3/4 the way round the world.
19 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
Â¾ the way around the world.
A couple of days ago we passed the Â¾ mark. Not Â¾ the way to the Marqueses but Â¾ of the way around the world. We still have a long way to go on this passage although we are doing good daily miles, 187 miles in the last 24 hours. We had to take our big gennaker down in the night, with the wind gusting up to 20 knots it was time for the genoa. We still sailed on through the night at a respectable 8.5 to 9 knots which is fast for us.
On starry nights such as last night we enjoy looking out to port to see the familiar Southern Cross keeping us company as we cross the Pacific. Today is only our second day of clear sunny blue sky since we left Port Villamil. Another first today we had enough small squid on deck this morning for a tasty appetiser for lunch.
The day before we left Isla Isabella a small group of cruisers went up to a farm on the volcanic slopes of Sierra Negra. The mountain is a live volcano , it last erupted in 2005. The warm rich soil on its slopes grow luscious fruit and crisp vegetables. We were able to pick or get the young farm worker to cut down and dig up the produce we wanted. This is the end of the season for the farm but there were still enough things to fill our bags. We picked green tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, aubergine, melons and much more. The young lad cut down large branches of bananas, and pineapples. He reached up high to get some of the last limes for us. He went off with his wheel barrow to get the papaya and came back with it laden down with very big papaya. I thought I would get 4 until I saw their massive size. Two is enough for us I just hope they both don't ripen at the same time.
While our produce was being priced we were entertained by a gaggle of fluffy ducklings and chirpy chickens enjoying pecking at old bananas and melons. Two young ducklings were getting tired of being chased away by their older cousins so they hopped right into an empty half melon and finished up what was left.
We like to get unrefrigerated produce especially for passages as it keeps longer. Picking our own vegetables was a different way for we usually go to the local markets. Asking for a kilo of this and four of these or a pot of this is a good way to learn the basics of a foreign language. When people have asked us about pirates I always say that the only pirates we have encountered were the market vendors who saw us coming and doubled the prices. Not in all countries of course. I like going to markets where we can people watch take photos and buy fresh food. At the Massawa in Eritrea the weekly market spreads out over a dusty piece of ground. People from the mountains come every week to buy, sell and chat. The woman wear gold nose rings and dress in bright colours, lime greens, bright reds and gorgeous oranges. The men somehow keep their white turbans clean in the dusty atmosphere.
In Turkey the Finike Saturday market is well organised, streets are shut down and people come from miles around to buy and sell the local produce. After many weeks sailing up the Red Sea where, the variety of produce is limited, the Finike market was a sensory overload. The market smelt of strawberries and cherries, juicy oranges and fresh greens, tomatoes, olives, purple aubergine , cheeses in goat skins, dried apricots, honey , fresh trout, we didn't know what to taste or buy first. I always looked forward to Saturday when we wintered over at the Finike marina.
Maurole in Indonesia had one of the most interesting settings for a market. When we went through Indonesia in Talitha with the Darwin/Indonesian rally we had an official stop in Maurole on the north coast of Flores Island. The people there had gone to a lot of trouble for our stop. A new round thatch covered open sided building had been built right by the sandy beach. Next to that was a temporary produce market selling a wide array of produce grown in the rich volcanic soil. Each vendor had much the same produce to sell, carrots, potatoes, cabbages and beans as well as all the fruit you would expect in a tropical market. My favourite was the large juicy passion fruit on just a few stalls. It was here at Maurole that the Kiwi contingent thought that the warm welcome warranted a haka at the official dinner. Our version of the Haka was wildly applauded and an encore was requested but the team wisely decided once was enough.
The Sale souk in Morocco was full of winding lanes. There did not seem to be one area for produce. Vendors sold from hand carts and boxes in doorways straggling along the streets. Some produce stalls were in the same street as shops selling goats heads, naked turkeys and cows feet and of all things handbags and shoes!
Across the river the extensive Rabat souk had everything from cows heads, horse steaks, souvenirs, headscarves, pyramids of fried eggs ready to eat and high fashion. The trouble was remembering where everything was, each time we went we discovered something new and often couldn't find the shop we wanted to return too. Although I could always find my way to the carpet souk....funny that!
We are now going to be at sea for 20 days, hopefully less, and Alan is happy no shops, no ATMs nothing to buy. Out here the only market we are involved in is the fish market and they come on a hook just in time for dinner. Tonight, mahimahi..