3 August 2019, Spanish Water, Curacao
After removing the many layers of varnish with a paint-remover last Friday we spent the following weekend and almost the whole succeeding week redoing the saloon table. With the help of a sharp thin knife and lots of water Elisabeth removed the thin layer of beech veneer, called masurbjörk in Swedish, which had started to get 'bubbles' from the plywood table. It took her more than twenty hours. The plywood under, which is the actual tabletop, was slightly damaged in the process and it took, subsequently, many hours of filling and sanding before the plywood surface was ready for painting. We used ordinary 'light' furniture filler which is easy to work with. Sanding it gives lots of fine powder-like white dust that finds its way through the whole boat even if we closed all hatches before we started. Unfortunately the table was too big to fit through the hatch so all work had to be done with the table in place. After the fifth, and last, filling and sanding we cleaned the surface thoroughly before applying the first layer of enamel. We had chosen a semi-gloss egg-white colour which fits well with the teak interior of Bengt. The second layer was applied in the afternoon on a hot day so we forgot to close the hatches and take down the wind-scoop. The result was lots of dust on the newly painted surface so, after drying, we had to sand and clean one more time before applying a final third layer of enamel. This time we closed all hatches and portholes and went ashore for a few hours to let the paint dry. After we returned we could open everything again and let the paint harden not forgetting not to use the table for a week or so. The day after, a Thursday, we oiled and waxed the teak trimming around the table, screwed the little glass rack back in place and ... ready. Looking good!
Slowly the 'things-to-do' list is getting shorter and shorter but there are still some 'nice' items on it, like making a hatch cover in plywood for the fronthatch to protect it in heavy conditions and cleaning the stoves and their chimneys. The little parcel with the spare propeller for the outboard, which my mother had send, finally arrived after 14 days. The post office in Holland had promised a 4-8 days delivery. Fortunately the OCC-port officer on Curacao, Victor, was kind enough to let us use his address so we have no problems with getting parcels send. The Aquair 100 combined wind and water generator is on its way to him as well. Even the new rudder blade for the windvane will be send there. After that we hope to leave for Aruba and beyond. Our feet are getting itchy, the Pacific is calling.
We payed 150 USD for the transport of the 15 kilo heavy Aquair from Tampa, Florida to Curacao so we thought that was it. But no, IPS wanted another 30 USD for 'local delivery' which makes for a total of 180 USD. We also had to pay customs duty of 50 USD in advance. We are a 'Yacht in Transit' which is very clearly written on the address label but we had to prepay customs duty anyway, off course we get most of it back when we leave Curacao but the paperwork is a hassle and the costs are 7 USD per parcel.
Being a member of a sailing club like the OCC (Ocean Cruising Club) is a real benefit, not only because you meet a lot of likeminded sailors (who have to have done an ocean passage of at least 1000 miles to become a member) but the club also has an extensive network of port-officers who are very helpful and assist you in any way they can. Until now we have only met the most friendly and helpful port-officers on our travelings with Bengt. Be it Augustin or Mel in the Canaries, Victor on Curacao or Martin on Dominica, they all have been like 'family'.
Thursday night we attended the 'Captains Dinner' at 'The Pier' again. This time we were served good tasting grilled shrimps with fries and a salad. We met some more people we had not met otherwise. Especially the Dutch couple Lucas and Matty were interesting to meet. They had sailed their home-build catamaran 'Tipsy Turtle' to Cape Horn and back and had not only lots of horror stories to tell but had lots of good advice to give as well. Nowadays they live on Curacao and have a small guesthouse which they rent out to naturists and likeminded people. At the dinner table Elisabeth was seated next to a girl from Austria who had a sister living in Stockholm who is married to a Swede. She had never tasted 'kanelbullar', cinnamon rolls, before she visited her sister in Sweden but she really liked them very much. Elisabeth started longing for 'kanelbullar' so she made a bunch the next morning. This was on a Friday and in Sweden we have something called 'fredagsfika'. A break at work, mostly with coffee and cake, to celebrate the end of the working week. We have Friday every day and the only work we do is maintaining Bengt but we had a nice 'fredagsfika' with freshly baked cinnamon buns and strong coffee anyway.
Life is hard!
Kanelbullar or cinnamon buns are a classic at Swedish coffee parties. During the golden age of home baking, such parties turned into orgies of sweet yeast breads, small cookies, cookies with fillings, pastries and cakes. This tradition lives on in Sweden. If you are invited to someone's home for coffee, you always get a cinnamon bun, a cookie or a piece of cake with it. And at cafés, dainty little cookies continue to compete with all those supersized American muffins.
35 g (1¼ oz) yeast
100 g (3½ oz) sugar
300 ml (1½ cup) milk
120 g (4 oz) butter
1 tsp salt
1 tbs ground cardemom
750 g (26 oz) flour
100 g (4 oz) butter
50 g (2 oz) sugar
2 tbs cinammon
2 tbs water
Crumble the yeast in a bowl and stir in a few tablespoons of milk. Melt the butter and pour the milk on it. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead the dough in a dough mixer for 10-15 minutes. Let the dough rise while covered at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough so it is about 3 mm (1/8 in) thick and 30 cm (12 in) wide. Spread the room-temperature butter on top. Make a mixture of sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle it over the dough. Roll the dough the long way and cut the roll into about 25 slices. Place them with the cut edge upward in paper molds. Place on a baking sheet and let rise under a towel for about 60 minutes or until the buns have doubled in size.
Beat together the egg and water, brush the mixture carefully on the buns and sprinkle pearl sugar on top. Bake in the oven (220°C/425°F) for 5-6 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack.