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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Some Like it HOT!

What can you say after an entire day of non-stop exhilarating beauty of unimaginable scope … sights and scenes going on and on for all 24 hours? We kept checking behind us and ahead of us - but we were the sole recipients of the sun-infused, unblemished changing canvases of mountains and sea views which passed before us. We arrived at this relatively dull scene at 0330 this morning - what a relief to feel NO compunction to take or edit any more photos.

We'll be here in Tay Bay for anything from 12 more hours (leaving at 0300 Wednesday) to as much as a day and a half. Strong winds are forecast, and it's a safe place to be for any force or direction of wind except strong westerlies. Even then we could move a few meters behind a rocky extrusion which sheltered an over-wintering sailor several years ago while he and his cat waited out the dark months. We're hoping the strong winds and the warm sun will speedily clear Peel Sound and Larsen Sound so that Traversay can forge through those "choke" points and we can get to Dutch Harbor Alaska in a timely way.

However - it has been a very COLD trip - the water temperature yesterday was 4 degrees C (39 F). When we're outside each of us wears nearly our entire collection of warm clothes under our wet-weather gear. We have huge, well-insulated but light neoprene fisherman's boots on our feet. Even so, we enjoy coming into the warm cabin and warm duvets to snuggle under. And we like having hot food in our bellies.

And this is my responsibility - my job is to do most of the cooking and provide HOT food. Larry does all navigating and decision-making (often with Claude's expert opinion) and Claude does all the dishes. For doing the cooking, I take just two 3-hr watches per day; and each of the men have three 3-hr watches.

Claude and Larry would not look out of place in a refugee camp and LOOK as if they eat very little, but standing out in the cold for much of the day creates big appetites for hot and satisfying fare.

I have found it a pleasure to be the cook - I've branched out and tried some new recipes for my ever-appreciative co-sailors. But it has been hard to think about and plan the provisions for this trip. Since our first long passage on Traversay III (46 days to New Zealand in 2004) I've saved my provisioning lists. I thought that THAT was a difficult trip to provision for - however, this will be an 8-10 week trip for 3 people plus the 3 or so weeks (for the 2 of us) after Claude leaves. We knew it would be difficult to get provisions here and that it would be far more expensive in Greenland, so we tried to fill our lockers with tinned meat, fish, vegetables and fruit. We left both London and Scotland with full food lockers. We've been alternating fresh meat from the freezer with tinned meals. So the freezer now contains about 30 meals of fresh meat, 60 days of sandwich meat. When we left Greenland, it was filled to the top with berries and frozen veggies (broccoli, spinach, beans, basil, and dill).

Our 35 3-person-meals of tinned meat and fish is now down to 21 meals. We had 70 tins of fruit and over 140 tins of veggies (not counting tomatoes). I've tried to have some 'extras' like lots of olives, sun-dried tomatoes, lemongrass both frozen and in a jar, Madras and other curry pastes, nuts and dried fruits and I've freshened up and added to my spice inventory. We have a large collections of dried beans, peas and (yes) instant potatoes. Chilled veggies from tins with balsamic-fennel-anchovy dressing or mint vinaigrette can make a really nice salad. We still have 4 of the 6 dozen eggs stored in the bilges - I check them before using and they are lasting well. I've discovered that my gingerbread cakes ALWAYS turn out, so I bake two of these every Sunday and we each get a daily wedge with our standard Traversay III dessert - mandarin oranges from a tin, frozen berries (while they last) and a spoon of golden liquor.

We like to have a snack around 5pm so we have large Danish cheeses and delicious sausages that we've put dates on … they'll have to last a specified time. These are stored outside where they cannot deteriorate. Sandwich cheese for 60 days is stored in the 'fridge.

This boat is too well-insulated to store veggies (except in the 'fridge). For the long-term, I bought many onions and some red cabbage in Nuuk and we tried storing them in the one un-insulated hatch at the stern with the Danish cheeses and sausages. Unfortunately, the area was damp and while cheese/meat is cold and fine, only the onions survived the experiment. It will be impossible for us to afford fresh veggies here in Nunavut as it's horrendously expensive (it all has to be flown in). Research on the internet showed that a cabbage could cost $18 in Resolute Bay.

The male crew eat sandwiches each lunch (since we've run out of green fresh veggies, I use tinned asparagus, a slice of Edam and a slice of meat). Baking bread in the oven would be a serious drain on our propane fuel so I've learned to bake bread in a pressure cooker and will use this method until the Captain feels we have enough propane left to complete the passage and use the oven to bake bread. My friends and family who know me must be laughing at this point - they know I like cooking but I hate baking bread! So far pressure-cooker bread is not as good as the real thing. It's been baked in a large coffee tin so it's round, has a soft white exterior and tends to be a bit 'mushy' in the middle. We find it acceptable, though. Experimenting with making olive bread (using jalepeno-stuffed olives), sun-dried tomato bread, and caraway bread might improve it. This is a COLD environment, so having warm bread is a real plus. There are loads of things to put on bread - jams, peanut butter, butter, and honey.

We have a lovely assortment of teas and filter coffee and we have some real shortbread from Scotland to share if company comes. There are also some Pringles and cashews hidden away if we're lucky enough to have kids aboard. And lastly - Chocolate: YES … this is an essential on Traversay III.

I've kept a list of the meals we've been having over the last while. We have some COLOUR in the décor our African-print duvet-covers are very warming. Same for my food - I've been making it hot and spicy! Here's a list of food (and spice) from the last 2 ½ weeks:

S 20th: modified fish mulligatawny soup (curry powder, dried apple, celery, mustardy-mackerel fillets)

S 21st: Chunga chicken (fresh ginger, 2 piri-piri tinned chilis, tinned button mushrooms, tinned peas/carrots, white wine, kidney beans)

M 22nd: Claude's pizza from Normande's recipe

T 23rd: Nasi Goreng (pork, prawns, eggs, peas, Thai red curry paste)

W 224th: Same as above with a bulgar wheat salad

Th 25th: Corn & crab soup with parsley lunch; dinner with added cheese cubes

F 26th: black bean soup both meals (Danish tinned luncheon meat added for dinner)

Duvet cover
S 27th: lunch - Southern stew - (carrots, garlic, frozen green beans, tomatoes tinned and puree, chili flakes, baby corns, cinnamon) Dinner: lamb w rosemary and a wine sauce, broccoli, instant potatoes!

S 28th: Stew as above for lunch; Tuna, capers and parsley infused pasta for dinner (add 4 piri-piri peppers)

M 29th: lunch - S Stew again, toasted cheese for sandwiches Dinner: curried pork tenderloin (curry powder, jalapeno peppers & soft cheese sauce)

T 30th: lunch - Soup made of red cabbage w fresh carrots and minced kippers

T 30th dinner: Tonight is my night off from cooking. We're having Claude's wonderful pizza made from Normande's recipe. HURRAY!

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At 30/07/2013 20:34 (utc) our position was 73°29.39'N 080°43.33'W

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