March 06, 2010


We have been having a few sick days on board. The kids both picked up Kayvon's cold before he left. The weather has been perfect for staying in bed, reading and watching dvds; overcast, cloudy and light showers.

I have been spending my time reading up on provisioning and new recipes. I am shocked that after almost a month since I bought groceries we are still making delicious meals. Yesterday for lunch I tried out a new lentil burger recipe and made a couple loaves of bread. Everything turned out great! This is all a huge accomplishment for a person who normally doesn't even make macaroni.

I have learned so much about food storage on this short leg of our trip. Thank goodness we had this trial period before heading off for months on the Pacific. Who knew that you could keep lettuce for up to a month, washed and wrapped in paper towel and in a zip lock bag in the fridge or that cabbage will still taste great after a couple months if stored cool and in plastic? Paper towel seems to be the key to so many of the vegetables and checking this often for moisture and rot.

I am realizing how important spices, dried herbs and sauces are. It is shocking what a little basil or red wine vinegar can do to a plain dish. I will also need to stock up on a bunch of pita bread and tortillas because they last forever and taste great heated up in a fry pan. So many tricks and lucky we have so many books on board all about it. (again Graham's foresight!)

I have also found out what all the hype is about regarding the pressure cooker. They are amazing. Great one pot meals; stews, soups, popcorn and even bread...if you can believe it!

Right now we are all craving whole grains. There was no whole wheat flour or grains to be found in Cartagena. We are also craving greens. I should of bought more cabbage. We still have a couple of tomatoes left (I bought them hard and green), carrots, potatoes, onions and garlic. There is a dugout canoe that comes by every couple of weeks with a few basics and last time we were able to pick up a pineapple and watermelon! I hope we see him soon.

We took the kids over to the island we are anchored next to last night before sunset for some fresh air and a short walk. There are two Kuna families living on the island. The Kuna Indians are very traditional. They live in wood thatched huts with open fires. They wear traditional clothing. The youngest male in the family is raised to dress and act as a woman. It is their custom but seems so strange. I am not sure of the reasoning but if I find out I will let you know. On this island there was a man dressed as a woman with a small child. He looked quite beautiful. We watched from the shore as he washed out a pot in the ocean and went back to his hut to prepare a meal. The strange thing was that none of us discussed this scene until we were back at the boat. We all just walked along quietly and took it all in.

The Kuna support themselves by fishing and making Mola's. Mola's are embroidered pieces of cloth that are really exceptional. Amelia and I bought one yesterday from Venicia. Another Kuna man who spoke and acted as a woman. He was very sweet and his work is beautiful. I will post a picture of it once we are near internet. Amelia gave him a really nice bracelet that she had made.

I am hopeful the kids are feeling better this afternoon. There is a big potluck being organized by one of the cruisers on a deserted island. Should be fun. Amelia and I made a batch of brownies to bring.

A couple of down days has given Graham and opportunity to wire and install our propane control and detection system, wire and set up our AIS and figure out the problem with our auto pilot and rig up a temporary fix! I wonder sometimes if he will ever run out of things to do? Not likely.

Martha brought me a book when she came down called "Mister Pip". The kids and I have been reading it out loud. It is really good. It is the small pleasures like crowding around a book together that make me remember with such clarity why I have chosen this life.


  1. I love reading your blog :)
    (I could have told you about the paper towel with the lettuce)

  2. Great blog!! I can picture everything that you are talking about. :)

    You have to remember that you and Graham are BOTH great chefs! I was truly blown away by the meals, they were so tasty but felt healthy too. It was really inspiring to see what you two are capable of.

    I should have warned you - there is a really sad, tramatic event in the book, Mr. Pip. Try to read ahead on your own, before to the kids, just to be sure that they would be OK with it.

    I went into a health food in Toronto the other day, and it was heavenly! Let me know if it would be helpful and possible to send anything down to you, through your friends. Can you bring whole wheat flour onto a plane??

    The hardest part about coming home, is realizing what we missed with the olympics. What a time to be away from home! We have had a few days of beautiful sunshine here too, so the entire city is smiling!

    I'm starting to like cooking too!

    Martha :)

  3. Great blogg Julie I learned something. I wondered how you could ever keep food on board and go so long without going to a grocerie store. Didnt know that about the cabbage either. I think for me the biggest part I would miss would be the meat. I look forward to reading your next blogg and I ope everyone is feeling better.

  4. Here is a little something I learned about the Kuna Indians....

    For some unknown reason, there is a high rate of albinism in the Kuna men. Because of the intensity of the sun in Central America, the albino men are not able to do the work expected of a Kuna man. In order to contribute to their community, they assume duties traditionally assigned to the women, including Mola-making. Although encouraged not to marry, the albino men are accepted in the community and their work is respected by their peers.

    Maybe this is why they are dressed like the women...Trese

  5. Julie I gave you all of those tupperware containers, do you use them. They should help keep things fresh.

  6. How much of this do you think you will carry over into your "Canada" life. Be interesting - we still use lots of the things we learned and probably always will - cause they work
    Dad and Cheryl