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Banyan
The Adventures of David & Alexandra
PotLucks and Puppy Cuddles
Alex, hot with a chance of HOT (and puppy cuddles)
September 2, 2014 , Pot Luck at Port Louis Marina, Grenada

Today, we're spending the day dog sitting our favourite-est dog EVER!! We first met Brody (along with David and Libby on SV Peregrine) as we started our travels down the ICW almost two years ago now. Although we haven't seen much of each other as our paths had us travelling and in different directions for a while, we've finally found each "Somewhere South of Somewhere"! In other words: at the same island, at the same time and WOW, it's like we never parted ways. Great friends... great times !

*****

Always fun to meet people of different nationalities. The other day we were chatting with new friends of ours, Sue and Malcolm of SV Kool Kat, Australian by origin, and the subject of Pot-Lucks came up.

They had never been to one, and were not quite sure of what all it entailed and we were happy to fill them in on our experiences. The Do's and Don't of this Custom of the Cruiser Kind, if you will.

Pot Lucks are a gathering of people where each person/couple bring a dish to be shared. Some people even bring a recipe card, identified by a boat card, that they tape alongside their dish should anyone want to copy the recipe, or check for ingredients in case of allergies etc. The boat card further helps to identify the bowl should it go astray.

Sometimes Pot Lucks are a totally spontaneous event and sometimes they are planned out weeks in advance with a list of who is bringing what. There can be found elaborate dishes that might rival any of a five star restaurant kind, or "I'm sorry all I have is this bag of pretzels", which always seem to disappear just as quickly as everything else!!

It is always great fun to sample dishes that are unique and perhaps even ethnic in origin. Or ones that are of the traditional and comfort kind (don't you just love potato salad and Devilled Eggs?). There are dishes that require special ingredients or ones that simply use up the contents of your ship's stores.

We've attended Pot Luck tables we're we've all groaned in unison as we approached the table discovering we're all carrying bowls of salads of the similar kind (and where's the Beef??) One thing is for sure, no matter which way you cook it, they are always a fun way to discover new dishes, meet new cruisers, all over a great meal. And isn't it surprising how full you can be after a spoon of this and a spoon of that!!

A good rule of thumb is to remember to bring your own plates and cutlery along with some extra napkins, or a plastic bag to hold your dirty plates once you're done.

Speaking of Pot-Lucks, our friends Izzy and Jeff (Izzy R) and Miles (of SV Lone Star) recently organized a PotLuck Meet and Greet at Port Louis Marina, with a special purpose in mind. The guests of honour was the GSPCA (Grenada SPCA Animal Shelter) that brought some recent additions, a couple of puppies and a cat, with all proceeds raised that evening going towards this charity.

You can check them out on Facebook, or their website direct.

The GSPCA, "Originally founded in 1936 as the Royal Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Grenada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is one of the oldest societies in the Caribbean" and has programs that include "low cost & free spay / neuter clinics, education program, vaccination clinics, volunteer vet scheme and community outreach programs for unwanted, abused, neglected or stray animals".

No need to tell you that when there's a combination of Cruisers meeting Cruisers, all over a great Pot Luck Table, it couldn't help but be a Fantastic Time.



Port Louis Marina offering up a portable bar and extending Happy Hour for us,



but most importantly puppy cuddles all around!!



There was a fantastic variety of wonderful and appetizing food being set up at the pot-luck table,



(photos above, and recipe below, courtesy of Izzy, thanks!!)

Our contribution ?? Stuffed Jalapeños !!

First we washed a bunch of jalapeños,



sliced in half and scooped out the insides and since some were so large, they got cut in half again,



(make sure you wash your hands well after handling jalapeños!!), and placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

In the meantime I fried up some sausages. Up to you to use whatever brand you like the best. I happen to like Johnstonville Mild Italian, had 3 on hand that needed using, and voila...

Once fried and golden, I added some sliced and diced green pepper (or jalapeños if you happen to like extra heat), some onion (or scallions), 1 8 oz block of cream cheese, and 1 cup (approx) of shredded parmesan cheese and mixed it all together. Since the Italian sausages are nicely herbed and spiced, I didn't add any extra herbs/spices to the mix, but feel free to add whatever you feel is missing as per your taste buds.



Then I spooned the mixture into the waiting jalapeños, topped with some shredded Tex-Mex cheese, popped it into the oven so the cheese melted and browned and voila...



If you're not a fan of the Jalapeño kind, you can always adapt this "stuffing" to fit into mushrooms? Or Zucchini boats? Or... you name it??!!

Yummy and Burp.

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Liebster Award
Alex, hot and raining with a chance of homework
August 27, 2014 , Mt Hartman Bay, Grenada

"I've nominated your Blog for the Liebster Award"

****

Dave saw the message during his habitual nocturnal WiFi time, and so the first thing he said to me, when I opened my eyes to the morning light, was that Tammy of SV Dos Libras has nominated your blog for the Liebster Award".

To my still asleep ears I thought he was speaking some derivative of pig-latin in a foreign language no less, and I made him repeat it three times over, until I got the WHO and WHAT and WTF respectively in their proper places.

It wasn't much later (and after coffee) that I fully realized that I really didn't win anything tangible in nature (dommage!) and it all had something to do with a chain letter scheme of sorts relating to a Tag-You're Next in the world of (Sailing) Blogs.

Never one to participate in that type of irksome activity, I was nevertheless curious and spent some time Googling...

What I learned was that my blog had been one of ten selected by Tammy to continue the chain letter, and the challenge, should I choose to accept it, was a whole lot of "homework" which included the following rules:

(1) Thank the person who nominated us and link back to their page.
(2) Answer the 10 questions they have asked and publish the post.
(3) Nominate 10 up-and-coming blogs and ask them 10 questions.

Sounded easy enough (or maybe I was just too eager-beaver thanks to the coffee my honey had served up) but I have to say that at the moment, this one felt sort of right and fun, and so I thought I would give it a go.

So... here we go.

(1) A great big Thank You to Tammy of SV Dos Libras for nominating us. Love that you connected with us way back when, and since then I have enthusiastically been reading your blog "Things we did today" and following you on your Journey!!

(2) Answering the Questions.

1. What is the one thing you wish more people knew about you? Don't be afraid to brag here... this is your chance!

Questions relating to bragging about ourselves are always the hardest to answer aren't they?

Alex Says: Dave???
Dave Says: Alex??

We keep trying to think of something but... really can't come up with anything. Sorry.


2. If you could have EITHER five minutes with a crystal ball OR five minutes with a Jeannie... which would you choose and what would you ask for?

Five minutes with a Genie where I would wish for magical transportation powers of the "Beam Me Up Scotty" kind. So that in the blink of an eye we could have our family (and friends) with us instantly, whenever, wherever, at a second's notice, for something as simple, and much needed, as a Hug.

3. What would you say is your partner's greatest contribution to your success (current or future) as sailors/cruisers?

Alex Says: The fact that Dave has a lifetime of experience sailing on the water that started with the Sea Cadets when he was in his early 'teens. A career in the Navy further empowered him with formal experience and training. Personal drive and passion that include racing cars and a private pilots licence have all added to his skill and knowledge, combined with a zest for the unknown, a patience for it all and quite an unfazed attitude about any challenge that crops up. Every day that we are together I learn something new... and that's a wonderful feeling.

Dave says: She cooks! (Very well too!!) LOL ok, ok !! She is the best First Mate Ever! She is calm cool and collected and takes every thing in stride even when the stuff hits the fan (kind of). She makes everything seem special and has learned quickly to manage the boat... and the captain!

4. When will you/did you REALLY consider yourself to be a Cruiser? What does the word "Cruiser" mean to you?

Honestly? Probably when we went back home for a two month visit last year returning to a consumer based lifestyle that (used to be) familiar for us. And when we did it all suddenly felt very alien and somehow not the way we wanted to BE. And it was then that we realized that this cruising lifestyle felt so much more like "home", that we had indeed become "cruisers"... nomadic voyagers using boats to travel.

5. What do you think will be the thing that ends your Cruising journey? And why?

Most probably health related issues with either ourselves or family?

6. What was it like the moment that you "decided" to go cruising? What was the catalyst? Or was it a more gradual thing that just happened?

We met six years ago and fell in love. We both had dreams of travel. Turns out he had a way. Turns out I quite enjoyed his way and so, with time it became my dream too. Our dream turned into a path that turned baby steps into giant leaps and is now our lifestyle.

7. How did your current boat get its name? Have you ever thought of changing it?

Dave and I wanted a name that reflected Dave's military career, my many years working with the military, as well as combine it with my "Thoughts Become Things" mantra.

Canadian Naval personnel use the term "Banyan" to mean a break in the daily routine to enjoy a social gathering while away from home. A Banyan is usually held outdoors, with an emphasis on good food, good drink, and with great shipmates.

Banyan also refers to the "fig tree", a special kind of giant tree that symbolizes power and strength and longevity. Because of the large canopy-type of foliage, meetings and ceremonies would sometimes be held underneath its large protective branches. It is thought of as perfectly symbolizing eternal life due to its seemingly unending expansion.

And spiritually "Dream transforms into thought, thought results in action.. that is Banyan".

And so Dave and I combined our dreams of travel into thought and action. We thought that "Great Food, Great Friends, Great Times" was a great description of things we DO, things we LIKE, so here we are and Banyan she be.

UFI : Robinson Crusoe made his home in a Banyan Tree... We hope we don't have the same fate!


8. What size boat do you/will you cruise on? And if money were no object... would you buy a bigger one?

Banyan is a 2001, 40 foot Jeanneau Sun Odyssey. A beautiful owner's version and competent racer/cruiser (having won the Marion MA to Bermuda Race in her class). We are very comfortable with what we have. She satisfies Dave's love of sailing and my love of comfort and space.

IF money were no object we would go "a little" bigger, for sure, but remember that it all boils down to how big a boat can you handle (double handed) in situations of safety. A few feet on either side rapidly and exponentially increases when discussing any aspect of this lifestyle.

Dave says "Give me a boat that is FUN to sail, and can accommodate all our kids on vacation together at the same time", well, that would turn out to be The One.


9. It is often said that before you leave, everyone says they will come visit you, but most never do. Who would you MOST like to come visit you on your boat and why?

Alex says: This will be morbid, and as I type this, I think oh gosh... should I even? And then well, all things being what they are, I would say "my parents". They both passed away a long time ago and yet there is not one day that I don't think of them and how I wish they could come share my adventures as they were both nomadic gypsies at heart.

Dave says: Waiting for the opportunity for my one and only son to come visit.

10. Thinking back to before you tossed the dock lines and how you thought cruising would be, what in reality was your biggest misconception?

Just how much our movements were to be dictated by weather. That's kind of silly to say, I mean, it's rather obvious, isn't it? But darn-it-all, there were days where I just wanted to stay an extra day/week/month and not care about incoming changing winds and weather patterns, you know?

What was your biggest surprise?

In looking at the Charts... just how far we've come.

What was your biggest disappointment? (If you haven't yet set sail, what do you think WILL Be your biggest adjustments? Sacrifices? Joys?)

Alex says: I don't think I really have any disappointments. Sometimes I find it hard or I feel I am losing touch with old friends. The virtual world has never made it easier to keep in touch, yet...

Dave says: No disappointments or surprises. We are doing exactly what I envisioned us to be doing.

My ten nominees in no particular order are:

Sue and Mal on Kool Kat

Roberta and Michael on SV Celilo

Dirk on SV Evening Ebb

Dalynn and Glen on SV Amoray

Andy and Judy on SV Jacobs Ladder

David and Libby (and Brody, the bacon loving dog) on SV Peregrine

Greig and Caroline on SV Lequesteau

Deana and Troy (and ) on SV Storyville

Catherine and Henry on SV Mowzer

Gwen and Guillaume on SV Slow Waltz

Yvonne and Joe on SV Modaki

Lann and Stan on SV BarefootLife

A family of five on SV Fluenta

Ooops, that's more than ten isn't it??

My ten questions:

(1) Where in the World are you? Alternatively, where would you like to travel to?

(2) Describe the funniest thing you've witnessed in your travels to date?

(3) Describe your favourite cruising grounds in your travels to date?

(4) This Sailing Lifestyle has obviously been a dream turned reality for all of us out here doing this. But if you could have another dream, another "thing" you would want to do... what would it be?

(5) If there's one thing you brought with you cruising, that is totally useless and you could take off your boat, what would it be? Alternatively, if there's one thing you didn't bring with you, and wish you had, what is it?

(6) In this world of So Many Blog's, have you followed a Blogger and not yet met them? Who would you most like to meet?

(7) What time of day do you enjoy the most and why?

(8) When we set sail, and told our friends and family of our plans, we received some pretty incredible (and also incredulous) responses. Have you? Describe the one that impressed/shocked you the most?

(9) With this travelling lifestyle we get exposed to wide variety of cuisines. Do you enjoy trying, eating, cooking with "local" foods, and if so, what is your favourite so far? Share your recipe ??

(10) If asked to give a random piece of advice about this lifestyle to anyone, what would it be?


I never realized that winning an Award would require so much work yet could be so much Fun. Really looking forward to reading the Blogs of the Fellow Cruisers we've nominated above.

We wanted to nominate many more yet felt obliged to follow the "up and coming" adjective of the rules.

However, we've also thrown this nomination out to a few more fellow friends and cruisers, simply because we love your style and writing, because we've followed your adventures for so long, and because you've been a motivation and sometimes inspiration to us. And so if:

Tasha (and Ryan) on Turf to Surf

Mike (and Rebecca) on Zero to Cruising

Lynn on Silverheels III

Paul and Sheryl on Distant Shores

you're reading this, and choose to take the challenge, we would LOVE to read your responses.

And as much as I would love to nominate my Friend, Chef Extraordinaire and Food Blogger, Liz a Former Food Writer and Professional Cook I really don't know how you could make these questions apply to you, however, if you can think of your own creative way to respond, then please Cook It Forward!!!

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