Thursday, December 26, 2013

We Made it!

We made it to the Bahamas! whoooo! Here is a little video I made of our crossing. I will write more of our trials and tribulations to get here, but all that matters now is that we're here!

video




Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Honey-Ginger Mahi Mahi

Merry Christmas!!! The recipe of the week is not very christmassy but since I don't eat turkey, this will have to do. The recipe is for Mahi Mahi, which I had never made before I left Canada, so it's new, but pretty easy and quite delicious, and a nice change from salmon. Also, fun fact, in the states they often call Mahi Mahi Dolphin, what's up with that?

Preparation Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 10-15 mins Serves: 2

Ingredients

1 oz Mahi Mahi
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced/crushed garlic

Directions

In a bowl mix all the ingredients together (including the olive oil). Season the Mahi Mahi with salt and pepper and then let it marinate in the dish of sauce for half an hour (your don't need to, but it does add more flavor to it). I usually sear Mahi Mahi in a skillet on the stove. Heat your skillet with a bit of oil in it and then sear it by putting it in the pan and searing it on each side for 1-3 minutes, depending on how big your pieces are and how rare you like it. You can cook it all the way through, though Mahi Mahi is supposed to be served pretty rare, I like it when it's cooked almost all the way, but still a bit pink on the inside. If you have any left over sauce, heat it in the pan (it makes it a bit thicker) and pour it over the fish and serve! 

In the pictures I used what is called Mahi nuggets, which is essentially just small pieces of Mahi Mahi, but any size works!
Marinating 
Ready to eat!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tomorrow is the Big Day!

So after running around a lot (including an hour long bike ride to and from Target to replace a diesel covered carpet and taking Dexter to the vet). So plans to cross are still standing (though pending Lili Pong's issue they're having with their fridge, so we may be going solo) with slight changes. We are going to take the ocean tomorrow morning hopefully with Phil from Lili Pong on our boat and go to Miami, which should take about 4 hrs. Then we will wait there during the day, take a nap and do last minute preparations before leaving that same night (probably around 22:00) for Bimini which hopefully won't take more than 12 hrs.

So hopefully, if all goes as planned and the weather stays as is (fingers crossed!) we will be arriving in the Bahamas early on Tuesday morning for Christmas eve. Which means Christmas in the Bahamas!

This is the last day we can use our phone and Internet, so I may be a bit AWOL for a bit until we figure out a phone or Internet plan, or until we find a McDonald's with wifi!

So if all goes well, my next post will be from a more exotic place! Whooo! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Last Minute Preparations Before the Big Crossing

There appears to be a good weather window open this Monday to do the cross to the Bahamas, so we are now in full preparation mode. 

Our friends from Lili Pong came to our anchorage, and after spending a day at the beach we went to work in devising a plan to cross together. Two of the guys girlfriends are here visiting for a month, which means there's 6 of them on a boat the same size as ours, pretty crowded, so we will probably end up taking one or two of them on our boat if we make the cross together.

We are planning on leaving very early Monday morning (as in 1am) so we arrive (12-15 hrs later) in Bimini in the daytime. We are debating whether to go straight across to Bimini or go a bit further south, halfway to Miami, since there is a current in the Gulf Stream that pushes us north, but it may make the trip longer, so we're not sure yet.

So we have 2 days to do all the last minute things. I have to take Dexter to the vet, try to do a last load of laundry (since I don't know how easy that will be in the Bahamas), pump out the head (it's very full!), fill up on water and gas, make as many phone calls to friends and family that we can (we don't know what our phone/internet access will be like over there), do a last provision of fresh foods, and get anything else we think we might need.

Of course, this could all change if the weather changes, but we would love to spend Christmas in the Bahamas!

Having a bite on the beach
Trying to take Dexter for a swim
Building sand castles
Beach bum
A little football

One of the many mansions getting ready for xmas
Our busy anchorage


Thursday, December 19, 2013

How to Make Hatch Screens

In the Caribbean it will be very hot so we'll want to have our hatches open to have a breeze, but there will also be lots of bugs. What's the solution for this? Hatch screens!

Just a warning, if you do not have a decent sewing machine (like me) this will not be fun. I have a tiny travel sized sewing machine that only seems to do large and loose stitches, so I then had to reinforce them and hand sew the whole thing, which took a very very long time. Also, if your boyfriend isn't as picky, I suggest going the easy route of just have a square piece of screen as big as your hatch and attaching it on one side of it and then the other side of the Velcro on the inside of the boat with velcro, this is what I'm finding most people do. But John did not want to have Velcro glued to the ceiling of the boat so I made these to go overtop the outside of the hatch while it's open. 

I bought some noseeum (tiny bugs) mesh (from amazon) and some chain (you need galvanized or stainless steel so it won't rust) to weigh it down. Our hatch measures 22" x 22 ", so this model is to fit that size of a hatch, but you can adjust the measurements if yours is a bit bigger or smaller.


I cut two pieces of the mesh. 1 that is for three sides which measured 75" wide in total (25" for each side) and 28" long. The second piece measured 25" wide and 36" long and is for the fourth side (the side closest to the bow of the boat) and goes to the top of the open hatch.

After cutting your two pieces out you sew the top of piece number 2 to the top middle of piece number 1 (the bigger piece). Then you sew one side of piece number 2 to one side of piece number 1, and then the other side of piece number 2 to the other side of piece number 1-it sounds complicated because I'm not very good at explaining it. Also, you want to sew the seems on the inside so they don't show on the outside.
Me and my crappy sewing machine
A mini model I tried out first

Then you want to sew a 1-2" sized casing to thread your chain through all around, leaving an opening. Mine was 2" high because I had big chain, but you don't need to use chain as big as I did in order to weigh it down enough.

After you've threaded your chain all through the casing, I tied the chain together with a zip tie and then hand-sewed the opening shut.

Some people seem to use double sided tape to tape the pieces together and then sew it, but I tried this and since the fabric is mesh it would stick to me through the fabric, and also my sewing machine needle got stuck in it, so I took it off.

Then you open your hatch, and put it overtop, and voila-a breeze without the bugs!
Finished product




Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Eggs in a Basket Recipe

The recipe of the week is Eggs in a Basket-don't worry, no baskets are required for this recipe.

Cooking Time: 10 mins

Ingredients
2 Pieces of bread (per serving)
2 Eggs (per serving)
Butter or Oil
Cheese (optional)

Cooking Instructions
This is something my Baba used to make for me when I was little, and now I make it! It's super easy and delicious! You tear out a hole/small circle in the middle of the pieces of bread. On a pan put either oil or butter and then put a piece of bread on (or both pieces depending on how big your pan is) and then crack an egg into the hole in the bread. Now you can either fry your egg, in which you would cook it for a bit on one side and then flip it to cook it on the other, or you can do it sunny side up where you just cook it longer on one side only. If you want to get fancy you can add some cheese on it while it's still on the pan so it melts a bit. And ta-da! You've got your eggs in a basket!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Greatest Show on H2O!

We're still in Ft. Lauderdale, waiting on a weather window to take the ocean to Miami. While we could go via the Inter-coastal waterway, but there is one bridge (the Julia Tuttle bridge) that is only 56 ft high, and our mast is 54', plus we have the wind indicator hanging on the top of it. I don't think we should risk it, even if we go at low tide, because I know John will be so stressed out about it. He gets stressed out every time we go under a bridge that's 65', so I can't imagine how this would go!

To get to the dinghy dock here we have to go under a very low bridge, so everyone has to duck down in order not to lose our heads-especially at high tide!
While waiting here, we took the opportunity to try out our new folding bikes. I was a bit nervous at first to take Dexter with me (me holding his leash and him running beside the bike) but he fared pretty well. My old dog used to pull me on the bike (so I didn't have to do any work!) but Dexter needs a bit of encouragement to get him going. But he did it! I'm pretty sure he's getting more exercise living on a boat then he did on land!We went to the biggest West Marine in America, it is the Costco of marine stores.



Wheee!
West Marine
 We also went to Ft. Lauderdale's annual boat parade named the "Greatest Show on H2O", apparently one of the top 10 parades in America. We went along with several other dinghies from our anchorage to watch them, and since we were smaller we got to sneak in front of all the motor boats who were already there. We each dropped a dinghy anchor because there was a current, at the end of the night though, everyone was tangled up together! There was 100 boats! A lot of them had live bands playing, and all kinds of crazy stuff. The lights were pretty awesome, and a lot of the boats huge, but also a lot of advertising. 



It says "A Prom to Remember", but it's December right?
Even the Jews were there!


I didn't even know there was such a thing as boat parades, and now I've seen 2!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Solar Panels & Boat Cards

We are now officially proud owners of solar panels! What does that mean? Almost constant refrigeration-which is a giant step forward from zero refrigeration. You really don't appreciate refrigeration that much until you don't have it. And these days it's been pretty hot, and the warm water I have been drinking has not been doing the trick, I'm pretty sure inside our fridge was hotter than outside. I would go into a restaurant just to ask for a cold glass of water. John found a guy on eBay and bought two 100 watts panels (making 200 watts) which Jean-Pierre on the boat rafted up next to us helped John instal it on top of the bimini since (unfortunately) we don't have davits (which are things you raise your dinghy in and out of the water with at the back of your boat). It is amazing how stressful grocery shopping and meal planning can be when you can't keep things cold. Hooray for cold things!
Hard at work
We're currently in Fort Lauderdale, which is apparently the yachting capital of the world. And you can definitely see it. There's over 45 marinas here, the water is covered in boats, everyone has a boat in front of their house, not just a boat, a giant yacht. The boats here a huge and beautiful. There's also a lot of cruise ships here.

Ft. Lauderdale is also the place to get anything you might need to buy or have fixed on your boat. If you can't find what you're looking for, it means you haven't looked hard enough. They have the biggest West Marine in America, and everything is geared towards boaters. So we're trying to get anything and everything done here to be prepared to leave. We really enjoyed the store Sailorman, which buys and sells used marine equipment, where we found all the things we had been looking for along this entire trip! But it was pretty chaotic in there!
In Sailorman



We also got boat cards made! What's a boat card you ask? It's like a business card, but the business you're promoting is you and your boat, and it won't actually bring you business or money, but it will make it easier for people to remember you and have your contact information. I wanted to do these a long time ago, but John tried to convince me that nobody does this anymore. After we kept receiving people's card and people kept asking for ours, I finally set out to do ours. We didn't have a great picture of Topanga under sail (since we're generally on her when that happens and not in the position to take an action shot) so I drew one and got it put onto a card. At least it makes us a little different! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Provisioning for the Bahamas

The Bahamas is surprisingly expensive, specifically for food. They seem to add 100% tax onto everything that's imported, and anything that you receive while there (packages etc) also gets taxed, except oddly enough, boat parts. They also don't have everything and so it's also much harder to find things you need, like spare parts etc. So the trend is to do a serious provision of pretty much everything (especially non-perishables) and get anything you need or any work done on your boat before making that jump to the Bahamas. So as we get closer to that date, that has become our mission.

We made a serious Costco trip in Boca Raton, we almost sunk the dinghy with all our purchases. While its fairly simple to buy things (minus the money dispensing party) but the trickiest part is finding space for this stuff on the boat. Our home is already pretty jam packed full, so how did I manage to add another 125 cans, 40 pounds of dog food, 10 boxes of pasta. 30 rolls of toilet paper, 5 bins of Clorox wipes, 10 boxes of Kraft Dinner (that's how we roll!), 3 giant jars of peanut butter (that is particularly expensive in the Bahamas, John insisted we get 3, he says it's like gold there, so I'm hoping we can use it to barter with the pirates!)8 rolls of paper towers, Costco-size aluminum foil and olive oil, extra toiletries, 60 granola bars, and tons of Costco size snacks, and much more (along with all the food we already had here of course)? The answer: I'm honestly not sure, but I did it!
Can you pick Dexter out from among all the stuff?
Overflowing the cockpit
I stored the majority of the cans in the bilge/under the floorboards. The good thing about the boat is all the hiding spots, the bad thing-I already had them all filled up! So I emptied everything out and made an inventory of all we had and their location. You have no idea ow many times I will tear the place up looking for one ingredient. So now I'll at least know the general location, even though it may be buried under several layers. 
One floorboard spot
On a mission
This one goes deep!
Another great way to add space are hammocks, not human sized ones, that's excessive, but Dexter sized ones (I'm so tempted to put him in one!). That's where I shove all our chips, crackers, cookies, bread, bagels, dried fruit, marshmallows-and whatever else I can fit.
We are in the process of hopefully (fingers crossed!) getting solar panels, which will allow for some refrigeration (praise the lord!). If we manage to cross that bridge, we will do a last provisioning trip of food that needs refrigeration. 
Our pregnant hammock

This isn't even all of it!