew us in, filling our nostrils; more pungent the closer we got.  It smelled like paradise.  It is amazing how being away from land and all its smells heightens your senses, and 27 days at sea our noses were starved for the smell of growing things.

That morning sailing into the Marquesas the scent was incredible.  I am sure that some of it must have been missing the smells of land, but nothing could parallel that fragrance… if I could make a perfume to rival that smell I would make millions.

When the sharp green cliffs jutting sharply out of the deep blue ocean finally came into view I nearly wept.  The French Polynesian islands were stunning.  Gauguin hadn’t done it justice.


IMG 4576 300x225 A Warm Welcome to the Marquesas As we jubilantly sailed into Hiva Oa harbor, marveling at the stunning landscape more than ready to check in and disembark.  The harbor had 6 or 7 other boats in it and was well-protected by the steep slopes that rose sharply to three sides.

With sinking hearts we realized that it was a Sunday.  We couldn’t check in.  We couldn’t leave the boat, and even if we wanted to, not that it mattered because nothing was open.  But after almost a month at sea I was a little stir crazy.

As soon as we anchored Sato San and Toshi San helped me put the paddleboard in the water and I went for a little excursion.  I paddled up to a few boats anchored near us and said hi, and then I saw it.


IMG 4607 300x225 A Warm Welcome to the Marquesas A little black pony standing in the surf!  I paddle boarded faster, determined to make it to the beach.  I wasn’t *supposed* to go to shore before we were checked in, but it was a pony. Surely there were exceptions in those cases, right?

I paddled to shore, and a bit before I got there, a young man joined the pony and started washing him in the surf.  I hesitated a moment, but paddled into shore.

“Bonjour!” I called using almost the extent of my abominable French. I did take two years of French at University.  Unfortunately now my French is on par with my woefully lacking Japanese.  My Marquesan is even worse.

The pony’s owner, James, was a tall Marquesan around 15 and though his English was worse than my French he let me pet his pony and invited me for a ride.  Large for a pony, the sleek black horse was about 14 hands, just short enough that I could get on without a mounting block even from a rocky beach.

IMG 4618 300x224 A Warm Welcome to the Marquesas He led me along the beach with a rope around the sleek black pony’s neck and then somehow asked if I knew how to ride.  When I told him that I did, he adroitly fashioned a rope bridle for my steed and gave me the reigns.

I took the little mount for a little trot up a hill through lush vegetation and into a little meadow at the top.  I hadn’t ridden in a while and am not used to riding bareback in the first place so I slowed his jouncy little trot to something I would be sure not to get shaken off.  He was a willing mount, well cared-for, and I was delighted to be on a horse again.

I was glowing when I made it back to Umineko.  This was unquestionably the best welcome I had had to any country.

Unfortunately, the options for dinner or food had narrowed significantly.  On the up side quarantine wouldn’t be able to take any vegetables from us.  On the down side, we were all but out of fresh food.  I had used the last of our potatoes in a curry a few days earlier. The difficulty for provisioning for a long passage… you don’t want to get too much food because in many countries customs confiscates fresh food and meats.

I’d done pretty well, but we had a modest dinner of pasta with Japanese seasoning packets.  Each one comes with 2-3 individual servings and usually dried seaweed or some dried seasoning to stir in.  In Japan these individual seasoning packets for pasta are common.  They are incredibly easy too, just make the pasta and each person sprinkles whatever packet they want over their pasta.  They are perfect for sailing especially if you have crew members with individual preferences.

IMG 4595 300x225 A Warm Welcome to the Marquesas Some people like to get huge economy-sized pasta sauce or other provisions, but I find that often I won’t use all of the sauce up before it starts to go off so I really do like the individual packet approach, at least for some things.  There are a ton of flavors and this way each person can have whatever flavor of pasta they want.  No mixing in eggs, milk, heating pasta sauce, sautéing onions and garlic to make it tastier.  No muss, no fuss.  Not the most healthy food but a real lifesaver when you don’t have a lot of provisions.

We would have to wait until Monday to get some fresh veggies, fish, and other provisions.  And French baguettes… I couldn’t wait for the baguettes…


Riverboat Rose Scones

DSCN9116 300x225 Riverboat Rose SconesMotoring into Fort Lauderdale, there is a sign boasting that the city is the yachting capitol of the world.  It is a different world: mansions with megayachts moored in front of them line the ICW.  Down each of the side streets it seems as if there are boats moored in front of every home regardless of size.  Even the local Episcopal church has a message to yachties on their sign.  Boats are the standard rather than the exception.


Unfortunately, transient spots (places for traveling boats) for catamarans were somewhat limited.  Especially the week after the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show.  After calling numerous marinas, I had reserved a place in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, at the downtown city docks.  The dockmaster, Matt, had been extremely helpful and knew boats.

DSCN9123 300x225 Riverboat Rose SconesIn other words he realized our timing was weather-dependent and didn’t try to pin us down to exact dates.  He even knew how to spell the word catamaran, which is more than I can say for some marina workers.  (“catamaran… is that spelled with a “C” or a “K”?”)

The city docks are right next to the prison.  Sure it sounds sketchy, Matt told us, but it’s actually an incredibly safe place to be.  The prisoners get out and no way do they want to go back.  Not to mention that there is excellent security in the area.

We motored into downtown Fort Lauderdale snacking on the Riverboat Strawberry Rose Scones I had made for brunch that Sunday morning.  I adore rose water.  The delicate flavor adds a richness and vibrancy to almost any dessert you  add it to.   I am a firm believer that rose water should take its rightful place beside vanilla and almond extract in the pantry.

DSCN9127 300x225 Riverboat Rose SconesI first started cooking with it in baklava and I couldn’t get enough, unfortunately at the gourmet food shops you can find rose water (as well as orange flower water another of my loves), but a tiny bottle can be as much as $12-15.

Then I discovered Mediterranean and Indian groceries.  A bottle 5 times larger costs a quarter the price.  Thankfully rose water is beginning to make its way into regular groceries, but you can always find it in Indian or Mediterranean shops, as well as some Asian groceries.

Strawberry, rose water, and just a hint of lime combine to make a delectable tender scone.  A delightful and easy snack to piece on motoring along the ICW, or just on a lazy Sunday at home.

Riverboat Strawberry Rose Scones

Ingredients:DSCN9105 300x225 Riverboat Rose Scones

  • 3 c flour
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 T baking powder
  • ¼ t salt
  • ½ butter, melted
  • ½ c sugar
  • ¾ c milk
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 T rose water
  • ¾ c strawberries, sliced


  • DSCN9114 300x225 Riverboat Rose SconesPreheat oven to 375◦ F (190◦ C)
  • Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl and make a well in the center
  • Pour butter, milk, lime juice , and rose water into well
  • Mix  slightly (there should still be lumps)
  • Gently mix in strawberries
  • Spoon large dollops onto flour-dusted tin foil
  • Bake 10-12 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges

DSCN9128 300x225 Riverboat Rose Scones

Sailing Seafood Gumbo

lift bridge 1024x768 Sailing Seafood Gumbo

When I’m in a new place I like to sample the local delicacies.  For me trying new foods is half the fun of travel.  What do they eat in this part of the world? How does the food reflect the culture?

One fabulous thing about sailing is that you have your galley with you so you can learn how to make the local foods you like, or at least your rendition of them.  Freshly locally-grown produce and spices are always better than something shipped in from halfway around the world anyway.  So take advantage of the opportunity.  What better than adding new spices to your cupboard, bringing different flavors into your life, and expanding your culinary horizons?

Umineko was in Charleston, South Carolina.  Sailing in I knew nothing about the Southern City, other than that there was a dance named after it.  I quickly discovered Charleston was known for being a foodie’s town – the unsung culinary capital of the South.  Not to mention being a being a beautiful place resplendent in southern charms.  Street vendors sold boiled (pronounced balled) or deep-fried peanuts in front of elaborately-decorated southern mansions. The clip-clop of horse hooves from the numerous horse-drawn carriages gave the “low country” South Carolina city a special feel.

After eating at Husk, a restaurant lauded by the NY Times, I understood what everyone was talking about.  I needed to pick up some Cajun seasoning and try my hand at making gumbo.  After all, we had just bought some fresh shrimp from fisherman in Georgetown.  What better way to use them?

At Marion Place farmer’s market, Charleston’s Saturday market, a delightful woman was running the Charleston Spice Company booth gave me some gumbo-making tips.  For gumbo I clearly needed Cajun seasoning.  She recommended her smoky Cajun seasoning and I was all for it.

She didn’t have a recipe because she didn’t make it, but her husband made the best gumbo she had ever tasted.  Several years earlier she had put a few teaspoons of sassafras filé in the gumbo at the end. That was the missing ingredient.  The gumbo was perfection.  The filé helped thicken the gumbo and added a hint of flavor to the delicious mélange… that extra something she told me.

That afternoon I went back to Umineko to prepare the gumbo.  I may not have made it before, but I had tasted a few gumbos in my life.  Playing it by ear, and mixing in what we had on board a delectable seafood gumbo came into existence.

Now technically gumbo, like most stews, is better the following day.  I did let it sit for several hours (and it was better the next day), but we sated ourselves on gumbo and rice that evening.

Sailing Seafood Gumbo


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 can green beans, drained
  • 2 Tablespoon Veg. oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 6 oz can Tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 T Smoky Cajun seasoning
  • 1 t 7 chili seasoning
  • 1 T Vegeta, vegetable soup stock powder (or bouillon cube)
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1 c small scallops
  • 3 Cup Water
  • 1 c cooked rice
  • 2 t ground sassafras filé (to thicken it up and give it that special extra flavor)


  • Sautee onions, garlic, and green pepper in oil
  • Add tomatoes
  • Stir in flour and mix well.
  • Add spices, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce cover, and simmer for 30-45 minutes on med-low heat
  • Remove bay leaf
  • Add green beans, cooked rice, and seafood, cover, and cook 10 minutes
  • Stir in sassafras filé
  • Serve in soup bowls with cornbread on the side or over rice
  • DSCN8884 1024x768 Sailing Seafood Gumbo

Regatta Rose Almond Cookies

DSCN8899 1024x768 Regatta Rose Almond Cookies

Yachting puts things in perspective.  All along the Erie Canal people marveled on Umineko, a 43’ catamaran’s size.  She was enormous.   In places it was difficult to find places to moor, we couldn’t take the Chamblee canal because we were too wide!  A big fish in a small pond.

As we sailed into Charleston, Charleston City Marina informed us over the VHF radio that we would have to stay on their megadock.  Another boat was staying in slip they had Umineko scheduled to moor in.  Docking at the megadock was a reality check.  We were dwarfed; by far the smallest boat on the pier.

But even the goliath power boats lining the pier looked tiny next to Rising Sun, the world’s 3rd largest private vessel.  Why anyone would need a private yacht the size of a city block that employed a 45-person crew is beyond me but apparently David Geffin likes his toys.

Still, even a yacht that size, even the largest tanker, the most massive ocean liner is minuscule in the middle of the ocean.  Perhaps that’s why they stay at the dock so much of the time.

But more than simply the home of “the megadock,” Charleston is a culinary epicenter, or at least that’s what every resident and visitor told me.  And being in a food-loving city I felt like I needed to step up to the challenge and bake some unique cookies.

I adore rosewater and have since I first tasted baklava.  I feel like it isn’t used nearly enough in cooking and I wanted to incorporate it into more of mine.  The last time I was in an Indian grocery I picked up a bottle and had been waiting to use it.  This was the perfect opportunity.

These shortbread-like cookies melt in your mouth.  The delicate rose taste gives them an almost an angelic flavor.  The meaty texture and flavor of the whole almond in the center of the cookie rounds the dessert out nicely.

DSCN8894 1024x768 Regatta Rose Almond Cookies

Rosewater Almond Cookies


  • 1 c butter
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 ½ c flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T rose water
  • Whole almonds


  • Preheat oven to 350◦ F (170◦ C)
  • Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract
  • Mix in flour and salt
  • Form into walnut-sized balls
  • Press gently to flatten the ball slightly
  • Push almond into center
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until just a touch of golden-brown appears around the sides of the cookies
  • Allow to cool 20 minutes



Top 10 Ways to Keep Bugs Off of Your Boat

DSCN8771 1024x768 Top 10 Ways to Keep Bugs Off of Your Boat

Bugs.  Insects, creepy crawlies.  They’re everywhere.   And especially in the warm climates… the ideal climates for cruising.  We may be on boats but at port or on the water bugs have their insidious tricks to make their icky way on board.

Insects like to eat the same sorts of things we do.  Luckily we can get the upper hand in keeping them away.  Without poisoning ourselves in the process.

These  are 10 easy tips to naturally keep bugs off of your boat, away of your pantry, and out of your life (at least for the most part).

  1. Keep it Clean –  It may seem obvious, but cleanliness really is next to godliness on a boat.  Especially in the tropics those crumbs left on the table or the countertop are like beacons signaling every flying, crawling, and creeping insect within 100 miles.  Umineko has a crumb brush for the table and countertops, and another for the floor.

If you spill something immediately wipe it up.  I try to wipe down the stovetop and                  the counters after cooking.  Once a week I like to do a serious galley cleaning.

        2. Vinegar –  Fruit flies are a pain.  They seem to materialize out of nowhere and in a                   matter of minutes they’ve called all their buddies.  It is even worse when you are                       trying to extend the life of your produce until the last breath.

The trick to ridding yourself of these insidious insects is simple, nontoxic to you,                     and lethal to the dreadful little monsters.  Just put out small bowls of your basic                       apple cider vinegar and add a few drops of dish soap.  Not only is the dish soap                           poisonous but it breaks the vinegar’s surface tension.  The little pests think they can               alight on the surface only to drown.

You only need a drop or two of dish soap in ½ cup apple vinegar and a few shallow                   bowls or plastic containers strategically placed around the boat.

3. Cardboard So many things come in cardboard, from boating supplies to beer.   But               keep cardboard off your yacht at all costs.  Cockroaches lay their eggs in cardboard                 and just bringing the boxes onboard can get the dreadful creatures on your boat.                     Leaving them on the boat is even worse.

Play it safe by preventing infestation.  Once the loathsome pests are on board                             holding them at bay is certainly possible but irradiating them is a nightmare.  Don’t                 take any chances.  Unload your cardboard on the dock and leave it there.

        4. Freezing:  Depending on how much extra freezer space you have you should try to                freeze flour/rice/grains 24-hours as a cautionary measure.  A sort of just in case.

if you need to rescue stores and aren’t prepared to just throw infested ingredients                    overboard, simply freeze infested supplies for 2-3 days and the dreadful little pests                 will die.

Heating to 140◦ F in oven for an hour also kills the insects, unfortunately heating                       grains can turn rice into puffed rice, change the flavor of flour, etc.   My advice is to                stick with freezing .  If you don’t want to just throw them overboard that is.

      5. Oldest First:  Use up your oldest stores first and make sure not to open a new                          package when there is already one open.  Organizing the pantry of one boat I crewed              on, I found 5 boxes of half-used spaghetti!  Surprise surprise, several had bugs in                      them.  The packages went overboard and I made sure to consolidate the open                            packages into one Ziploc bag.

At sea it can be difficult to keep track of what you have opened.  Try and move the                    open items to the front of the shelves or have a special air-tight container for open                  food stuffs.

      6. Essential Oils: You think we hate bugs?  Plants like them less than we do.  After all                keeping bugs away can be a life or death matter for the plant.  Because of this a                            number of species have developed odors that repel insects.

 Lucky for us many of these strong scents are wonderful for us.  If you really want to                 get serious about natural bug prevention pick up the ultra-condensed version of the               plant scents: essential oils.  Mint and citrus work extremely well.  Simply paint a line              of mint essential oil around your pantry.  It will prevent infiltration and has the                        added benefit of making your shelves smell lovely.


DSCN8878 300x225 Top 10 Ways to Keep Bugs Off of Your Boat

keep bay leaves in your flour

  7. Bay leaves:  Bay leaves are the magic bullet against bugs in your dried foods.  Keep              a sprig of bay in your flour, rice, baking mixes, powdered milk, etc.  This will evils,                    cockroaches.  As a bonus, ants also loathe bay leaves.

Keep bay leaves in airtight sealed containers for up to a couple of months but when                 placing them on shelves or in the open it is better to replace them on a weekly basis

     8. Airtight Containers Store foods in air-tight plastic insect-proof containers.  If                     there is something infested it keeps the problem inside that way the problem is                          contained literally, and doesn’t get into any of your other stores.

     9. Boric Acid When spices aren’t doing the trick, it is simple to make yourself some DIY           roach killer using boric acid.  The powder itself is odorless, but it is also a main                           ingredient in laundry detergent.  So it doesn’t smell as nice as herbs and is a bit                          messier, but boric acid is one of the most effective cockroach killers.  If you use it                    correctly that is.

The University of Kentucky’s department of etymology has an excellent article on                   roach prevention Mixing boric acid with flour or powdered sugar and blowing it                       under the refrigerator, oven, in crevices, or putting a thin layer (if it’s too thick the                 roaches will walk around it) on the pantry shelf is the ideal roach killer.

When the roaches crawl through the powder particles of boric acid cling to them                       and when they groom themselves they die.

Though not toxic to humans in small doses boric acid is not as innocuous as herbs                    or essential oils so be sure to mix it in a well-ventilated area.  Also, be sure not to                     put it on counter-tops or places food is actually prepared.

10. Examine all items before you buy them.  Prevention is always the best method of                   keeping insects out of your life.  Try to make sure package seals are intact and plastic             bags or wrappers don’t have any holes or rips or any openings for hitchhikers to get in           through.

Insects can bore their way through plastic and paper and leave tell-tale holes and signs         of their presence.  You probably can’t examine every inch of every package in the thick         of the prodigious task of provisioning, but definitely give everything at least a cursory           glance.  More than just insects, opened containers allow food to spoil or spill in your              cabinets so giving packages a once-over before buying them just makes sense.

Floating Herb Garden

DSCN8371 1024x768 Floating Herb GardenDried herbs and seasoning are fine, and a good mix of seasoning can make or break a meal, but nothing beats fresh herbs.

You don’t have to give up your herb garden living on a boat. Granted, I haven’t tackled international travel with herbs yet, but in the States, or in domestic travel regardless of location, turning your yacht into a floating herb garden works brilliantly.

We only have a small one on Umineko so far, rosemary and basil.  Two of my favorites, but it may grow (no pun intended).  It is easier on a catamaran, but I have seen more than one monohull resplendent with hanging herbs.

This is my absolute favorite pesto recipe.  You really do need a food processor to make it.  A food processor, I’ll admit isn’t the most practical thing to carry on a boat.  That said, I’ve crewed aboard several yachts with food processors because they can be used to make many great cruising foods.  You just have to figure out where your space and weight priorities lie.

Pesto 1 300x225 Floating Herb Garden

This delicious pesto can be frozen and lasts for ages.  It will get better over a few days as the flavors disperse.

Pesto Spread


  • 1 cup basil leaves firmly packed
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • Juice from 1 lemon (or to taste)
  • 7 oz tofu
  • 1 Tablespoons salt (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons pepper (to taste)



  • Put (pealed) cloves of garlic into food processor and chop finely
  • Add basil and spinach and pulse food processor
  • Add walnuts and, lemon juice, and olive oil and grind for 20 seconds
  • Add tofu, salt, pepper, and blend until smooth.
  • Sample!



 Because it uses tofu as well as nuts, this pesto is extra protein-rich and filling.  More than just over pasta, I love using it

  •  As sandwich spread
  •  In a wrap with a tomato and sprouts
  •  On pizza in place of tomato sauce

You can add parmesan cheese to give it that extra kick

Please post your pesto-spread ideas.  I would love to hear  and try them!