Archive for the Category »Cooking «

Sights From St. Augustine

After a few day hops up the ICW we landed at Hidden Harbor Marina to explore the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, FL.

Historic downtown St. Augustine from the water

While we had plans to take a mooring ball ($20) at the municipal marina (anchoring is a little sketchy with the currents), a blog friend, “Captain Peppers”, turned us onto Hidden Harbor Marina. Just two miles up the San Sebastian River, the marina truly is one of St. Augustine’s best kept secrets! Secure, impeccably clean, cruiser-managed and ideally located across from the winery and a short walk to beautiful, historic downtown St. Augustine. Ah, and their rates – just $25/nt., utilities included! Bonus: There’s even a community garden where we were given fresh tomatoes and potatoes upon checking in. We can’t say enough about this place and its outstanding dockmasters, David and Hayla.

“Kaleo” resting at Hidden Harbor Marina

With Kaleo tied up we spent the past two days:

  • Hiking to West Marine for a few project parts and the grocery store to stock up on fresh foods
  • Making Chicken Tiki Masala dinner which before joining “Captain Peppers” (who lives at Hidden Harbor) for a sundowner aboard his cruising boat. We had a nice time hearing about his cruising plans and sharing some of our experiences.
  • Exploring Old Town St. Augustine, with its narrow cobblestone streets, quaint cafes (snack break at the Spanish Bakery for empanadas), unique shops, the grand Flagler College (the former Ponce de Leon Hotel of the 1890’s) and the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in America

St. Augustine City Hall

The east cannon wall of the fort

Just checkin’ things out

  • Lunching at Carmelo’s Marketplace, home to the best pizza in town and only a short walk from the marina
  • Touring San Sebastian Winery, where the vintners make several varieties of sweet wine out of the native Florida muscadine grape. The gratis tour included an extensive tasting session and all sorts of wine-related recipes and entertaining tips from our enthusiastic guide.

The winery on the San Sebastian River, across from the marina

Casks full of Port

  • Listening to Hawaiian Jazz music at a complimentary concert in the plaza with a wine smoothie – yes, a frosty wine smoothie (!) to top off the night

Concert in the Plaza

  • Checking off a few boat projects like changing the oil, topping off fuel, replacing a deck fill and housecleaning
  • Baking a stuffed artichoke to share with sundowners

Stuffing the artichoke to steam/bake

  • Driving, yes driving, to run a few errands as David let us borrow the marina truck (another perk of a cruiser-managed marina)
  • Hanging out with new friends, Gregg and Jo on “Simpatico”, who were in the Bahamas this season but we had just met while anchored in Daytona Beach. They’re a lively couple from Nebraska and we enjoyed talking all things cruising and which boats are mutual friends.

Overall, St. Augustine is a city filled with rich Spanish history and was a great way to wrap up our sail through Florida.

Easter Weekend in Thompson Bay

The flat calm of Thompson Bay was a welcome sight after having spent most of Thursday motoring up from the Jumentos at a wobbling pace slower than most people walk.

Long Island Breeze Resort

Exhausted and covered in salt, we anchored “Kaleo” just before the sky opened up with a boat cleansing rainstorm. We took the next day to recover, to catch-up with friends and family on Skype, and to enjoy being “back on the grid.”

On Saturday night Long Island Breeze, a local resort, hosted a pool and pizza party with an invite to the cruisers in the anchorage. Two of the two boats in the anchorage (“Kaleo” and “MG”) dinghied up the dock as the sound of tropical tunes floated from the pool deck.

All cleaned up for the party

While kicking back by the pool, enjoying conch fritters, rum drinks and pizza, we met a couple from Ohio. John and Penny live on Long Island six months out the year in a self-built house overlooking Thompson Bay. We became fast friends and were soon invited to visit their home during our stay.

Easter Sunday we walked to the church that we had attended a few weeks ago. During the opening announcements the paster mentioned that the day’s service would be seven hours long! He then shared that guests should not feel obligated to stay for the entire service but could if they felt led to do so. After two hours, we quietly excused ourselves back to our boats but had to commend their dedication.

 Easter Dinner aboard “Morning Glory”

 Easter Dinner

The gals planned and prepared a celebratory Easter dinner of deviled eggs, tomatoes in olive oil, chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, and Christie’s homemade chocolate chip cookies (lovin’ the new Betty on board). With tummy’s full, we lounged around and played a game of Mexican Train. During one particularly quiet moment, the VHF crackled to life with a familiar and welcome voice, “Kaleo, Kaleo, this is Sea Yawl Later.”

Ted and Mili had spoken to them the night before by cell phone and told us of their plans to try and make it to Thompson Bay for Easter but it wasn’t a definite. “SYL, this is Kaleo, wanna go 18?” “18 Copy.” We switched the radio channel to 18 with excitement. The VHF only has a range of 25 miles, meaning that “SYL” was somewhere within 25 miles of us.

Matt: “Hey Rusty, where are ya’ll?”

Rusty: “We’re at Comer West (a GPS waypoint we all know from our charts), trying to decide between going straight for George Town or bashing into the headwinds to come your way.”

Matt: “Well I understand not wanting to bash into the wind, it wasn’t fun for us. But … if you decide to come on over, we have plenty of Easter dinner and warm chocolate chip cookies.”

Rusty: “See you in a few hours.”

Matt: (With a cheer in the background from everyone else) “Alright! We’re looking forward to it. Holler if you need anything in the meantime. Kaleo back to 16”

Rusty: “Back to 16”

Another round of Mexican train, a trip back to the boats to clean up and before we knew it, “SYL” was anchored off our port side. Everyone quickly gathered aboard “MG” for a reunion dinner where we swapped stories until well into the evening.

Monday came with gray clouds and a day of off and on rain. We timed a break in between showers to visit our new Long Islander friends, John and Penny. They opened their incredible home to us as we took in their breathtaking view of Thompson Bay and learned more about living on Long Island.

Later that evening, upbeat Bahamian music drifted curiously over the water to our boats which reminded us of the Easter Monday festival at the nearby Regatta Point. Within minutes, we were on our way to join the occasion. Our ears were filled with dance-worthy Bahamian tunes, our eyes with local Long Islanders enjoying themselves, and our noses with the savory smells of chicken, grouper, steaks, Bahamian mac n’ cheese, peas n’ rice and tons of other side dishes.

Some new friends who gave great advice on what to have for dinner

We ran into some locals we had come to know, sampled our way through the Bahamian fare, and to the entertainment of everyone, Matt jumped on stage to dance to the Rake and Scrape band. A Bahamian woman showed Matt a few moves and he was soon bouncing to the beat with the best of them. We all laughed, cheered and encouraged his dance antics to songs like “The Polka with Juanita” and “Dinga-a-linga-ling.”

A peaceful dingy ride home wrapped up our time in Long Island, as we had plans to sail for George Town the next morning. Tuesday marks the start of the Family Island Regatta, an annual Bahamian sailboat race event, and we have a local Long Island race boat to cheer for! Go No. 5, Running Tide!

N 23° 21.18 / W 75° 07.79

The Jumentos

Over the past week we have truly been off the grid anchored in some of the most remote islands in the Bahamas.

 Kaleo under sail to the Jumentos

The Jumentos are a short chain of small rocky islands about 60 miles from Cuba at the closest point. There are few protected anchorages around these ocean-exposed islands and we became accustomed to the constant rolling motion of Kaleo being rocked back and forth in the cradle of ocean swell. Most of the time the swaying was tolerable but four times per day, when the tides changed, the motion caused a ceaseless clanging of everything shifting within the boat. Thankfully, the majority of our time was spent off the boat exploring the islands’ rugged beauty and hanging with Ted and Mili aboard their more stable, two-legged cat.

Matt on a quest for coconuts

Our anchorage in Water Cay

For what the Jumentos lack in conveniences and calm anchorages, it makes up for in rugged, untouched territory ripe for adventure. Our daily excursions had us:

  • Living resourcefully by catching and baking our food, making fresh water from the sea, burning to dispose of our trash, and keeping ourselves constantly entertained with nature and each other
  • Dingy exploring a large cave on Flamingo Cay

Coming out of Flamingo Cay Cave

  • Hiking cliffs overlooking the ocean while the gals hunted the beaches for washed-up treasures

The captain and his winged friend exploring

  • Visiting with “Maggie M”, a boat we crossed over from Marathon with, and meeting their friends on “Three Penny Opera”
  • Surveying the wreckage of a seaplane along a nearly perfect sandy crescent beach

Seaplane wreckage

  • Spearfishing where Matt speared his first fish, a Queen Triggerfish. On one trip out, Matt speared a fish that got off and hid under a rock. The injured fish quickly attracted two 5-6 foot sharks looking for an easy meal. Matt swam off deciding not to come between the sharks and the meal he had just prepared for one of them.
  • Hosting a bake-a-thon, whipping up fresh french bread, an apple crisp and vanilla ice cream
  • Enjoying Sunday boat church service, courtesy of, followed by conversation in fellowship that truly brings home the message
  • Beachcombing Water Cay for sea beans, tropical shells, and rare colors of sea glass
  • Sharing hearty meals and meaningful conversations while watching for the ever-elusive “green flash” at sunset

Our time in the Jumentos wrapped up as strong winds and sea states were forecast to move into the area by mid-week. So, we were early to bed on Wednesday night with plans for a 6:00 a.m. departure to make the 40 mile upwind battle back to Thompson Bay for Easter Weekend.

Ice Cream For Cruisers

They say “necessity is the mother of invention”.

The makings of a very cool treat

While we were in the remote Jumentos (no stores nor services within a full day’s sail), Mili baked the most enticing apple crisp one afternoon. Only one thing was missing from complimenting her beautiful creation. Ice cream. Creamy, cold, refreshing ice cream.

And that’s when it hit me.

A couple of summers ago, at FC Kids Camp, we taught our cabin of girls to make individual servings of handmade vanilla ice cream. What a perfect treat for cruisers craving this hard-to-keep treat (boat freezers are really small)!

So, I immediately dropped below the companionway stairs and into the galley to find the few ingredients needed to shake, shake, shake up a few batches. Here’s all’s that is needed to make your own.

What you’ll need:

  • Sandwich & Quart zipper bags
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp rock or sea salt
  • 2 cups ice cubes (1 ice cube tray worth or use the ice when defrosting your freezer)

How to make it:

  1. Fill the large bag with ice, and add the rock or sea salt. Seal the bag.
  2. Put milk, sugar, and vanilla into the small bag, and seal it.
  3. Place the small bag inside the large one, and seal it again carefully.
  4. Shake, shake, shake until the mixture thickens into ice cream, which takes about 5 minutes or so.
  5. Wipe off the top of the small bag, then open it carefully. Enjoy!

A 1/2 cup milk will make about 1 scoop of ice cream, so double the recipe if you want more. You can also dice up and add dried fruit you may have aboard (mango, peaches, pineapple, apple) for flavored ice cream.

Dejarlo* French Bread

Also while in the Jumentos, we needed bread yet were no where near the convenience of picking up a loaf. So, it was round two of tapping into my inner “Betty Crocker”.  With Mili’s coaching, we baked (grilled actually) the following bread recipe.

Betty” going to town with her wine bottle rolling pin

A couple of freshly grilled loaves

Dejarlo’s* French Bread

Small Bowl – Stir together yeast mix and let rise

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 TBSP yeast

Large Bowl – Stir together

  • 2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP oil

When yeast mix has risen, add to large bowl

  • Add 6 1/2 cups of flour (if using wheat or multigrain, use 2 1/2 cup wheat or multigrain to 4 cups white)
  • Stir into ball and set aside
  • Grease large bowl
  • Put mixture back into large bowl and cover to let rise
  • Set timer to 10 minutes
  • Push down with spoon and stir around
  • Reset timer for a total of 5 times (yes, that’s an hour to let the bread rise and fall, rise and fall, and rise)
  • Divide into 2 balls (for 2 large loafs) and let rise once more for 10 minutes
  • Roll each ball out into rectangles
  • Roll up from long side and fold ends under
  • Turn over and pinch sides together
  • Place on greased sheet
  • Cut diagonally across 4 times
  • Cover and let rise to double
  • Bake 20-23 minutes at 400°

* Recipe shared by Pam of s/v Dejarlo during her “Eating Well While Cruising” infosession in George Town.

A Few Firsts Near Dollar Harbour

The sail from Little to Dollar Harbour was an easy downwind run highlighted by cracking open a fresh coconut we had gathered a few days before.

After whacking the coconut with just about every heavy thing on board it finally succumbed to a large pipe wrench. It provided a half glass of milk and a ton of rich, white coconut meat. It was a bit too sweet for Matt, but Christie enjoyed some for an afternoon snack and we shared the rest with “MG”.

Coconut waiting to be cracked

The perfect sailing snack

Enjoying fresh coconut wasn’t our only first that day. Up next, we sailed alongside a rapidly moving squall that dropped another first for us. Off our port side, we watched as a waterspout danced beautifully about a mile from our course line and entrance into Dollar Harbour.

Squall off our port side

With winding waterspout

The narrow channel leading into the anchorage is already tricky to enter with many shoals, rocks, and submerged reefs. Albeit captivating, the approaching storm gave us one more potential obstacle to manage as we navigated our course. Thankfully the squall passed south of us and we were able to anchor uneventfully.

Once the hook was secured, Christie went for another first by baking homemade, all-natural english muffins for the crews. Topped with Nutella, they were a delish dinner dessert and made for hearty breakfast sandwiches the following morning as we got underway for the Jumentos.

N 23° 11.75 / W 75° 15.32

Easy, All Natural English Muffins

I’ve started embracing my inner “Betty Crocker” lately and have decided to learn to cook (with Mili’s coaching) at least three things from scratch while cruising. First up, English Muffins.

English Muffins fresh from the oven

What we like most about these bready treats are they’re really tasty, are all-natural (no preservatives) and are easily made with on-board ingredients and don’t require milk nor eggs (semi-precious commodities out here).

  • 1 Tsp Honey (or Agave Nectar) in 1 Cup of warm water
  • 1 TBSP Yeast
  • 1/4 Cup Oil
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • 3 Cups Flour (we use 1 cup of whole wheat and 2 cups of white)

Stir all above ingredients together

  • Mix and knead until smooth
  • Roll out to 1 inch thick
  • Cut to desired size (we press out the muffins using a standard cup rim)
  • Sprinkle top and bottom lightly with corn meal
  • Double pan fry (spray olive oil in pan and cook each side on low heat)
  • After they cool, Fork pierce each muffin to create signature “nooks and crannies”
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...