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Monday, December 3, 2012

COLD CUCUMBER SOUP ..............




Now you may not think that COLD CUCUMBER SOUP is anything of significance, and that would probably be true if you have never tasted it, or even if you had, and it wasn't made by the "Queen of Florida and the Bahamas", then it would probably still be true ....... But I tell you ....... This soup is worthy of a blog of its own ....... I even went so far as to take the dinghy ashore the next day to the island store, in order to get some more of the same ingredients, just so that the "Queen" could do it all again.......... Oh, this life we lead ....... Grab a pen or pencil ..... Here's what's in it ....... Thinly sliced seeded cucumber marinated in olive oil, with salt and some white pepper, chopped walnut, minced garlic and chopped dill and when ready, the whole lot is stirred up with plain yogurt or sour cream ....... Which, of course all goes to show that living on the water in a tropical anchorage near the island of CULEBRA in Puerto Rico, which only has a couple of food stores, cannot be all that bad ..... Quite the opposite ..... It is as close to perfection as you are ever likely to get if you are doing some major boat renovation ....... Now hidden amongst that little piece of info is a big clue ...... Cold cucumber means we have refrigeration ... Both the former fridge and freezer which previously ran on cold-plate technology have had evaporator plates installed with two independent compressors, and are now running flawlessly on 12 volt DC power. ...... Cold plate, not to be confused with the band "ColdPlay", runs on a compressor that pushes 'glycol' into large holding tanks but has to be run for several hours with a generator every day ...... Which kind of means you can never get away for more that 24 hours before everything starts to defrost ..... Now we have both .... But ask any cruiser and they will tell you "REFRIGERATION" is the biggest pain in the butt ..... That is, if it goes wrong ......



You can see the evaporator plate bent into a 'U' shape installed next to the cold plate boxes ........ O.K. .... there's the next batch of cucumber soup ready for .... I won't push the issue ....



You too, can become a 'refrigeration guy' with a set of gauges like this bought from 'Harbor Freight' for a mere $US 45 ...... And a little knowledge ...... Then again, 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing' ..... The compressors are mounted under the stove in a nice spacious locker that now has three 120mm computer fans pushing air into it, all mounted on the closing lid to the locker .....



The refrigeration upgrade was part of the planned galley upgrade which included removing the thirty-year old laminex (formica) counter-top and the double sink and replacing it with a new 'Corian' counter top and a new single stainless steel sink ..... All part of the master plan of making "SOUTHERN COMFORT" into a cruising home ...... A fully functional live-on-board enclave with modern conveniences somewhat removed from the usual 'camping out' .... We had already achieved that on "ARITA", but this yacht has given us so much more space to 'swing a cat' ...... Not that we are going to be 'swinging a cat' ...... Why ruin a good thing ..... It is so much easier to pet the cats on other people's yachts ....... Though we did see a novel cat-litter box made entirely of glass marbles ..... More about that later .....



That's the 'GALLEY ALLEY' ........ Part of the new 'Corian' is in and the lids of the fridge and freezer are still to be cut ........... The 'Queen' is thrilled by this upgrade more than anything else on board, and I would have thought she would be excited by the new chartplotter ....... Oh, well ...... The up-side on the other hand is that it would be hard to find a more exotic location to do this kind of renovation ...... Balmy temperatures, glorious blue water and total privacy if it wasn't for you looking at our blog .......



The sink is in, as is the new faucet with hot and cold water and a built-in carbon filter system for pure drinking water ........ On the other side of the galley ally are a series of cabinets for plates and food lockers and they too received an upgrade ...... Strip lighting was installed that is activated when a door is opened ...... The same happens when the dish drying rack doors are opened ..... Nice touch ...... At least we think so ....... What with a stove, a separate fridge and freezer, a microwave, a coffee maker and a few other kitchen gadgets this yacht is truly becoming the near perfect floating home .........



The showers are next in line ....... New mixers are to be installed ..... We already have the tankless hot water systems in place in the bow and amidships that operate on LP gas, but don't have continuous pilot lights going ....... Opening a tap (faucet) simply ignites the gas and hot water is almost instantaneous ........ Harry and Linda on the cat "KUHELA" are our nearest neighbours ....... Cool sunset ..... You're probably asking why we would need hot water? ....... Well, because it's nice .......



Some months ago, after 82 hours of running flawlessly, our brand new Yanmar generator died ...... Contact with the supplier had them as puzzled as we were as to the cause of the failure ..... Now changing out rectifiers, and then regulators, and checking wiring circuits in the tiny cubbyhole at the back is no joke ....... Eventually, and we are talking a couple of months here, they agreed to send us a whole new back-end ..... That's the power generation end ....... So we coordinated it with picking up the 'Corian' counter top sheets at the same time as well as some sails we had repaired....... Now, getting all that stuff from the Puerto Rican mainland and then from the Culebra ferry requires a three-dinghy convoy ..... After all, what are friends for .......



Using the mizzen boom you hoist it all on board, and do the same thing with the halyard on the foredeck ....... We are kind of telling the story somewhat backwards here ......



To get to the back of the generator requires 'Houdini' type acrobatics with a twist and a double pike ..... You probably think I'm looking for sympathy here and you'd be right ...... Then getting the end-plate off to change a rectifier requires coma-type concentration, while the rest of your body is in full cramp mode ..... Good reason for them to eventually send us a new back-end in a crate ...... So now the whole generator has to be unbolted and moved beneath the hatch to haul out the original back-end and put the new one in .............. The good thing was that the supplier honoured the warranty and the generator is up and running again ...... The original was shipped back to Florida and they still haven't quite figured out what went wrong ..... O.K. .... We need a 'flora' break at this point .......






That should take your mind off the mechanical stuff ....... We never cease to be impressed by the incredible beauty of the flowers in this tropical paradise .......



Lynn and Paul on the yacht "KIANA" have taught us this trick on 'priceline.com' ..... You simply offer a four or five star hotel on the beachfront in San Juan a price you are willing to pay for a room for a night and see what happens ....... And it happens ...... Absolute luxury for a night at 'under-the-bridge' rates ..... Who knew? ....



We had an early morning appointment is San Juan, thus having to overnight the day before ....... Leave "SOUTHERN COMFORT" and "ARITA" rafted up together in Culebra ..... It is all to do with changing my permanent residency into citizenship, and thus no longer having to apply for visas in the future every time we would re-enter any U.S. territory ...... And so the day came when I became a dual nationality citizen .....



To my great surprise Harry and Linda from the yacht "KUHELA" and Gabriel and Wanda from the yacht "GOOD TIMING", who are Puerto Rican, secretly arrange to be there ...... How nice is that ...... Laurie was there beaming and tearful (joyful tears)..... All that flag-waving stuff and anthems ....... Forty seven applicants, some from South America and the majority from Dominican Republic ....... I received an individual ceremony in English, all the others in Spanish ....... The U.S. is in for a future language shock ....... Part of the ceremony was that someone should reply on behalf of the inducted citizens in "ENGLISH" ....... Well, the 'Thanksgiving turkey with the tie' volunteered for obvious reasons, and the MC did the Spanish translation at my request ..... My first act of patriotism ..... Then off with the tie and onto lunch with friends, the genuine kind ...... There was one old Dominican gentleman there who had been at this process for 46 years ..... He deserves a Nobel laureate ...... For 'perseverance' .......



The old City of San Juan is really beautiful and a great place to visit ....... Life is short ....... We try to take every moment as it comes, full on and head on ........ But if you are a former surfer and your time has come, well then, what better place to be buried than right alongside a nice wave-break ...... A good left-hand breaking curl is just the ticket ..... Beats the heck out of looking up at plastic flowers all day ........ Anyway, we are still on our way to AUSTRALIA as soon as we are finished with the renovation business....... And we have a map ......



The good thing is that 'down-under' mud is the same as anyone else's ....... Acclimatization should be relatively easy .......



There are new fast-cat ferries running between FAJARDO and CULEBRA, doing 28 knots ..... Bit like being on an aeroplane ....... Laurie carries home her new orchid that now rests on the dining table below ...... It is always nice to come home to our serene anchorage with its awesome sunsets after a day on the main island ...... And to our kind of 'fauna' ...... No lions and tigers here ......



The conch is gone and its 'house' has been usurped by a hermit crab who refuses to come out and show his pincers .....



Nothing really stays the same ..... Just look at the Post Office in CULEBRA back in 1912 ...... And look how much our "SOUTHERN COMFORT" has changed in the time that we have had her ............. We've been at it just over a year and the winter sailing season in the Caribbean is upon us again .......



The sailing dinghy from a Classic 1930s wooden ketch "TALLY HO" and the Classic schooner "HARVEY GAMAGE"", probably of the same vintage, though nowadays she is a charter vessel for backpacking young people ......



We offered to make new back and side curtains for our PR friends on "GOOD TIMING" now that Laurie did such a superb job on our own dodger and made the cockpit totally waterproof ...... Gabriel and Wanda brought their yacht alongside for a few days while we all helped out to make these curtains .....



The good yacht "GOOD TIMING" sailed away four days later into a leaden sky filled with rain clouds and a fully enclosed dodger ......... for them a huge step forward and for us just a great way of saying 'Thank You' and paying it forward .... There really is nothing nicer than a dry cockpit when it pours ..... Whether you're sailing or just on anchor .....



That same rainfall makes everything luscious and green ....... Well, maybe not quite as green as this house but green just the same ...... Anyway let me add a couple more photos to the blog, while I dig into some more of Laurie's awesome Cold Cucumber Soup .....



One of the side effects of living on a yacht is 'car-envy' ...... Which Laurie has satisfied by doing inspections on this Mini-cooper 'S' in COSTCO, our wholesale food store on the 'big island' ...... "ARITA" is also getting upgrades now that the 'sailrite' sewing machine is doing double duty ..... We have replaced all the canvas hatch covers and the sail covers ...... The entire bimini and dodger canvas is next ....... The deck has been sanded and a double coat of magical 'Cetol' has been applied ..... Toe rails in brown and the white insides have been done in two-part urethane and both masts have been painted ...... Once the cabin top has been re-painted in gloss white we will move inside and continue with the cabin repainting ..... Soon we will also add the "FOR SALE" page to the blog ...... We've had about 175 hits per month on the broker's website but no cheques in the mail, though we've had plenty of 'tyre-kickers' ..... Check it out on (www.StThomasyachtsales.com)



That divine little 'Royal' seamstress on her 'sailrite' has also managed to re-do all the cockpit cushions in a soft tan 'naugahyde' ...... And the 'cruising' crowd that gathered for a Sunday afternoon BBQ lunch took full advantage of its softness well into the night ....... Wonderful to finally have the cockpit done ....... One more thing crossed off the list .... One step closer to going cruising again .....



Even the cruising kids had a ball in our kayak ...... And just to show you that we think we have our priorities in the right place, Laurie took a photo of this bumper sticker outside the Immigration Office .......



Almost forgot to come back to that cat litter box thing ......... The cat's name is "Cooking Fat" and his owner inherited him from another yacht, together with a box of cat litter ...... The new owner was forced to substitute shredded paper for cat litter and then, when that ran out, substituted shredded cardboard and came up with a new game plan ...... This was also the point at which he named the cat ...... He placed a perforated plastic dish inside the original litter dish and added glass marbles with shredded cardboard over the top ...... Over the ensuing days he observed the cat doing its 'business' and then slowly reduced the amount of cardboard until eventually there was no cardboard at all ........ "Cooking Fat" adapted, got used to the 'glassies' and now does his thing balancing on the roller bearing surface ...... The owner then takes the marble filled tray, rinses it in the ocean and puts it back on the cockpit floor, and as they say "Bob's your Uncle" ...... So if you're still wondering how sweet little tabby got its name, just inter-change the first letters of its name and you'll figure it out ....... And if you hear of a sailor "who's lost his marbles" ..... Then check to see who's got a cat in the anchorage ......

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

As always love the pictures! Especially the shot of the dinghy convoy. Too funny! I remember seeing that all too well. You pictures make me anxious to get down to Antigua (soon!).

Cooking Fat the cat made me laugh as well. I don't think Kristy would have been to keen on the glass marbles litter box... cleaning it in the ocean sounds to labor intensive! haha

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Laura, Dinghy Captain
www.amoebasailingtours.com

Vicky Alsaker and Ed Nadler said...

Congrats on the citizenship and more so on Southern Comfort, she is looking great. We were beginning to worry as an update has been long in coming, but we see that you are busy. Merry Christmas

Vicky, Ed and BOTO

Cruise Victoria PL said...

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Alina Laureiro said...

Your writing is great, loving the journey!

Alina Laureiro said...

Your writing is great, loving the journey!

David Barry said...

Rob, have you uploaded all the pix of the family building Arita in 1958? I saw a few and now I cant find them. Thanks, David

Anonymous said...

Citizenship seems to have had an affecton Rob. Once a highly motovated blogger has now fadded into the 47% of the American populous of bloggers. With the sale of Arita and a little gingle in his pocket it may be awhile before we hear from our globe trotting couple.