The Adventures of Alexandra and David

Who: David & Alexandra
Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Our friends Paul and Sheryl Shard, of Distant Shores, are incredible producers of their very own TV Show.

If you haven't already, check them out.

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You might even find Banyan in some of them!!
28 November 2017 | Somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean
20 November 2017 | Somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean
22 October 2017
20 October 2017
11 September 2017
02 September 2017 | Winkler, MB
20 June 2017 | Aa
13 June 2017
22 March 2017 | Eleuthera, Bahamas
14 March 2017 | Great Guana Cay and Oven Rock Cave, Exumas, Bahamas
07 March 2017 | Sampson Cay,
04 March 2017 | St Augustine, Florida

TransAtlantic Crossing Part Three. Playing and Participating on Passage

28 November 2017 | Somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean
Have you ever wondered exactly what might happen when you're on a Passage of Epic Proportions?

When Dave and I first received the invite to help Paul and Sheryl with a boat delivery, we immediately said Yes. Then we thought about the reality of it, and, incredulously enough, still said Yes! A lot goes into planning a passage, any passage, but especially a passage of Epic Proportions. And a passage across an Ocean is, in my books, a passage of Epic Proportions.

In case you're just coming onboard, David and I are delivering SY Zao, a 50 foot (luxurious) Catamaran to Saint Lucia. We departed Las Palmas on November 12th, and we're currently somewhere on the Big Blue, En Route, playing and participating, while on passage.

You can read all about how our Adventure, that wasn't even part of a planned Adventure, began, HERE. Our Passage is being chronicled in a Three Part Series of Blogs: Link to Part One: A Personal Passaging Perspective, and Link to Part Two : Planning and Provisioning.

This is Part Three: Playing and Participating on Passage. And may we suggest you grab your Drink of Choice, for it might be an Epic Read, with many photos to whisk you away on the Salty Sea Air Breezes.


****

It's been a Passage of Watches: the minutes ticking into hours tocking into days, and time has moved us ahead, slowly, mile by nautical mile.



Our bodies have acclimated to the Motion of the Ocean, and settled into a rhythm of With a crew of six onboard, it really was an easy watch system: four hours ON, 8 hours OFF, and four hours back On.

Although 8 hours off sounds like a lot of time, on some days, it really wasn't.

"Have you had time to watch any of the movies you preloaded?" asked Sheryl one day?
"Nope" I replied with a laugh, "And I haven't been doing much reading either. Truth be told? As strange as it sounds? I haven't had the time!"
"Me either" she said, in total agreement.

So what have we been up to, while on Watch, or Off Watch, as we play and participate on a Passage of Epic Proportions?

The other night Dave and I were sitting at the helm. It was somewhere between 8 p.m. and midnight, when a sleepeyed Dan emerged from his cabin. He was walking like a zombie as he entered the red-lighted salon, his arms extended, holding something in his hands.

"Look what I found in our bathroom" he said, and we quite curiously, flashed our our mini pocket lights towards his hands. What we saw there, in his hands, surprised us, honestly shocked us. And then made us laugh.



For in his hands, was a large, slimy, scaly, Flying Fish.

Somehow, during the course of our passage this fish had furiously jumped out of his watery home, perhaps in a daring effort to esacpe a predator, and in a flying twist of fate, had flown straight up and across and down into the tiny square that was the SY Zao's starboard side head hatch. It flipped and flopped around on the floor, loud enough to wake up the occupants of the bedroom. Isn't this the stuff nightmarish movies are made of?

We laughingly exchanged Fishy stories for a while after that. Not to mention quite a portion of many watches participating in the constant clean up of the chaotic littering of dead flying fish on our decks.



It's not without just reason that Dave often gets nicknamed "Safety Dave". His training with the Navy has provided him with a lifetime of "could's, would's and should's" and it's not without reason, be it on a Catamaran or Monohull, that he likes to keep things clean and tidy. From lines to living space, everything should be "ready, aye, ready" and as Ship Shape as possible.

Somehow this Neat and Tidy trickled onto the Chartplotter. One evening during our watch, he saw a few errant waypoints as he zoomed out, and promptly deleted them. Next night, more waypoints, more deleting. He couldn't figure it out.



So one day, during supper, he wondered out loud about this new very sensitive Chartplotter. How easy it was to leave a WayPoint by simply very lightly touching the screen. The other crew members agreed that it was indeed a very sensitive screen, as they'd experienced the same thing.

Except for Sheryl, who noted she was actually having trouble with the WayPoint function.
"Oh really" said Dave, "What kind of problems?"
"Well, I keep inputting waypoints..." she said with a sigh, "the positions of the other boats around us? And I must be doing something wrong, because they keep disappearing!" she said.



We laughingly exchanged many WayPoint stories after that!

"Holy Sugar Pops" yelled Paul one night during his watch. This immediately woke woke Dave up from a deep slumber, and he looked out our cabin window. Since he didn't jump into action stations with any appropriate swear words, I quickly fell back asleep. It wasn't until the next morning, over breakfast, that I learned what Holy Sugar Pops was all about!

Paul had been at the helm and thought he saw a Shooting Star. It was a Shooting Star of Epic Size and Epic Con-Trails. We debated the event up, down, and shooting star sideways and eventually reasoned that it could've been some space junk of significant size, (perhaps even the Chinese Space Station?) that disintegrated as it entered our atmosphere. Recent Google Research shows it can be quite a common occurrence!

I teasingly scolded Dave: telling him he was to use some serious swear words if that were ever to happen again. And then I teasingly scolded Paul that he needed something more than Holy Cereal words for an event as exciting as that! Because I never ever wanted to sleep through something as exciting as that!



Sadly no photos were taken during this exciting event. And of course, Holy Sugar Pops were attributed to every exciting event after that.

SY Zao is a brand new boat with a brand new engine, and as per John's instructions, we were to run the engines at a 2300 rpm. So the first few days of passage, we did exactly that. On the first week of night passage, when there was *perhaps* sufficient wind to sail, but we didn't want to stress the chute, or have an incident in the dark of night, we ran the engines. At the specified 2300 rpm.

"Paul?" asked Dave one morning, "Have you noticed our fuel levels?"
"Hmmm...." said Paul. "Something's not quite right!"



SY Zao has the capacity to hold enough fuel stores to *almost* motor across the Atlantic. But at our high RPM's, the engines were guzzling the fuel, and since our tanks weren't full to begin with? Well, it didn't take long to deplete what was there. Paul and David, along with John's email input, figured out how to siphon one tank completely dry, thus emptying what reserves that were in there into one of the other tanks, so that the little red gage indicator was just slightly above the empty line on the remaining two tanks. We were now totally reliant on wind. And that's when the last little bit of wind we have, died into almost nothing, and we entered The Doldrums.

Ah, The Doldrums! Defined as an area "affected by a low-pressure where the prevailing winds are calm".

Those calm winds showed up quite clearly as big blobs of blue on the daily downloading of GRIB files. And our course had us heading straight for them. Which is why we ventured a full two days further South than we had to.

Dave and I have a drone, a DJI MavicPro, but we opted not to bring it on this voyage. So we were rather excited to find out that Craig had brought his. And the one good thing about The Doldrums? Craig brought it out so we could play!

He captured some amazing footage of us, but then trying to land it, on a slow moving platform, proved to be quite exciting, especially with Craig running out of power on his IPhone controls. All that excitement earned Dan, who caught it in mid-air, held on to it, while Paul tried to power it down, the nickname "The Hulk".



You can check out Craig's You Tube Vlogsto watch all that excitement.

One day Eddie the Egret joined us. He arrived out of nowhere, landed on our boat, and very curiously tried to enter the salon from the forward open hatch.



We played with him for a while and then I had to solemnly promise Paul that I wouldn't feed him.



Because with food, comes poop. And we were busy enough with dead flying fish clean up every morning.

One morning over Egg McBimbo's, David asks: "So, Paul, what's the PPFT?"
"Huh?" exclaimed Paul?
"PPFT? Given all the little jobs you like to do, I thought I'd give you an Official Acronym, Navy Style!" laughed Dave, and continued on to explain: "PPFT is Paul's Project For Today!".
"I don't know" said Paul as he handed us The Torch, and headed off to bed "I'll let you know when I wake up".

Some of the PPFT's that were tackled? The wing on wing formation caused the bottom of the jib to chafe a bit. The PPFT that day was to put some sail tape on to prevent further chafing. During regular engine room checks, a water leak was discovered. Several times the PPFT was to check for water ingress, and see if the problem could be solved. A constant banging noise near the auto helm revealed some slack in the chain of the rudder system.



With the spinnaker flying constantly, an incessant and frustrating creaking sound developed. The PPFT that day was to send Paul up the mast, armed with some tools and good ole grease.



Unfortunately nothing he could do to help reduce the squeak. But his climb up the mast allowed us to surmise that the culprit was a sheave at the top of the mast.

With the more boisterous seas the first week we noticed the Escape Hatches had developed a considerable leak. PPFT? Ensure that the water was sponged up on an hourly basis, with the water being measured to ensure we weren't taking on increasingly more. Thankfully, once the seas had abated when we reached The Doldrums, this task was reduced to once a day. And of course, everything was recorded by the different Watches in SY Zao's Log Book



So while Dave and Paul were busy tending to PPFT's, and with Dan up on watch, Sheryl and I coordinated forces to Managing the Galley.



We would check each item in the fridge and freezer, see if anything was spoiling, get rid of leftovers if any and with the results, determine the next few meals, making sure we were on the same... menu (pardon the pun)! The many oranges, lemons and limes that we'd individually pre-wrapped in tin foil to prevent mold spoilage from transferring, needed to be checked, and usually we lost a couple a day. We were glad we'd spent the time preparing them in advance. Shelves got restocked, and garbage tidied up, and regular housekeeping chores were a daily occurrence.

Of all my time living aboard and cruising, I have rarely done my own laundry. SY Zao had a working watermaker, and came with a washer and dryer, but we were hesitant to use it out here without a stable platform: this was not our boat after all. It was time to get the bucket out, and attack the stinky piles!



One morning Sheryl received an email. The ARC had issued a distressing and sad update, one that no one wants to read. A man overboard: a boat somewhere ahead of us had an issue with downing their spinnaker, and someone had gone overboard. All vessels were being asked to keep a watch.

"So this means that we have a drifting vessel we need to keep our eye on" I surmised. We all kept a keen but grim eye on the horizon after that. And realized how quickly stuff can happen, and how imperative it is to be on watch, at all times. A terrible and sad day for all.

And then there was the time that Dan jumped off the Capt'Ns seat, excitedly running towards the fishing pole dancing madly in its holder. Sheryl and I quickly ran out of the galley, Sheryl taking the helm, and I towards the fishing pole. It was, sadly, just some Sargassum



But the next day? He caught a Tuna! Our first fish of the Passage, and my first fish, ever. What ensued was a few tears during my first killing of said Fish, I'm such a wimp.

The end result though? Experience, Knowledge and Awesome Sushi. The next day Dan was at it again, and he reeled us in a a beautiful Mahi Mahi. This one was made into fillets and fish bites.

On the third day, I was ready to go solo. I put the line in the water and a while later, I saw the familiar tug. I tried to reel it in, but couldn't for the life of me, make any headway. I called Dave in for some extra muscle.



For over half an hour, both man and fish fought bravely. Man won, and Dave reeled in a beautiful silver Wahoo, which I declared all mine. Thankfully it was already dead, so I just had to clean it. Phew.



Dan and Sheryl's watch over, the PPFT chores done, the galley set up for supper preps later, it was time for Paul and Craig to go on watch.

"Does anyone know how to play Wizard?" I asked?



No one had heard of the game (it's a Canadian game, eh?) so we brought out the brand new deck of Wizard cards we'd brought with us. We quickly taught everyone the rules, distributed the tokens, and had a go at it. It turned out to be a great game to play, and for everyone who is familiar with the game, much swearing (either Navy Style or Cereal Style) and name calling comes with the Dealing of the Hands and with the ScoreKeeping.

And if the sun was setting as we were halfway through a game? We would take a break and assemble on the trampoline, in great anticipation of a green flash.

There was that time when we were all bored. And Paul told us how he was the reigning champ of One Handed Bowline Tying. So we all had to learn.



Holy Bowline Moments! Because, we all know, every second counts when doing a bowline.

There was no distress involved when I sent out our Message in a Bottle.



Although we hated throwing a bottle overboard, we do hope that someone somewhere finds our message, and our respective social media tags, and lets us know. How fun would that be?

"What time is it?" Asked Paul, quite innocently, one day, as he came up from his siesta. Dave, at the helm, checked and responded that it was close to noon. Our TransAtlantic Passage involves crossing Four Time Zones, and it was at that point that we realized we should start dealing with them before we run out of time (pardon the pun!). Since there's no time like the present, Dave and I volunteered to stay on watch for an extra hour. However, for the next three times, we divided up that extra hour: Dave and I pulling an extra half hour on our shift, and Sheryl and Dan covered the other extra half hour.

And then one day, somewhere in the middle of the ocean with absolutely no wind, we brought down the Spinnaker, and with Sheryl at the helm, the rest of us jumped in for a swim.



And that's how I not only added, but crossed off, one HELLUVA Bucket List item. One I didn't even know I had. Swimming, after weeks of not much exercise, felt wonderful. Swimming with nothing but 3 miles of water below us was pretty darn cool. Swimming in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, while on passage of Epic Proportions? Priceless.

We were extremely grateful to Dan, for having brought and shared his Iridum Account with us. There was nothing like logging in to hear the familiar incoming email notifications, allowing us to exchange emails with friends and family back home. And we still owe you a deck of Wizard cards, eh?



All passages, whether they be short or long, can quickly become a Passage of Epic Proportions. All passages, short or long, are about communication, helpfulness and teamwork. Passages can be sleepless, at times, when there's strange loud noises that won't go away, or when Holy Cereal Words are involved. Passages can be funny, at times (and usually after the fact), when nightmarish things happen. Passages can be aggravating, at times, when it feels like the same routine chores are never-ending and repetitive (and sometimes feel like you're the only one having at it!). But one thing's for sure, in between the waves and squalls, there are countless Perfect Moments! Many Moments of Perfection that will forever remain Priceless Memories.

In the end, the Passage becomes part of Your Story.

This is ours. We sure hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Trans Atlantic Crossing Part Two: Preparing and Provisioning

22 November 2017
A FoodFest on the Atlantic Ocean
It can be a pleasure, or a dreaded chore (pending your personal course), however one thing's for sure, a big portion (no puns intended) of our lives revolve around the preparation (and eating) of food. Sometimes the best ingredients that make up our memories emerge from the kitchen cupboards. The smells that waft out of the pot that's getting stirred, or the oven door that's being opened, can instantly send our tummies into a half-baked frenzy, non?

We're in the midst of delivering a Luxurious 50 foot Catamaran, SY Zao, with longtime friends Paul & Sheryl Shard (Distant Shores). Along with us are Dan (a professionally trained Chef from Chicago) and Craig (a police officer from Ottawa).

We departed Las Palmas on November 12th, and we're enjoying the Motion of the Ocean, as we make our way towards Saint Lucia. You can bet your stovetop burner, that if we weren't talking 'bout weather, we were surely talking about food, and if we weren't talking 'bout food? We were eating it!

You can read all about how our Adventure, that wasn't even part of a planned Adventure, began, HERE. Our Passage is being chronicled in a Three Part Series of Blogs: Link to Part One: A Personal Passaging Perspective

What follows hereunder is Part Two: Preparing and Provisioning Blog.

Disclaimer & Reader Beware: We highly suggest you Proceed with your own Fork and Plate of Food in Hand for this Blog is the Full Meal Deal, with Appetizers and Dessert. Do not attempt the reading of these words, or the looking at the corresponding photos, if you're even the slightest bit hungry. We are not responsible for any HANGRY outbursts (but we welcome them, so comment away!)

In truth, we didn't just sail our way across the Atlantic, we ate our way across the Atlantic. This was one serious Food Cruise!

****

I woke up with the sun, and listened to the sounds around me. We were in calm seas, and the water bubbling along the hullls was making rhythmic swooshing sounds. The auto-helm machinery, located right by my head, was groaning and grinding it's habitual course. I was alone in the extra large bed, and I turned over to gaze out the three panels of windows, seeing nothing but the passing of waters and upwards? Skies of blue.

It's going to be a gorgeous day, I think to myself, as I head into the shower. I hear Dave and Paul chitchatting and laughing upstairs, probably planning another PPFT**. I relish a few extra minutes in the shower, selfishly enjoying the hot water, and need to remind myself that despite all the luxuries this boat has, I still need to turn the water off between Soapings and Shampooings. Navy Showers Dave likes to call them.

"Good morning" I sing-songed as I entered the salon. Dave, ever thoughtful, had the water boiled and so it was with a steaming hot cup of coffee that I walked out into the cockpit, breathing in the morning air, and looking around me at the endless vastness of water and sky. The creamy white clouds nestled in the morning skies, sort of like dumplings in a bouillabaisse of blue. I wondered just what ingredient is found in the salty air that makes one so hungry?

Craig was sitting at the Helm with earphones on. Not wanting to disturb his listening, I came back into the Galley, where Paul was busy cleaning up from their shift.

"Are you hungry?" Paul asked, "I'm making Egg McBimbo's"
Dave's eyebrow quirked up as he questioned "Egg McBimbo?"
"Sure!" Said Paul. "Fried Egg, some ham, and a slice of cheese?"
Not needing to be asked twice, we both answered "yes please" without hesitation and then watched the process unfold.

The bags of bread we had bought in Las Palmas were branded "Bimbo" and the why of that totally escapes me.

Bimbo Bread

Paul placed a couple slices in the toaster, commenting that Bimbo bread is well known among European cruisers to be just as fresh on Day One of a Long Passage, as it is on the Last Day of the Long Passage. We won't mention Preservatives?

The toast popped up lightly browned, and Paul buttered one slice, added the fried egg from one frying pan, and some warmed ham slices from the other frying pan. Next? A slice of cheese, and then he topped it all off with the other slice of buttered toast. Voila!

Paul's EggMcBimbo's became quite the speciality with no copyright infringements and available almost every morning as we sailed through the Blue Ocean Arches of Calm Atlantic Waters.

It was Time for our Watch and Dave donned his PFD, heading out to relieve Craig, who was eager to get to bed. Since Paul had made breakfast, I shooed him away from doing the dishes, so he too could get as much shut-eye as possible.

I cleared the countertop, and added some water to the sink, Navy Style, right? As I performed the routine task of washing dishes in warm sudsy waters my mind drifted back to the days before departure.

There was so much to do on our first days onboard. Before we could even think about filling up galley cupboards, we had to fill up the fuel tanks. SY Zao's three fuel tanks combined have a range of about 2500 nautical miles, enough to drive us (almost) all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

While fuelling at the marina, Paul and John weighed in on the weight issue that full fuel tanks might cause us during our passage. Since we didn't plan on motoring the whole way, we didn't want to be too heavy, and forecasting plenty tradewinds, they made the decision to only partially fill the tanks. Leaving the front fuel tank almost empty, and only filling the rear two fuel tanks 2/3 full.

Back at the marina, with SY Zao's fuel thirst partially taken care of, Sheryl and I concentrated on the how's of filling the bare cupboards. While stirring our respective ideas of ingredients, it was a relief, but not really a surprise, to discover that we were on the same culinary page. We sat down at the salon table and with pen in hand, and started The List.

"Would you like a cup of tea?" Asked John, the owner of SY Zao, interrupting the planning.

Tea-time is a serious tradition in some households, and one not to be scoffed with (pun intended) Dave and Paul took a break as well, and we all congregated around the salon table, catching up to each other's progress. We had to make sure there were no food issues, so we double checked with Craig and Dan, who were busy unpacking, and other than a few items (borderline vegetarian for Craig, peanut butter, pop and Monster), there were no special requests, concerns or allergies.

"So, is it milk first, then tea?" I teasingly asked John as the kettle was boiling, "or is it tea, then milk?"
"Well, it's milk first" John replied with true British accent "this way it doesn't stain the teacup."

Tea time over, it was back to work. Paul and Dave, along John, continued to inspect and discuss the many complex systems of this new Bluewater Catamaran.



Dan and Craig had gone in search of some WiFi as Dan had brought his IridiumGo, and was trying to get it set up. And as for Sheryl and I? We lathered ourselves with sunscreen, made sure we sported our most comfortable shoes, grabbed our Lists and went shopping!

Walking through the marina, Sheryl pointed out the various chandleries and facilities for the Yachties. We stopped by The Arc office to say hello, and get the list of activities in place for the participants. Las Palmas was the departure point for many TransAtlantic cruisers, and the Arc fee allowed participating in daily seminars, happy hours, weather briefs, etc. Although we were a press boat for this Passage, we attended one such seminar, "Eating Oceans, Provisioning for an Atlantic Crossing".

Arc Ocean Crossing Seminar

Sheryl's experience with numerous TransAtlantic passages were a bonus, she had an eight-crossing perfected strategy in place.




Given SY Zao's speed and the roughly 3000 miles facing us, we estimated a passage of approx two weeks. Our provisioning needs were then a multiple of that and six, the number of people onboard. That gave us a quantity to work with.

The method to our the madness in creating our Lists used one week's worth of meal ideas: breakfast, lunch and dinner, complete with snacks and desserts, for six people. Then roughly doubling it for our two week passage. And then? We added (approx) 50% more! That extra 50% would allow for food spoilage as well as factor in provisions for a passage longer than the calculated 15 days.

There are a few important items needed to sustain life, two of them are Food and Water. The absence of either or would make for quite an unpleasant journey. And so, we made sure that our list provided for emergency situations. We wanted to have meals that could be Ready to Eat, canned, or edible raw. Foods that did not require heating and would sustain us in case our stove broke, or we ran out of propane. And even though we had a watermaker, we needed to plan for "just in case" it broke. The magic number used in calculating our water stores was 3L of water per person, per day. This included drinking, cooking and washing.

Take Eggs, for example. Even though we knew we wouldn't be eating eggs every day, we did calculate one per person per day, times 15. And a few extra, for baking, or spoilage, just in case. Thankfully eggs here, unlike North America, are not refrigerated**. We bought well over 100 eggs, and the cardboard flats were kept in the dark cupboard. Sheryl would inspect them, and turn them over, every day during her Noon-Time Watch.

Yogurt? Same calculation. One per person, per day, times 15. We really didn't buy 90 (plus) individual tubs of yogurt, that would be quite silly! So we got roughly half that number in individual serving sizes, but then bought a few larger tubs of plain. This was not only cheaper, but served a dual purpose. The plain yogurt would allow us to use it as a starter in case we wanted to make our own yogurt. Not knowing the exact tastes of everyone, the plain yogurt was a perfect solution. It could be dressed with various fresh fruit or canned fruit. Not to mention jams, or honey, or granola to make your own desired flavour.

So Sheryl and I walked and shopped. Stop for lunch and a refreshment.



And then shopped and walked. And came home for supper. And then we did it again. And again. For THREE AND A HALF DAYS we walked and shopped, and shopped and walked, pushing grocery carts up and down aisles of the three major stores: Corte Ingles, Hyper Dino and The Market.

By far, our favourite was Hyper Dino. It was close to the marina, they delivered, and there were discounts. The more you bought, the more you saved! Corte Ingles used to support The Arc, but as we paid for our order, we found out that they don't anymore, and they didn't deliver either! So we had to call a Taxi, which entailed getting the carts of food across the busy street and to the taxi stand. And then from the marina parking lot, down the dinghy docks and to the boat. Without wheelbarrows.

We thirstied up on liquids: UHT milk, and juices (our favourite? Don Simon!), pop and water. We canned up on corn and peas and mushrooms. We jarred up on chick peas and hot dogs and marinated slaws. We stockpiled pouches of rices and oatmeal and pastas. We grabbed boxes of cereal and crackers and granola bars. We froze our fingers as we grabbed bags of blueberries and ready made just bake pizzas and potato quiches out of the freezer aisles. There were cold cuts and cheeses. We seasoned things up with mustards and pickles and Navy Gravy (aka ketchup!). There was apples and oranges and grapes. There was carrots and cabbage and salads. We drooled over flour and sugar and baking powder and yeast. We spiced up our lives with salt and pepper and herbs. We snacked up on Chips and Nuts and Chocolate. We oiled up on Olive and Coconut and regular oil. We cleaned up the aisles with paper towels, toilet paper and dish soap.

Sheryl had the foresight to include some comfort factor items: HandiWipes, and mini pouches of Kleenex to stick in one's pocket. Moisturizer. Laundry Soap. Garbage Bags, and ZipLock bags. And even Condensed Milk and Borax in the extreme case of {{ shudder }} cockroaches.

Craig came with us one afternoon, to film some footage for his YouTube channel, which you can watch
here : Cruising Off Duty Preparing for the passage, Ep104.

Dan, a professionally trained Chef, came with us a few times, or met us there, to help with not only ideas, but the work of it all! Pushing the many carts that we filled to overflowing to the side, and coming back with an empty one, so we could start all over again.



The most interesting place was The Market, bustling with stalls of booths of the freshest of fresh fruits and vegetables. We stopped at one of the Meat Stalls, and the young man emerged from behind the glass array displaying a multitude of cuts and meats, remembering Sheryl from a couple of years ago, and greeting her with a big hug. He handed her the multipage form, along with a pen, and we sat down with a fresh coffee and starting our order. Just how much is 5 lbs of ground beef? Would it feed the 6 of us for one meal? Do we need more? How big a roast should we get? The questions went on and on. Having our list helped us to go through it quickly, about the time it took us to drink our coffee! When we handed in our Order, they confirmed that they could in fact prepare it.

Orders were packaged according to our specifications (6 chicken breasts, for example, in one portion) vacuum sealed and deep frozen, times two (two chicken-based meals in 15 days). We were leaving before (m)any of the ARC orders were even being placed, which is probably what helped to have our order delivered to the marina in three days!

"Good morning!" said Dan sleepily as he came up from below, interrupting my dreams of food carts gone from full to empty and into the reality of dishwater gone cold.
"I'm downloading the weather files..." he yawned as he logged into the program.
"Great!" I said, "Dave is anxious to see them. He's just below tackling the power and water".

Dan turned to breakfast (peanut butter on Bimbo bread, of course!) and before long Dave, finished with the Power and Water making checks, joined Paul and Craig at the computer. Other than meals, analyzing the weather patterns and looking for wind were daily tasks. We were all so appreciative of Dan's IridiumGo, which downloaded the heavy grib files twice daily.



"Morning..." said Sheryl with a smile, as she emerging from her cabin. "I thought I would make pizzas and a salad for lunch?"
"Sounds great" I answered from the helm station, my tummy rumbling in agreement.
"And we have some hamburger meat to use..." she added, to which I suggested "How about spaghetti with meat sauce for supper?"
"Sounds perfect and just what I was thinking as well" she responded. Paul, coming up from his rest, added "How about some Garlic Bread with that?"

And since we had ready to bake baguettes, we had garlic bread. And some leftover Bimbo bread got toasted and drizzled with herbs and spices and olive oil to make croutons for the salad.





Sheryl and I had drifted into a comfortable pattern. If she made lunch, I would make supper. And vice versa. We noticed that during the first week, when it was cold(er) out and we hadn't quite acclimatized to the hobby horse motion of a catamaran, we were resorting to comfort foods.



As everyone seemed to be awake around lunchtime, we made that the main meal of the day. We focused on hearty soups and stews, made in the pressure cooker, with leftovers serving up the cold night-watch crews with something hearty and warm.

On the first day out we kept it simple. Sheryl's perfect suggestion for Day One at Sea, when everyone's tummies were a little queasy? A baked potato, with butter and sour cream and all the trimmings, including bacon bits and parsley.

baked potato

And so life on Passage soon became a Rhythm of Watches revolving around gatherings at the table, either in the salon, or the cockpit, where we shared tidbits of our lives as we feasted over food.

We laughed about how we had all that canned food, and then went on the hunt for a can opener, only to realize that SY ZAO's kitchen drawers didn't have one. What a Thankful Twist of Fate when we realized that all cans that we had bought, were pull-tabs. We laughed as we remembered how we spent hours looking for a store that sold Peanut Butter, something that is not a staple in Europe, and the small jars we had managed to find, lasted for all of one serving. We remembered how we had bought some small bags of herbs (oregano, rosemary), and stored them somewhere where we never found them until almost the end of the Passage. We giggled when we realized that with all the importance of daily tea breaks, we didn't buy nearly enough tea, but once again SY Zao personal stores came to the rescue, revealing a box of teabags that we confiscated before there was mutiny. And why did we think that one bottle of Ketchup was enough for 6 people for two weeks.

Oh, the Food! There was Shepherds Pie. And Jambalaya. And Shrimp and Chorizo Sausage Paella. There was Pasta with Meat Sauce and Pasta with Meatballs.

Sheryl made Shrimp a la King.





We had tuna salad, or cold cuts/cheese and everyone could prep their own sandwiches when hungry, or when awake, whichever came first. One day Dan served up some Chicago style meatball subs on freshly toasted baguettes. All those meals not to be outdone by good ole Hot Dogs from a jar.



With Bimbo hot-dog buns, of course.



Craig offered up to make some Chili one night, but as there wasn't enough hamburger meat in the package, so he browned the stewing beef instead. I peeled and diced the potatoes and vegetables, added the meat, herbs and spices and seasonings, and pressured it into a hearty Irish Stew.

Even though on a Long Passage, you can quickly loose track of days, we always planned for Sunday dinners. Except for that one time when the Roast Beast didn't thaw in time so we had a (un)Sunday Dinner on Tuesday.



Paul and Sheryl made Yorkshire Pudding which needed watching and vigilance, as SY Zao had no muffin tins and we had to improvise.



Taking it out of the oven at just the right time! Doesn't it look good?



Ah, sliced roast beast, combined with loads of gravy and vegetables.



It was a meal fit for a Kingly crew on a TransAtlantic Passage.

Dan, a trained chef from Chicago, produced some excellent surprises. During his Night Watch, he made up some dough, and that morning, Dave and I emerged to find Cinnamon buns waiting on the counter.

Desserts? Why of course! Apple Crisp, Apple-Pear Crisp, Apple-Blueberry Crisp



or Ready to Eat



"Today is American Thanksgiving" said Sheryl one day. Which we just had to celebrate, for Dan's sake, of course! The chicken breasts were going to be stuffed with Dave's Famous Stuffing, and we were kept busy planning the many side dishes, but as the vacuum sealed bags defrosted, we noticed that the portions looked a little less like breasts and a little more like strips? Where was the camera that day where we had to come up with a Plan B hand Stat? Dave proceeded with his stuffing, and instead of stuffed chicken breasts we dreamt up a stuffed chicken strip casserole.



Layers of seasoned chicken strips were placed in the dish, then the stuffing,



and then topped with the remaining chicken strips, and baked!



Dessert that day? Pears with cranberry sauce



"Dan, can you text your wife?" I asked one day. "If she's around and near some WiFi, I could use her help? "
"Sure" he said, as he was sitting at the helm, tending to his watch., "I'll check"
"I copied a recipe into my app, but three ingredient quantities didn't save, and I don't have the right measurements" I said, by way of explanation.

Thanks to the technology that reached us here in the middle of the Big Blue, it wasn't long before I had my ingredient quantities, and was busy in the galley making crepes, and custard. Layering them was easy, and they all assembled into one high rise of a Boston Cream Crepe Cake. Dan concocted up some special icing, and piped in the Discover logo. What a team!



I snapped back into the moment as Dave relieved me at the Helm, and I went back inside to join Sheryl with the checking of provisions. Every few days we would verify all supplies in the fridge, freezer and cupboards: taking notes of what was left, what needed using, and re-stocking supplies at the same time.

I was immensely glad that I had taken the time at the beginning, and in between all that shopping, to deal with each item before it got put away.



For example, cereal bags got removed from the cardboard box it came in. Granola bars were removed from their cardboard box. Any and all excess packaging was disposed of immediately while we still had access to garbage bins.



While I had been doing that, Sheryl had spent the time washing all the fruits and vegetables



so as not to bring any bugs on board,



She wrapped each and every lemons and oranges and grapefruits individually with tin foil, in the hopes that any mold would not spread.

SY Zao housed one large fridge in the galley, and another even larger fridge/freezer in the Master Cabin (port pontoon), with plenty cupboard room to stockpile two weeks worth of provisions of three meals a day for six people.

The day of our Departure, right after Dave's Safety Brief, I offered up a Galley Brief to all. I explained the whereabouts of all provisions, with the hopes that everyone could dig in and help themselves. The last item served up (pardon that pun!) was a discussion on Garbage!

For anyone who has ever done a lengthy passage knows, with sun and heat, there can soon be unmistakeable whiffs of Odorous Things. Any items housing food (juice boxes or yogurt for example) should be washed out, the container flattened and only then should it be put in the garbage! Any food waste (eggshells, peels and coffee grounds for example) went overboard.

"Lunch-time" announced Sheryl, "Pizza's on!"



We grabbed our plates and hungrily faced a choice of three different, freshly baked pizza's. As well as a large bowl of salad.

And as we sat down, Dave asked Paul: "Have you noticed the Fuel Levels?"

Turns out SY Zao was a little thirstier than we had anticipated. But that's a Dish best served Next Meal, this one's getting cold. Cheers!


...

** Eggs! North America, in an effort to sterilize and offer consumers a clean(er) product, started washing the eggs with a solution. That solution actually removed natural products from the egg, so the egg then had to be coated with another solution, which needs to be refrigerated. In the Caribbean Islands and Europe, eggs are NOT refrigerated.

** PPFT: Stay tuned for Part 3 where I fully disclose all the PPFT's en route!

** Interested in the Boston Cream Cake Recipe? I'll include it in my last Blog Post of this Series.

Credit: Photo credit given to Distant Shores, Dan and Craig for whatever photos appear here that are not mine.
Vessel Name: Banyan
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau 40 Sun Odyssey
Hailing Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Crew: David & Alexandra
About:
Welcome Aboard. I'm Alexandra, and if I'm not out Adventuring with Camera in Hand, or cheffing up a storm in my galley, I'm looking to pirate some WiFi to upload our latest tales (with way too many photos) about our most recent adventures. [...]
Extra: CHART YOUR COURSE: Our destiny is shaped by our thoughts and actions. We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.
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Banyan's Photos - July 2017
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The Adventures of Alexandra and David

Who: David & Alexandra
Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
We're always Somewhere South of Somewhere.

The Banyan Love is Growing.

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Our friends Paul and Sheryl Shard, of Distant Shores, are incredible producers of their very own TV Show.

If you haven't already, check them out.

Their DVD's are informative and fun to watch as they travel to all four corners of the world.

You might even find Banyan in some of them!!