01 May 2010 | Underway from Mexico to Marquesas
This afternoon I can feel the islands of the south pacific. It is the first time; before, the ocean just spoke of herself as if she could go on forever just being her dance with wind and sun and moon, It seems she knows we are here, though her main preoccupation is movement.
There is no going half way with this part of the trip, like in childbirth you ride with it joyously or grumpily thru all the variations of movement and weather, the moods of your fellow traveler, like the weather too, ever changing.
Joe's blog is poetic and evocative, fanciful and joyful with the innocence of a child and the boldness of a virile young man. I wonder at his prose and delight in it, occasionally when asked offering a word of caution that it might be too self indulgent or off beat, but mostly just delighted he speaks without clich√© in this land of bland blognesses.
So I have been the silent one, let him do the talking, the relating, 'till tonight. After reading many books and many of Joe's blogs I speak from the galley as it were. A woman, the non-sailor of the two, relating to nature our grandest companion and to Joe and to all of the souls I love who come into my mind, my children and Joe's, my parents and the fathers of my children and their partners, my friends new and old, they parade thru my mind and I give thanks for them and speak lovingly to them when they appear. With technology of course we can speak to many thru emails and we make new friends with the short wave radio, but even so the over riding sensation is the time that this voyage gives to pay attention to the souls who rise up in my awareness to be blessed and offered thanks for all the gifts that they have given me.. It matters not if they are in a body or beyond their bodies they rise up in my mind.
So as the second mate and wife, my roles consist of managing the daily victuals, my share of the watches and deck work, cleaning and maintaining order in our small space. Though compared to some our boat is large, still there are always issues with where to put things, and with our old brains - where did we put it? More than anywhere else, a place for everything and everything in its place.
Joe gives you tidbits, of my cooking. I am pleased that my creativity has this avenue to express itself, as we go further the fresh supplies diminish, and I will start sprouting seeds again for the shock of freshness that sprouts do bring.
Tomorrow in the doldrums I will make a Salsa Verde, with the tomatillo that I bought in Mexico and the fresh hot peppers, not so fresh now, and I will bottle it for the sensation of Mexico in a bottle to take with us.
In Australia tortillas are so expensive, just for a dozen I remember it costing around $2.00. In Mexico fresh tortillas are 6 pesos for a kilo, which is probably 140 tortillas or more for less than fifty cents! Joe doesn't get it, my love affair with tortillas, but growing up in California they were to some extent my daily bread. Now with one more bundle in the freezer I say farewell to abundant tortillas!
I also plan to make yogurt, tomorrow, I have the starter, and soon I will make a sour dough starter from potato; my old one died when I went to the USA. Too bad, it was a 180 year old starter from San Francisco. So this will be a one week old starter from middle of the ocean sour dough!
The skills I evolved growing up with an amazing cook, my mother Ruth, and then honed by my time with Greg, where the rules were if you could not grow it or harvest it from the wild, you went without. It was then I learned the inventiveness of what might give the same effect as a known ingredient, plums for tomatoes etc. And truly I discovered if I imagined I added an ingredient it seemed to have an effect. And from that time of course bread, yogurt, sprouts, etc. are all there. Also, I have been feeling gratitude for all the chefs who worked at our restaurant, I learned from each of them. From Anik whose French provincial roots, meant that everything, all the trimmings went into the stock pot! I do that here and so the soups are so much richer in flavour than just a stock cube here and there. Though if Joe ventures into the galley to do a spot of washing up often the trimmings go into the rubbish and that's the end of that soup stock. I never mind, it is less bother really, doesn't mean I don't bellow a bit on how could he not know! And from Jack the attention required for baking, precise measurements. From Bret, our most challenging chef, different ways to use fresh herbs. Mint in the salsa instead of celantro or basil!
The sea tonight is settling down after many days of wild rides, as Joe has so eloquently described. She is kind of purring, the boat gently swaying from side to side instead of this rollicking frolicking ride.
We slip into the doldrums, the ITCZ . We have cranked our course back a bit to arrive at intermediate waypoint 05 N 127 W, to help counteract the effects of the now prevalent south wind from 05 N to may be as much as 01 . This on the advice of our weather guru who daily informs us of what this bizarre huge area of unsettled weather can do. May be Joe told you, it is where the two huge weather systems meet, northern and southern hemispheres, and now, this late in the season apparently the northward movement of the sun is pulling it northward and now there is potentially 300 miles of south winds ahead of us! So hopefully we can go south west thru the ITCZ and we won't have to beat into the wind after we pass the ITCZ as we reach the south east trades south of the equator. Heading to 09 south and about 145 west (from memory) where the Marquesas lie.
The window for passage making is really just from last two weeks in March to second week in April, I think, to time it for best trade winds and less ITCZ and no hurricanes either in the Northern Hemisphere or the Southern Hemisphere.. Quite a small window.