Friends from Idaho by Christine

We were so happy to have friends from Idaho visit us this last week.  It was a fantastic week that went by too quickly.  Bill and Tawny arrived first followed by David and Valerie the next day.  As all you cruisers know, we had sent them a ‘wish list’ of things to bring, ranked in order with the most serious needed items first.  How did Cheetos end up on the top of our list anyway?

I took the dinghy to the dock in Georgetown to pick up the LaVigne’s.  It was such a strange sight to see them standing there.  I asked, “How did you get here?”  Valerie looked at me and said, “On a plane, silly.”  Well, of course on a plane, but to me our journey has been so long (months) and slow (5 knots) that I could not fathom how they just appeared out of nowhere down here.

Both couples brought an extra bag stuffed to the brim with our requests ranging from food to clothing to personal items to a pot holder.  One of my pot holders blew away from me at the grill on the stern of the boat a while back and I could not get to it in time to rescue it.  Thank you Reynolds for sending your beloved, sentimental pot holder.  I will try not to let this one get blown overboard.  Thanks for all the other special items you sent.  They mean a lot to us.

The Cooks, thank you for sending the photo book.  We love it and show it to all of our boat neighbors.  The boys loved seeing pictures of their guinea pigs.  Many thanks again for taking care of the girls while we are gone.  What a commitment!

LaVigne’s, thank you for the Valentine treats, etc.  As always, you are so thoughtful.

Flanders, thanks for all the goodies and for lugging it all along.  We seriously could not do this trip without friends like you.

David, Tawny and Bill in cockpit of Truansea.

David, Tawny and Bill in cockpit of Truansea.

Tawny and Valerie studying our Explorer chart of the area.

Tawny and Valerie studying our Explorer chart of the area while Logan looks on.

Bill, Logan & Cole on the bow.  The boys love popping in and out of the v-berth hatch.

Bill, Logan & Cole on the bow. The boys love popping in and out of the v-berth hatch.  Bill also spent an afternoon teaching math.  Thanks Bill!

David taking a turn on the wheel of Truansea from Red Shanks to Sand Dollar.

David taking a turn on the wheel of Truansea from Red Shanks to Sand Dollar with Mark enjoying the company.

Valerie getting ready to snorkel.

Valerie getting ready to snorkel.

Tawny getting ready to make the leap and try snorkeling.

Tawny getting ready to make the leap and try snorkeling.

Valerie snorkeling around Truansea.

Valerie snorkeling around Truansea.

The girls on our stern getting ready to explore.

The girls on our stern getting ready to explore.

Valerie and Tawny relaxing after snorkeling.

Valerie and Tawny relaxing after snorkeling.

One of the many beautiful fish they saw snorkeling.

One of the many beautiful fish they saw snorkeling.

The hunt is on.

The hunt is on.

David and Bill with the lobster.  It was a team effort of 3 of the guys to get him speared.

David and Bill with the lobster. It was a team effort of 3 of the guys to get him speared.

David, Logan, Mark and Bill returning from a successful fishing expedition.

David, Logan, Mark and Bill returning from a successful fishing expedition.

The day would not be complete without fried lobster, fish fillets and sushi.  Logan made the sushi for our guests.  What a great dinner on the boat.

The day would not be complete without fried lobster, fish fillets and sushi. Logan made the sushi for our guests. What a great dinner on the boat.

Bill ready for Logan to teach him how to make sushi.

Bill ready for Logan to teach him how to make sushi.

Of course Tawny was drug into the process as well.  Bill became an expert sushi maker by the end of the evening.  Tawny and I became expert sushi eaters!

Of course Tawny was drug into the process as well. Bill became an expert sushi maker by the end of the evening. Tawny and I became expert sushi eaters!

David just being David.

David just being David.

David seriously getting ready to cook the lobster in our boat.

David seriously getting ready to cook the lobster in our boat.

The first 3 days they were here, the weather was good so we took full advantage of the nice weather spending time on the boat, snorkeling, fishing, etc.  A strong front blew in the 4th day so we holed up at our favorite protected anchorage while our friends had time to take a guided trip to Staniel to snorkel the grotto, swim with the nurse sharks, see the swimming pigs at Big Majors and see the Iguanas.  Another day they took the water taxi to Stocking Island to hike and spend time on the sound side of the beautiful beach.  We were able to catch up with them on the last day again when the winds died down some.

Would you believe we never took a group picture?  Time goes by so quickly.  We enjoyed every moment we were able to spend with them.  Have a safe trip home.  Again, thank you for all you did for us and all the goodies you brought us!

Fair winds ~ Christine

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Vegemite! by Christine

“Vege… what?” I thought when I first heard our Tazmanian/Australian friend mention his morning breakfast of Vegemite on toast. A couple of days later I heard him mention putting Vegemite in the soup he was making and on his cheese sandwich. He also hosted National Australian Day breakfast on his boat for all of the Australians in the bay with none other than Vegemite toast. Now my curiosity was peaked. I love trying new foods, especially different nationalities.

David comes over for breakfast and coffee some mornings and one morning he brought over his Vegemite. We toasted the bread on the grill, buttered it and David spread a thin layer on top. He emphasized Americans must only put a thin layer on. We were warned not to spread it thick like peanut butter. The paste in the jar is thick and black smelling yeasty and something else I could not identify with. Maybe hoppy? It tasted salty and a little strong or bitter. It probably does not sound too appealing yet, but it was fantastic with morning coffee! I love the stuff! Maybe it is having my family, good company on the boat in a beautiful Bahama anchorage that made it taste so good.

David and me in the cockpit of Truansea enjoying a great breakfast.

David and me in the cockpit of Truansea enjoying a great breakfast.

The paste was invented in 1922 when the Australian food company Fred Walker & Co. gave Cyril P. Callister the task of developing a spread from the dumped yeast from breweries. Talk about recycling! He came up with a way to extract the liquid and blended salt, onion and celery extracts to form the sticky black paste. It was endorsed by the British Medical Association as being rich in vitamin B, rationed during World War II, included in the Australian Army rations and was used in 9 out of 10 Australian homes.

David told us they ate it as children on their Australian farm and sang the jingle he knew from childhood used to promote Vegemite. It reminded me of how we all know the Oscar Mayer Weiner song. It is produced by Kraft foods.

After expressing my love of Vegemite, David brought over a jar of my very own a couple of mornings later. I was instructed on the ritual that must be followed upon opening a new jar. First you twist the top off breaking the seal, then stick your nose close to the paste in the jar and inhale deeply. It is somewhat like smelling coffee when you open a new can (yes we drink ground, canned coffee on the boat). Then you dip in your pinky finger and get a small amount of the paste on it and lick it off your finger. The jar is christened and ready for use.

Cole's reaction to it was not the same as mine.

Cole’s reaction to it was not the same as mine.

Try it yourself and let me know what you think!  I doubt if it is for sale in many stores, but I do see it on Amazon.  http://www.amazon.com/Kraft-Vegemite-400g-Jar/dp/B002O10K6C

If you have your own obscure food item that you have tried and love, please share it with me.

Fair Winds ~ Christine

Tide Pools by Logan

There are lots of creatures you can find in tide pools along the shoreline and beside the rocks in the water.  Here are some of the things you can find along the shore.  Of course you can find the starfish.  There are three different kinds of tide pool starfish.  One is a grey and white looking starfish.  When you put them in the water, you can watch them move very fast.  You can have starfish races.  There are also red pokey starfish. red starfish

They are small and they do not move very much but they are prettier.  The last kind of starfish is a white one with 8-inch skinny arms and they also move very fast.

There are also sea cucumbers.  They look like a brownish black long thick tube.  And my favorite one is nudibranchs.  They look like a squishy blob with yellow and black rings.  You can find them along the rocky shores.  They like to go along rocks.  They are basically a snail out of their shell but a little different.  There is a picture below. Nutabranch

For some reason the nudibranchs release purple ink.  I’m not sure why but it is a very pretty color.   Do you know why they release this ink?  We do not have a book on board that tells us about them.  If you find out why, please reply to my post and let us all know.Ink

The next picture is of my brother holding some nudibranchs and behind my brother there is a tide pool full of starfish.  The very first tide pool is of the sea cucumbers. tide pool 1

In every tide pool there also is baby fish.  They are fun to watch but are hard to catch.  I’ve found baby squirrel fish and baby angelfish.  We made a lake for them to swim around in.  Here is a picture of the squirrelfish.squirrelfish

Logan

Life on Truansea by Christine

Followers of our blog wonder what life is like for a family on a boat.  Being cruisers, we are only sailing a small fraction of the time so our kids are not stuck on a 37 foot boat going stir crazy.  One thing they love to do on the boat which gets some of their energy out is to swing on the bosun’s chair from the spinnaker halyard.

Hammock time is also nice.  They never just lay there and read.  The hammock is always a swinging when they are in it.

Cole is up the mast.  Logan in the hammock.

Cole is up the mast. Logan in the hammock.

Jumping off the bow of the boat and swimming back to the transom they can do when the current is not strong.

Laundry is a constant battle.  A bucket of fresh water on the front of the boat with a plunger is the best method we have found.  We occasionally make a trip to the laundromat for sheets or if the amount of laundry has gotten away from us.

Cole's turn to do the laundry.

Cole’s turn to do the laundry.

We also spend lots of time on shore hiking, beach combing, playing on the beach, walking around towns, etc.

Our days are not filled with idle time however.  There is always things to do on a boat, just like home.  We cook all of our meals and have to do all of our dishes by hand which is a process in itself.  The boat needs constant cleaning inside and out.  With four people living on a boat, plus friends coming over, there is always a battle with sand, salt and hair.  It is amazing how much hair we all shed.  it ends up on the floor and in the bilges where it is much more noticeable than in a house.  Everything we use needs to be picked up as soon as we are done with it or life becomes difficult in a hurry.  If we all left our things laying around like books, sunglasses, hats, life jackets, towels, sandals, dry bags, flippers, snorkels, wet swim suits, etc. it would be a complete, unlivable disaster!  Luckily Logan is the ‘pick it up police’ and keeps us all responsible for our things.

School takes a fair amount of our time as well.  Some days we get more done than others.  I am actually looking forward to the upcoming blow to spend a couple of days on the boat getting caught up.  Cruisers host a variety of classes on Chat & Chill beach.  One of the classes Logan & I took was sushi making.  We were both surprised at how easy it is!  Really!  We have been enjoying sushi on the boat ever since.

Logan learning to make sushi on the beach.

Logan learning to make sushi on the beach.

Logan & me with the fruits of our labor.  Guess what we ate for lunch?

Logan & me with the fruits of our labor. Guess what we ate for lunch?

 

I hate to say it but one thing we have found comforting is the TV.  We do not use it often, but it is nice for us all to kick back and watch a movie from time to time.  Of course, watching a movie is not quite as simple as at home.  After we haul the generator out in the cockpit, plug it into the outlet on the boat and fire it up, flip on the AC power master and the port AC outlets, then we can turn on the TV.  When we do run the generator, this is also the time to charge all devices that we only have a traditional plug-in for such as the laptop, ipad, ipod, cell phones, sat phone and VHF.  We do not have an inverter on our boat so generator time is the time to charge these ‘regular plug in’ devices up.

View of Truansea from the top of our mast.

View of Truansea from the top of our mast.

View of bow of boat from top of mast.

View of bow of boat from top of mast.

ancorage

Wish we had time to do more posts but our access to town has been limited due to winter cold fronts coming through.  When we do have a few days of calm, we are filling up the water tanks on our boat, getting groceries, etc.  We also take these days to enjoy snorkeling, spear fishing and exploring the islands.  This afternoon another front is coming in and we are in for 25-30 knot winds tonight at 20-25 knot winds the following 3-4 days.   We are in a snug anchorage at Red Shanks, just south of George Town.

Fair winds ~ Christine

Let There Be Light! By Mark

We have just made an exciting new addition to our boat in the form of a salvaged solar panel.  After a little soldering and TLC we starting getting power out of the gently used 90 watt panel.  Two aluminum bars from a broken patio umbrella provided the mounting brackets plus some electrical wire from the local hardware and we have completed the best improvement made to the boat since leaving Florida.  Bimini

We have always had to watch our batteries closely so as not to draw them down too much before we ran the engine or generator to charge them back up.  The solar panel has since given us precious watts while we are at anchor so we can continue to run the refrigerator when we need store perishable foods from time to time. Solar 1

Your tools will be some of your best friends when you are cruising and mine are always close at hand.  Unfortunately, it is hard to watch them grow a layer of rust over themselves as they soak in the ever-present salt air.   BracketsSmooth Sailing,

Mark