Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Notes on Housekeeping

The temperature of the water is down to a reasonable 29 degrees (84F) and life in this part of the ocean has returned to 'normal'. The flying fish and birds are back and - most spectacularly - we saw LAND yesterday - 24 miles off the port bow … this was Western Samoa immortalized in Margaret Mead's classic study 'Coming of Age in Western Samoa'. In our one-track saga to get to Australia, we'll be passing many beautiful islands in the coming weeks.
I am noticing that my 'writers block' has diminished and that I am now facing a 'housework block' as evidenced by the fact that I'm sitting here writing. Dusting, misplaced music and winter clothes are still waiting to be dealt with. That is not to say that this piece of writing is going to be riveting … in fact the subject I've chosen is so prosaic that you can press Escape! at once.
My chosen topic: Housework and Routines on this boat.
Fortunately neither of us have pressed the Escape! Button on any of the following: watch-keeping dish-doing and meal-making are commitments we honour. We share these equally, and our daily life has continued in a comfortable routine.
A few tips for the galley:
1) I have a bleach spray handy and use it on the cutting board after cutting raw meat. I think cotton dishcloths are far superior for washing dishes (and more hygienic) than a brush. After you wipe the board, stretch out the cloth over the sprayed board, and it will be sanitized. I also place the dishcloth overnight in a weak bleach solution every few days. We have never had a problem with food-oriented disease on this vessel.
2) From our experience: some foods will pall on you and you'll be getting rid of them once you get to shore: for me: lima beans; green cabbage and tinned fruit other than mandarin oranges. In Hawaii, never buy oranges at a grocery store ... they will go bad almost before you leave the harbor .. buy from a Farmer's Market. Supermarkets are obliged to sell oranges from California.
3) Get a list BEFORE you leave of which foods are proscribed by the country of destination. We have entered Australia at least FOUR times in the past, and we remember most of the 'black' list: fresh meat, frozen meat (frozen fish is OK), fresh fruits or vegetables of any description, eggs, any seeds, pods, popcorn, nuts, beans of any kind, tinned duck … Even necklaces or jewelry made out of beans or pods will be confiscated. Don't keep star anise (if you use it) or whole nutmeg.

I want to keep our dried fruit, cheeses and frozen veggies. But are they OK? In past communications with the AUS Agriculture department we were sent a PDF file (which presumably has a list). Most attachments are stripped from our incoming mail (including PDFs) before we even receive it.

4) If you have refrigeration, do get a few jars of Foster's pickled asparagus spears (this is a note to 'Muskoka' and to the other Bluewater Cruisers setting off for Mexico). These have been fabulous in salads, wraps and drinks and I wish we had bought more of them (Costco).
5) We are finding that wraps are the easiest thing to prepare for lunches, and then you don't need to bake or provision a lot of bread. Get the 'NATURAL' wrap variety by Mountain Bread (Costco) … they have a longer due date, stay fresh, and (for us) the added bonus is that they say 'Made in Australia'. We bought far too many packages but from past experience with some unopened popcorn we'd previously bought in AUS, the Customs won't confiscate them.
We have FAR TOO MUCH food … the hot weather lead us to declare: "Let's go on a diet!" So we have cut back and there's enough food aboard for a circumnavigation with an extra five or six people.
The Exercise Routine - have missed only 2 days since May 7th … it is fantastic being able to exercise outside on a dark starry night. I hang on to the stainless grab-bars on our Dodger (that's a spray-hood over the companion way steps down into the boat). I can do my step-up routine on the coaming (that's the extra height seat-back to the benches in the cockpit). With the loud noise of the waves crashing in, the spray and the little wavelets - each of which adds a cross-rhythm to the sound of the breakers, the sound of it is quite daunting.
It's a pitch-dark moonless night. You're hanging on to the bar but you have a great feeling of exhilaration - even a feeling of danger by being up relatively high … you're at the whim of each wave, and with each there's the unpredictability of being thrown about - changing timing and motion with each breaker. It's like riding a slightly out-of-control racehorse at a full gallop … barely able to hang on to the reins. Visually, there are the multitude of stars in the black, black sky … the even more zillions of stars in the Milky Way. These glints of bright light are repeated in the diamond-like sparkling phosphorescence flying off the bow-wave in front of you and the wake behind the boat.

What a spectacular time we are having!

At 6/8/2016 21:26 (utc) our position was 13°37.13'S 174°17.04'W

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