Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Food & Drink - Peanut Rum...YUM

We discovered the Peanut Butter Cup Martini at Cargo's Portside Grill in Brunswick GA. A key ingredient is peanut rum from St Lucia. It isn't easy but Cap10 Tom tracked some down from a NY online distributor and purchased two bottles. One of which is almost gone as we experiment making various yummy desert drinks in preparation for the holidays.
In case you can't stop by for one during the holidays, here are the links you will need to make your own.

Honey Ryder Projects - Screens

Little things can make such a big difference. The addition of two little hinges now means that when it starts to rain in the middle of the night and I have to quickly close the hatch above our heads, it will no longer involve me getting bonked on the head by the screen, two failed attempts to reinstall it (after closing the hatch) and subsequent swearing because I can't get it back up in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping. Thank you Cap10 Tom for installing these.

Sailoft success

s/v Honey Ryder has a piece of Sunbrella that connects between the dodger and bimini. First it wouldn't go on because of a crushed zipper. Earl at KC Sailing helped me fix that. But still it wouldn't completely zip on. Hrrmph!
Finally I discovered that it wasn't cut evenly and one corner was just too small. It is a nicely made piece and I hated to totally trash it. So after spending the summer dragging it back and forth to the boat each time and much figuring and ciphering.....I successfully sewed a modification that now works like a charm.

The Two Most Important People in Brunswick GA

Sherry Jackson, our Dock Mistress at Brunswick Landing Marina and Angie, our West Marine chick.

Defining Thanksgiving

Wikipedia - Thanksgiving Day - is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Traditionally, it has been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. While there was an underlying religious element in the original celebration, Thanksgiving today is primarily identified as a secular holiday.[1]Although earlier feasts are known to have taken place, Thanksgiving as it is known and celebrated today derives from a joint celebration between the Pilgrim settlers of Plymouth, Massachusetts and members of the Native American Patuxet tribe of the Wampanoag people in 1621.
After the no see-ums chased us from the Tgiving Potluck, we invited cruisers Tim, Melinda & Steven over to Honey Ryder for an after party. As Aussies and Kiwis, they admitted that they had to look up Thanksgiving Day on Wikipedia. Seems strange but we forget that it's primarily an American/Canadian holiday.
Earlier in the day, we visited with a Canadian Caliber 47 cruiser. I commented that this would be his second TGiving since the Canadian holiday is in Oct. His comment was that theirs isn't nearly as big a deal as the American one because of all the Black Friday stuff. Tom and I were horrified. OMG! So the rest of the world thinks the USA Thanksgiving is one day of non-stop eating and one day of non-stop shopping. I assured him that Black Friday is NOT part of the Thanksgiving holiday tradition. However now that I think about, how sad are we. Anyway...the after party was great fun as we discussed sailing/cruising adventures, boats, travels in the USA, our hometowns, slang words and many other interesting topics.
Saturday Tim and Melinda popped around again to invite us to a lovely steak dinner on their boat. Cruiser are the best!

TGiving Day Potluck

Brunswick Landing Marina hosted a great TGiving Potluck. Two 20 lbs smoked turkeys, two 20 lbs grilled turkeys, 1 HUGE spiral ham, 3 Boston Butts. *Side note - a Canadian cruiser told us that morning there would be "something called a Boston Butt - Sherry says it's pork but I don't know what part." I assured him it is pork and in fact it is the pork shoulder. "But she called it a Boston Butt." "Yes, but it's actually the shoulder." I don't know if that helped him or made matters worse. Anywho...attendees were required to bring a side dish. And man did the cruisers ever comply. There was SO much good food. YUM Feast indeed.
Below our new neighbor Chris starts his special "cheesy potatoes casserole".
I opted for straight on traditional mash potatoes, gravy and store bought rolls. *Check out the boat friendly swivels, pivots and folds very flat for storage. Table clothes covered the laundry machines so we could put out the spread and the chow line was formed.It was nice enough to eat outside. Until the end of the party when the no see ums came out for their TGiving feast on us. Still scratching.But like all the other holidays celebrated here in America...what holiday wouldn't be complete without some cannon fire. Jake from Dock #12 who by the way... looks like sailor Bob Bitchin's younger brother, brought this ear drum buster. He build this himself, keeps it stashed on his boat and isn't afraid to use it on any special occasions. Repeatedly! I was afraid to ask if he declares it when he cruises to other countries - some topics such as firearms on boats, are best left for non-holiday discussion times.

Fresh Out of Grandmas

Thanksgiving 2010 rolled around and we found ourselves "fresh out of grandmas" as Tom put it and therefore unable to head over the river and through the woods to grandma's we headed off to s/v Honey Ryder to spend the holiday. *Come on...what is wrong with a little holiday family humor to get us all ready for the season.
We waited too late for flights all the way in so instead we flew directly to Atlanta and drove the 4 1/2 hrs to Brunswick. Flying on the eve of TGiving with the hordes of people & CHILDREN (yikes) and new TSA "third date" pat downs all in the news, we were nervous. But the hype seemed to work in our favor and scare people off. Parking was a breeze and the new "prison love" style pat down wasn't all that bad. Even traffic out of Atlanta was ok. Driving late at night through the woods of GA we did have to keep our eyes peeled for critters. The grand total was 2 coyote, 1 possum, 1 deer and 1 dog - all heart stopping sightings and all happily still alive. The last 1 1/2 hr as we approached the coast we drove in and out of fog. In Brunswick it was pretty thick and didn't burn off until mid morning.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Splicing Class

One of the things we like about sailing is that you are constantly challenged, constantly learning. In the past few years we have pushed ourselves further to learn more and expand our sailing skills. Kansas City Sailing in Lawrence KS offered for the first time a "Splicing class" last Saturday and we took it.

We learned about Rope - yes it's rope until is has a duty or role and then it becomes line. What various rope is made of, the various properties of different rope, how it's made and the applications. Then we started hands on splicing. Some was fairly easy. Some splicing is nothing short of a total mind bending exercise. Yeah, yeah...just like many other new things, practices makes perfect. I guess I know what we will be doing on Thanksgiving day in between feasting sessions.

St Bart Spicy Olives

The holidays will soon be here. This means holiday gatherings as well and holiday food. I always keep this appetizer handy in case people stop by or we invite friends to a last minute dinner. We had these on the island of St Bart's in 2008. We were on a bareboat charter with our good friends Tim and Kim. After a less than stellar mooring, we cleared in, clean up and hit the first bar ashore. They offered these spicy olives along with 1664 beer - yum! I came home and tried to re-create the recipe and I think I am pretty close.

St Bart Spicy Olives
1 jar olives - drained
1 1/2 T tomato paste - approximately
1 t olive oil - approximately
lemon zest
hot sauce -to taste (preferable something from the islands)
Mix it all together and put it back in the olive jar

*For the record - we did NOT know that the mooring field was front and back moorings. We were very prepared for a front mooring. Not so much for front and back. The good news is that we did get safely moored front and back and we did not hit any other boats. It wasn't pretty but we accomplished what we needed to do. The bad news is that Tim had to jump in the water in his last set of dry boat clothes to retrieve the floating boat hook.

Honey's Tools

Even though s/v Honey Ryder came very well equipped, we are of course making changes, upgrades and such to make her ours and prepare for the many adventures the three of us will have in the future. This includes Honey's own laptop, and numerous charts - both paper and software as well as cruising guides.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sailing Trips - Savannah to Brunswick cont

The twists and turns of the ICW made the trip back just as long in hours as the sail up to Savannah on the outside. This meant we needed to find a spot to anchor. We got through Hells Gate - a tricky stretch and then pulled off in Redbird Creek. The chartplotter was alarmingly off in terms of depth but we did ok. Shoaling no doubt. We tossed out the hook and settled in amongst the marshland with no one for miles but thousands of birds. The current of the creek kept us in the middle however it swung us around 180 in the middle of the night so that our nose was headed out and the stern was into the wind. It was weird. We didn't realize the current would do that. Live and learn. *Little Mud Creek was the other hairy spot. We hit it at high tide and got through fine. No way we could have made it at any other time.
The next morning we headed out just before dawn.
It was chilly so we busted out the fleece, foulies and caps. I kept my feet warm in my sea boots. One of the best buys I have made.
Traffic was fairly light on the ICW. But we weren't the only ones.
Twelve and a half hours later we pulled into our slip. We completed trip up and back to Savannah, covering approx 195 nm. Perfect way to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary.

Sailing Trips - Savannah to Brunswick

For those non-sailors out there, the Inter Coastal Waterway or ICW as it is known to cruisers is a sort of water highway system that runs from Norfolk VA to Corpus Christie TX. It connects rivers and creeks, allowing boats to travel south without having to go out on the ocean.

Great in theory. However the ICW has it's own challenges. The biggest being the upkeep. Rivers flow into the sea - as many songs tell us. Tides rise and fall. All of this causes shoaling. Upkeep takes money and a very coordinated effort. Have you been watching Cspan? None of that is happening in at any level of government. This makes navigation on the ICW a challenge at times. Especially if you are traveling on a vessel with a 5'5" draft and 58'1/2" mast. Very little sailing if any gets done on the ICW. Constant attention is required in ICW navigation.

However, the flip side is traveling through some truly magically countryside brimming with wildlife of all types. Many quint little villages and marina's can be found on the ICW. Americana on the waterway. No, I did not copy that out of a cruising guide. Those are my flowery words!

Sailing trips - River monsters cont

Crap! I spoke too soon. Look what was coming around the bend on the river to greet us when we departed Savannah.

Sailing trips - Savannah river monsters

We did not know the port of Savannah is the 5th busiest container port in the US until we got there and read it in the cruising guide. This port does more container volume than NY and New Jersey together. Target, Wal-Mart, Ikea, Best Buy, Dollar General and many more have massive warehouses close by.
OMG! They are HUGE. And close!
And alarmingly quiet with very little wake. They ran day and night up and down the river. It was entertaining to sit in the cockpit of Honey Ryder at night and watch them ghost by.
And fast. One of these behemoth's radioed us before dawn as we were approaching the outer Savannah sea buoy. You would have thought Hammer Down Sea Salt was at the helm. It steamed by in no time flat. *Check out the orange escape pod on the back of the one above.
Of course the tugs were on the scene as well. Monsters in their own right. We found their movements fascinating. I have decided that I want to go out on a run with one of these workhorses.
Each one was different with different equipment.
Seeing these giants made me realize how lucky we were that it was only the USS Monterrey that overtook us on the sail up the Savannah River. While the warship was big, at least it had a moderate beam. These monster container ships basically take up the entire width of the river.

Sailing trips - Savannah people we met

3/4 of the fun of any adventure is the people you meet. This adventure was no different. Chaz is the dockmaster. If you go to Savannah - get river front dockage with him. He will take are of you. The pub Molly MacPherson's came recommended from sailors Tim and Melinda in Brunswick. Good call. Friendly regular Dave was interesting and pub owners the Boulanger's were super nice. Food was yummy and authentic....I think.
Our attempt to tour the warship failed but these two mates (Tony and Jon) were willing to chat about their lives as US seaman. We told them how impressed (and a tad intimidated) we were when they sailed pass on the river. They were equally impressed to learn that we sailed there on our own boat. They joined us on s/v Honey Ryder for a cold beer and more sailing talk. Really nice guys but then I have told you before....sailors in general rock.
They returned later with a gift for our hospitality, an official navy sailors hat. I had them sign it. Special K aka Kim had joined us by this time with boat gifts that include wine and beer. Soon we were trying to auction Kim off to raise $$ for future Honey Ryder adventures. Just kidding. As a navy brat she could talk the talk with them.
s/v Sirocco Irwin 46 with Bob & Lily and m/v Sea Love (?) joined s/v Honey Ryder along the river front. A quick visit with Bob and Lily convinced Tom and I to take the ICW back. They even loaned us their Waterway guide and Shipper Bob so we could make some notes before headed out. What did I tell ya....sailors are good people.

Sailing Trip - Savannah continued

We tied up along the historic river front, straightened up the boat a bit, rested, cleaned up and then hit the town. Savannah is SO historic. Very interesting. Below is the old river front wharf, now a shopping and tourist area. *But DON'T get in the way of the hundreds of women tourist coming to eat at Paula Deen's restaurant, buy her gourmet mixed and hopefully catch a glimpse of her or her family. I mean to tell you they will mow you down. 1/2 off all the tourist piling off a tour boat were there for the "Deen tour". You go girl!
Various historical groups have sponsored this monument or that plaque or this walking trail. All very well done.Some of the old buildings have been converted into law offices and dining establishments. We ate at 17 Hundred 90 with our sailing friend Kim. The name is from the year the house was built.

Below is the cemetery featured in the book and movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." A little further down the ICW is THE Moon River. The one Johnny Mercer sings about. And of course the Mercer/Williams house is a dominate character in the above book.

Not all was old. Below is the Olympic cauldron from the 1996 Atlanta based Olympic games. Seems the yachting events were held around Savannah.

Sailing Trips - Savannah

We decided to sail up to Savannah GA on the outside. The new chart software (that we are still learning to use) said it would take 20 hrs total. Savannah is approx 7 miles inland from the sea. We wanted to enter the Savannah river during the day light hours so we left Brunswick around 4pm. We made a nice over night run up the coast with an east wind that clocked around to the west by the time we hit the outer sea buoy. However the seas were a bit rolly. Four hour shifts were fine. By the way, we made it in 19 hrs and the new chart software rocks!
The Savannah river seems wide enough until this bad boy sailed up behind us. This is the warship USS Monterrey. OMG! Seriously. I was at the helm when they first sailed into my rear view mirror so to speak. However they radio us asking our course and then instructing us to stay as close a possible to the red channel markers and they would slide on by. And that they did. Very courteous. Sorry the pic is blurry. We didn't think it was smart to click away as they went by. Personally my hands were tightly gripping the helm. As you can see, they were already in their dress whites and on the rails. Once we reached port, Tom immediately looked it up on the web. Big time techie warship. Again....OMG!