17 February 2021 | 12 03.520'N:68 51.216'W, Spaanse Harbour, Curacao
12 03.520 N
68 51.216 W
Weather; sunny, wind n/a, waves n/a
HOORAY FOR SHROVE TUESDAY AND TRADITIONAL PANCAKES BRITISH STYLE!
Wow we are already at the beginning of Lent, the year is just whizzing by. Today, being Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday or more traditionally known as Shrove Tuesday or pancake day in the UK), there was just one thing to be done - make pancakes! Luckily I had just 2 lemons left in the fruit hanger so it was going to be very traditional fare for us. I couldn't get myself organized enough to do them for breakfast so it was going to be our lunch for the day.
Gerry organized breakfast and just as we sat down to drink our coffee we became aware of the catamaran that I have previously mentioned dropped its anchor too close to us was looking to be on the move, and so began our morning entertainment and it wasn't 8.30 yet! Whilst I have said that we aren't rocking and rolling like we were in Grenada, it is quite windy here and we tend to swing a fair amount on our anchor, this has the effect of putting our boat over the top of the anchor belonging to the catamaran at times which wouldn't happen if they had dropped their anchor behind us instead of alongside us. There was plenty of room when they arrived (and still is) but they chose to do the stupid thing and anchored where it was obvious we could be over their anchor in the windy conditions. Anyway they had started up their engine and were edging forward and trying to retrieve their anchor which was over to our starboard side but with the wind blowing both of us their boat was now out to our port side so their chain and anchor were decidedly underneath our boat. Gerry watched for a few minutes then decided to protect our interests and went out into the cockpit and dragged our wheel down from its overhead storage spot and put it in place then started up our engine. I went outside with coffee in hand to watch proceedings and fend off if necessary. The catamaran helmsman took it really slowly and edged closer and closer to our boat hauling in their anchor until the point where they just need one small step to be on our boat, at this point the anchor was still firmly attached to the sea bed. The swinging of both boats continued all the while keeping us over their anchor most of the time. They backed off and moved forward several times whilst Gerry steered our boat as far over to port as possible to give them a clear run at their anchor. It wasn't a happening thing, they got the chain in so far and then nothing - the anchor wasn't coming up. One of the guys jumped into the water to have a quick look at the chain to see what was happening, couldn't tell anything so they dropped back once again and put their bridle back on the anchor chain whilst they thought about what to do next. Gerry yelled out to them to check that the windlass wasn't stuck or "missing" as it wound the chain in - apparently it wasn't, they thought their anchor might be stuck under a rock. At this point we noticed that a few other boats had people lining their decks and watching the entertainment - after all anchoring and retrieving your anchor is a spectator sport! The guys on the catamaran had decided to dive the anchor and one of them had donned his scuba gear to do this and jumped in the water. Gerry now had to keep clear of their boat and a diver in the water trying to follow the anchor chain down to the point of the anchor. He surfaced after a few minutes, there was apparently no rock, they were just well stuck into the thick muddy bottom and needed to give the anchor a hard tug to free it. Once more they advanced towards our boat and Gerry steered us away from them as they finally managed to get their anchor free of the bottom and motored away from us. Gerry returned our wheel to its storage spot and went below to have a shower then I noticed that the catamaran had turned around out in the fairway and was heading back towards us, I yelled for Gerry to be prepared for a second avoidance tactic or maybe they were just coming around to say sorry for being such idiots and thanks for preventing an accident. It turned out to be a contraction of the second, they yelled out thanks for our help as they motored past us. Gerry was much more generous in his assessment of their anchoring than I was, he gave them the benefit of saying perhaps they were just inexperienced, in my opinion and if that was the case, surely you keep well clear of any and every boat that is already at anchor and if they were experienced sailors they should have known better especially as there was heaps of room for them to have dropped their anchor behind us and not alongside us. Oh well at least nothing bad happened in the end, but it was a good job that we were onboard as I have no idea how they would have maneuvered if we hadn't been able to move our boat as they motored towards us. So Gerry had his shower and got dressed, ready to go ashore as the hire car had to be returned at 10am. Whilst he was going ashore Gerry also decided to get another jerry can of fuel on the return to the boat. While he was gone I did the house work stuff and on his return I was just about ready to help him get the fuel back onboard but got yelled at to fetch some degreaser, kitchen towel and a plastic bag as he had managed to spill diesel in the dinghy and it was slippery and needed cleaning up. The jerry can got heaved onto the boat and I handed him the cleaning gear, in exchange he gave me our waterproof bag which needed cleaning as it had diesel all over it. Between us we spent the next few minutes cleaning up the dinghy floor, the waterproof bag and Gerry's shoes. Then he proudly showed off his little toe, which he said was broken, it wasn't but it is badly bruised - a lovely shade of purple and black. I ventured to ask about the spill - was it his fault and he admitted that it was, that's an admission to keep for another time! Once we had finished with the clean-up and Gerry had poured the diesel into the tank it was getting towards lunchtime so I set about making the pancakes, bringing to mind all those years that mum had slaved over the stove making them for our family of 6, its bad enough making enough for 2 never mind 6! They were delicious of course and we even have a couple left over for tomorrow which will get filled with Nutella. By now I was in the mood to do a bit more baking and decided to make Ginger bread, which was only put in mind as I had to buy a large bag of ginger powder in Grenada (no small containers for sale at the time) and I had an excess of the stuff. I found a recipe that I had never tried before and set to making it. It took longer to cook than the recipe said but that's down to our oven and to my surprise it turned out brilliantly, just needed some cream cheese icing and some crystalized ginger chopped up on top and it was ready for testing, I had even made 2 small loaves for freezing out of the recipe so that we have something sweet on hand as we travel. Despite my misgivings about how it looked before going in the oven this recipe is a keeper.
Our afternoon passed with nothing else exciting happening, a few windsurfers and small sailboats were again out on the water for us to watch the antics of as we approached cocktail hour. I threw a casserole in the oven as we couldn't be bothered with going back ashore or doing a lot of fussy cooking, it made dinner quick and easy followed by our usual routine of Netflix and bed.
If you celebrate Mardi Gras, I hope you had a fun day with lots of beads, magical colours, naked chests and the obligatory alcohol. If you only indulge in pancakes I hope they were spectacular with plenty of lemon and sugar.
For those that "do" Lent, good luck with whatever you have chosen to give up, 40 days and nights can seem like a lifetime without chocolate or alcohol so choose your "Given up" thing wisely (or maybe think of the weight you could lose?)! Anyway Happy Fat Tuesday one and all.