Recipes for conversation by Mark

We have now been at Lee Stocking Island, the site of an abandoned oceanographic research facility, for 5 days.  Since we are not in a big rush to move north (the wind has been in the wrong direction for us to sail), we have been content to spend our time exploring the island and made friends with some of the other boaters in the anchorage.  I thought that the reader might enjoy meeting them yourself so asked two couples on different boats a few questions about themselves and their boats.

First Nanny

The boat just astern of us at the moment is called First Nanny.  She is a Cape Islander 36.  Her owners are Tony and Renate, originally from Berlin, Germany they bought a piece of land and built a cabin in Nova Scotia after choosing to change their lifestyle and retire early.  After that they started thinking about cruising on a traditional boat.  Tony had thought about building his own boat but ultimately he chose to renovate a retired lobster boat because he liked the looks of a more traditional craft.  Built for heavy work in the North Atlantic it has a low sheer aft and a precipitous bow.

First Nanny

First Nanny

Their boat is a reflection of their life I think.  She is a simple fishing boat converted for living aboard yet is equipped with all of the extras that a long term cruiser would want.  They have an SSB radio for getting weather information and their electrical power comes from three solar panels and a 2kw generator.  They have recently added refrigeration and use a simple camp stove and a toaster oven for all of their cooking.  Renate bakes bread in the oven every other day, which is run off of an inverter.

First Nanny

First Nanny

first2

Tony and Renate aboard First Nanny.

First Nanny was built in 1964 and was used to fish for lobsters and is powered by the original 135hp Ford Leman diesel engine.  After purchasing the boat they made improvements to make her more comfortable for cruising.  They added several feet of interior cabin space and replanked the cabin sole. Altogether they spent 5 summers working on rebuilding her.  Tony and Renate cruise on First Nanny about 6 months out of the year and then either go back to their cabin in Canada or to their home in Berlin for the rest of the year to visit their two children.

Their cabin, which is as unique as their boat, is located deep in the woods of Nova Scotia, 35 miles from the nearest town.  They have no power but use a generator to pump water into a holding tank.  The latest addition to their property was a bathhouse that Tony built.  It is a glass gazebo with a bathtub inside and wood heats the water heater, which fills the tub.

Logan and Cole in First Nanny's cabin.

Logan and Cole in First Nanny’s cabin.

Christine & Logan in First Nanny's cabin.

Christine & Logan in First Nanny’s galley.

I have read of accounts of sailors who have seen apparitions while cruising so I listened eagerly when Tony related an experience he had on their first gulf crossing. They were crossing the Gulfstream at night when all of the electronics on their boat went down.  With no VHF or chart plotter to guide him thru the darkness he was trying to troubleshoot his systems when he saw the image of a bearded man on the forward deck looking back at him through the glass.  He spoke to Tony and told him not to worry, that he just needed a few minutes.  After ten minutes all of the electronics began working again.  It was some time later when Tony realized that the person he saw on deck was the same fisherman that is in a very early photograph of the boat when it was used for lobster fishing that he has framed in the cabin.

Picture of First Nanny when it was a lobster boat.

Picture of First Nanny when it was a lobster boat.

We were invited over to their boat for dinner one evening and Renate made a delicious fish soup and an equally fantastic potato salad another night.  Their lifestyle may be simplified but like the extra equipment on their boat Renate was preparing gourmet meals with a minimum of ingredients and spices. Her recipe for fish soup follows.

Fish Soup Recipe

2 big onions chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
4-5 stalks celery chopped
3-4 carrots sliced
1 green pepper or hot pepper chopped (we omitted this too but used red pepper flakes)
3 T curry
1 T milk ground red pepper powder
1.5 liters chicken stock or bullion

Simmer for 20 minutes.  Then add the rest of the ingredients.

1-2 yellow zucchini sliced (we omitted this)
cubed fish (They say Monk Fish is the best.  We had Mahi Mahi this night)
½ cup dry rice

Simmer about 15 minutes until rice and vegetables are tender.

Sea Camp

Our other boat neighbors are Bud and Eileen on Sea Camp a Witby 42.  Their boat is a center cockpit design with a spacious aft cabin.  When they purchased their boat they had a five-year plan for cruising the Caribbean.  The boat had come with and engine driven refrigeration system but that required running their 65 hp Perkins twice a day for an hour to cool down the coldplates.  Bud has since converted to a more conventional 12v compressor. His large battery bank is kept topped off with a wind turbine and a 200w solar panel mounted to the top of his davits.  Six batteries onboard are capable of storing an impressive 1400 amp hours!  As a comparison our single house battery stores a more modest 230 amp hours, an amount that has been adequate for our needs but it just goes to show the lengths you need to go to get those precious ice cubes in ones drink.  It’s also why we like to suggest having cocktails on their boat whenever the opportunity permits!

Sea Camp

Sea Camp leaving Lee Stocking Island.

Bud and Eileen carry equally impressive reserves of water and fuel.   With enough tankage to hold 270 gallons of water and 200 gallons of fuel they rarely have to buy water or pull into port to take on more fuel.  They are a ship of the desert but unlike their “camelian” counterpart they store their vast reserves not in a hump but closer to the keel.

Bud & Eileen in s/v Sea Camp's cockpit.

Bud & Eileen in s/v Sea Camp’s cockpit.

If the wind doesn’t blow and the sun refuses to shine they still have a 2kw generator as a last resort but there are few days in the Bahamas I think when they would have to resort to using the generator.  They bought their boat on the Chesapeake and have been sailing in the Bahamas for five years now.  They still have their home in Manitoba and have another lake sailing boat there, a C&C 26 named Gypsy that they sailed with their two children before purchasing their Whitby.

Bud showing the boys the engine.

Bud showing the boys the engine.

Bud had worked in Canada as an electrical engineer and Eileen taught high school chemistry.  While they have enjoyed the cruising lifestyle they are thinking about the next adventure and would like to travel abroad, perhaps living in different countries for several months at a time.

One day when Christine was contemplating how to cook up a squash on the boat for a little variety Eileen offered the following recipe for yet another fantastic soup.

We have enjoyed listening to their Canadian perspectives almost as much as the sound of another tray of ice cubes being broken into!

Squash soup

2 small butternuts cubed (we used 1 pumpkin)
1 medium onion chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
3 carrots sliced
¼ cup brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp curry
¼ tsp cayenne
8 cups water

Simmer until vegetables are tender then puree.  We do not have a blender so we lightly mashed it with a large spoon.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.  We did not have either of these and it was still fantastic.

Fair winds and good eating,
Mark

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Coral by Logan

Coral grows in warm seas and are alive.  There are lots of different kinds of coral.  Here are the types of coral that I observe in the Bahamas:  brain coral, mustard hill coral, finger coral, elk horn coral, fan coral, and sea ship coral.  Those are the main types I see and here are pictures I took.

Brain Coral

Brain Coral

Sea Whip Coral

Sea Whip Coral

Finger Coral

Finger Coral

Fan Coral

Fan Coral

Mustard Hill Coral

Mustard Hill Coral

Elk Horn Coral

Elk Horn Coral

All corals have polyps.  Polyps are the living parts of coral.  They are tentacle like creatures.  They are like builders.  They build the coral.  Brain coral polyps come out only at night.  Brain coral likes facing the surface of the water.  Mustard hill coral polyps come out in the daytime.  On all kinds of coral polyps, they either come out at night or day.  Finger coral have day polyps and comes in many different colors like green, purple, pink and grey.  Elk horn coral is the biggest coral.  It grows six inches every year.  Fan coral lives on drop-offs and finally sea whip.  Sea whips come in sea like forests.   Here is a picture of polyps.

Logan

Reef Rover by Cole

The reef rover is a miniature submarine that I made in the Bahamas.  It is made of a small plastic bottle with a cap, flexible tubing, small rocks, waterproof tape, and caulking or modeling clay.  You need a drill and water to test it in.

Cole with Reef Ranger he made.

Cole with Reef Rover he made.

Steps

  1. Put enough rocks in the bottle to make it sink.
  2. Drill 2 holes in the cap for tubing.
  3. Cut a piece of tubing about twice the height of the bottle.  Push it through one of the holes until it reaches the bottom of the bottle.  Take the top half of the tubing, bend it down and tape it to the side of the bottle.
  4. Take about 4-5 feet of tubing and push it down the other hole about an inch.

Put your submarine in water.  To make it sink, suck air through the tubing.  To make it rise, blow into the tubing.

The same place where I tested my submersible was also the location of the Perry Institute for Marine Science on Lee Stocking Island.  The labs are abandoned but we can still explore the site.  We found the Reef Ranger on a runway at Perry Labs.

Cole with the Reef Ranger he made on the real Reef Rover.

This is a real submarine called the Reef Ranger that we saw at Lee Stocking Island.

This is the Reef Ranger when it was working.

This is the Reef Ranger when it was working.

This is

Perry Institute provided the underwater car for the James Bond movie, The Spy Who Loved Me.

Cole…

Sharks by Logan

There are three major types of sharks.  The carpet sharks, pointed nose sharks, and hammerhead sharks.

Pointed nose shark

Pointed nose shark

There are two types of carpets: nurse sharks and whale sharks.  Nurse sharks are 5-9 feet long but whale sharks are 20-45 feet.

Whale shark

Whale shark

They both have the same types of heads.  Nurse sharks feed on the small fish and coruscations.  Whale sharks feed on plankton by opening their huge mouths and swimming.  That filters it all in their mouths. Both of these sharks are very gentle.

Pointed Nose Sharks are mostly dangerous and are to be left alone.  These sharks feed on all kinds of fish, big and small.  Some even feed on turtles.  These sharks can be identified by markings like lemon shark is yellow.  Tiger sharks are striped and black tip sharks have black tips on the end of their fins.  Finally the hammer-head sharks.  There are three different kinds of hammer heads, the Great Hammerhead, the Scalloped Hammerhead and the Bonehead.

Nurse Shark

Nurse Shark

Now for all sharks.  All sharks come to the smell of blood.  This is how they smell.  They smell under their mouth.  There are black dots.  Those black dots since the blood and also another cool thing is that some sharks have belly buttons.

Logan

Puffer Fish by Cole

The Checkered Puffer lives in the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Florida.  It usually appears in shallow bays, inlets and protected inshore waters with sea grass beds.  They usually rest on the bottom.

A Checkered Puffer we caught.

A Checkered Puffer we caught.

The Checkered Puffer fish usually isn’t on reefs.  Most puffer fish have red eyes.  The Checkered Puffer will inflate if disturbed.  The Porcupine fish lives in the same areas and usually lurk near cave openings.  They often peer out crevices where they can be closely observed.  They have little black spots all over their body.  It can change from a light color to a dark color.  The porcupine fish will inflate if disturbed.

This is a Porcupine fish we saw snorkeling.

This is a Porcupine fish we saw snorkeling.

If they inflate, they have big spines that will stick out.

Cole…

The Clog Before the Storm by Mark

I noticed on a trip to George Town that the stream of cooling water on our outboard was barely coming out at a trickle, so I pulled the lower end off and replaced the impeller.  I performed the operation in the cockpit with the assistance of another boat neighbor, Jim on s/v Lameroo.  Both the impeller and the gear oil needed to be changed.  Unfortunately the water had no more pressure behind it after we had it all reassembled.  Logan suggested that we poke a wire into the end of the tube in case something was blocking the flow.

Changing the impeller on our outboard.

Changing the impeller on our outboard.

Darkness and another approaching cold front halted further progress on the outboard and we all took turns peeking out from behind the dodger as the wind picked up to nearly 30 knots!

People were calling other boats on the VHF who had started dragging their anchors.  We had a trawler anchored in front of us a little closer than I would have preferred.  The owner was a former pastor and while many people take comfort in the thought of the hand-of-god, the thought of the hull-of-god crashing into our boat kept me awake half the night.

The gathering storm.

The gathering storm.

The next morning I took Logan’s suggestion and cleared the cooling water tube on the outboard.  It was full of salt crystals and after I plugged the hose back together, the stream of water was back to its former force.

It was another lesson in trouble shooting for the boys, and I was glad they discovered that the root cause of the problem was the simpler of the solutions.  I just wish it would have been the first thing I had tried and not the last!

You may get the feeling from my posts that we spend a great deal of time fixing things that break.   That couldn’t be more true.  More than a few other sailors have told me that cruising amounts to little more than fixing your boat in exotic locations!  In fact while I had my lower unit off, our neighbor in his trawler was replacing one of his water pumps.  I might go so far as to say that if you don’t see a sailor on deck with a drink in hand, they are probably lying on their backs contorting themselves in some way to work in their engine compartment.  One cruiser told me the story of how their engine fell into the bilge while underway.  His girlfriend at the time said I never knew why we had a three foot long crowbar on the boat before that day, but I was sure glad we had it when he used it to lift our engine back into place and limped our boat back into port to repair a broken motor mount.

It’s like all the people out here took the movie Apollo 13 to heart and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they can fix nearly anything on their boat.  We even met a solo sailor that had converted his aft cabin into a workshop complete with a welder.  He could not only fix parts, he could fabricate them as well!

Monohulls cats and Trimarans?  These are the people in our neighborhood.

Monohulls, cats, and Trimarans? These are the people in our neighborhood.

Sometimes I think we have stayed in George Town too long but getting to know numerous other cruisers has been worth it.  Our boys have seen the insides of several boats and met just as many interesting captains and their crews.  The cruisers in George Town are an eclectic mix.  Anything from former bomber pilots to MIT professors.  We’ve met managers to morticians.  There are parents with kids, solo sailors, and retires, but no matter the age or occupation all of them seem to share the same desire to seek out a new adventure, or in the words of Tennyson “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

Fair winds ,

Mark