Monday, September 8, 2014

Liebster Award!

Our blog has been nominated for the Liebster Award by Alex and David of s/v Banyan (click the link to check out their blog). Sounds prestigious right? Well, I guess it is in blogging circles. The award is sort of like a chain letter of the blog world. It works like this:

(1) Thank the person who nominated us and link back to their page.
(2) Answer the 10 questions they have asked and publish the post.
(3) Nominate 10 up-and-coming blogs and ask them 10 questions.

So, thank you Alex for the nomination and here we go.....
Alex's questions for us:

(1) Where in the World are you? Alternatively, where would you like to travel to?

Troy, Luna and myself are currently in Conroe, Texas. We have been here on an off for the last year and a half, splitting our time between Conroe and Grenada where we left Storyville. We've been here caring for my mother, who was ill and suffering from dementia. Sadly, she passed away in June and I am now working on settling her estate and getting ready to put her house on the market.

(2) Describe the funniest thing you've witnessed in your travels to date?

Hmmmm, the funniest thing? Well, this one time comes to mind when we were riding in a gua gua in the Dominican Republic. A gua gua is one of their forms of public transportation. They are privately owned vehicles and can be anything from a small car to a large van. Whatever the size of the vehicle, the running joke is - "How many people can you fit in a gua gua?" and the answer - "one more". You will most likely be sitting on someones lap and they may have a live chicken, a giant bag of coconuts, their grocery shopping, you just never know. Here is an excerpt from my blog about the one particular trip.......

Only one little bit of excitement on the 30 minute ride. It's not unusual to see herds of cows being driven down the middle of the road, in fact, it would be more unusual not to see a couple of herds along the way. We recognize the signs by now. Usually one guy is ahead of the herd and he waves a red flag to let oncoming traffic know what lies ahead. It could be anywhere from 2 or 3 cows to a whole big herd. We met a fairly good sized herd along the way and the driver slowed almost to a stop for the oncoming cows. All was going as planned until the cow directly in front of our car was mounted by a bull that came up right behind her. I could see my life flashing before my eyes (that's not ALL I could see, I got a pretty good look at the working parts of the, ahem, bulls reproductive system) when it seemed that the both of them would certainly come crashing through our windshield. Fortunately, the bull decided that he might have picked the wrong time and place to display his amorous feelings. It was all over in a matter of seconds and the driver never even blinked an eye.

It wasn't so funny at the moment, but as soon as I realized that I was not going to die in the middle of a big pile of cow sex, I could start to see the humor in the situation. I would hate to have my kids learn that I had died covered in bull semen and glass.

(3) Describe your favourite cruising grounds in your travels to date?

That's a hard one. One of the questions we are asked most often is "what's your favorite island?". I always answered by saying that we loved many of the islands for different reasons, almost evey place has something that makes it stand out above the others so it's so hard to choose.

We loved the Bahamas for the easy cruising and the fantastic beautiful clear blue water. We loved the Dominican Republic for the friendly people and the opportunity to practice our Spanish, the beautiful mountains and the fantastic locally grown produce. We loved the Virgin Islands for their beauty and easy cruising. We loved St. Martin for the great provisioning and easy access to boat parts, not to mention the beauty of the island itself. I could go on about every place that we've visited so far, but that doesn't answer the question.

Our favorite cruising grounds so far have been in Grenada/Carriacou. Not only are the islands and the waters beautiful, but the people are friendly, the sailing is great and they have wonderfully grown local produce. We have made lifelong friends in our travels but we've gained new family in Grenada. I am so happy that we can leave Storyville there in the summer, hopefully safe from storms and know that she is watched over by our Grenadian family. We have fallen in love with Grenada!

(4) This Sailing Lifestyle has obviously been a dream turned reality for all of us out here doing this. But if you could have another dream, another "thing" you would want to do... what would it be?

Interestingly, we have found another dream by accident. When we left for cruising we sold our home and cars and belongings and left the US without any ties except for our friends and family. I have been fortunate enough over the last 4 years of cruising to make it back to Texas at least once a year to see our kids and grandkids and to visit all of our friends. On these visits I always stayed with my mom. Now that she is gone we started wondering what we would do when we came back to visit. We also have realized that summers in the Caribbean can be really, really, extremely hot. Don't get me wrong, summers in Texas are about the same, but the difference is the fact the we have air conditioning here (in our cars, in our homes, in our stores). Anyway, I digress, we decided that we would need a place to stay if we were going to spend summers back here in Texas visiting our family, so..... we recently bought an RV. We will be starting a new RV adventure in the summers and I am hoping that we get to travel the US and see a little more of this beautiful country. I am hoping that we can bring the grandkids along on some adventures.

(5) If there's one thing you brought with you cruising, that is totally useless and you could take off your boat, what would it be? Alternatively, if there's one thing you didn't bring with you, and wish you had, what is it?

I would say that the totally useless thing is really more than one "thing". It's all the canned goods that we stocked up on before we left for the Bahamas. We really didn't need so many canned goods because they are available almost everywhere (except for some specialty items like Rotel, and canned green chilies and even those can be found occasionally).

As for the one thing we didn't bring and wish we had, I can't think of anything, but Troy wished he had brought along a small generator as a backup. We finally got one when we had a box shipped to Grenada and we've used it a couple of times when the main generator "took a break".

(6) In this world of So Many Blog's, have you followed a Blogger and not yet met them? Who would you most like to meet?

Yes, I do like to follow blogs, although I admit that when I am on the boat without much internet I don't get a chance to keep up with them. I am happy to say that I have met many of the blog writers that I follow and I am always amazed that it's such a small world when it comes to cruisers (especially in the Caribbean). It's always awesome to meet someone that you have been following in a blog.

A couple of blog writers that I would love to meet are Brittany Meyers of the famous Windtraveler blog (I love her writing and her passion for the cruising life) and Tasha Hacker of Turf to Surf (I love her passion for life and would love to meet her but she never stays in one place long enough).

(7) What time of day do you enjoy the most and why?

Typically I enjoy the afternoons the most. I tend to be pretty social so I really like happy hours and spending time with all the friends that we make along the way. Having said that, I have had some pretty awesome mornings, mid-afternoons, evenings, nights, etc. It's always fun!

(8) When we set sail, and told our friends and family of our plans, we received some pretty incredible (and also incredulous) responses. Have you? Describe the one that impressed/shocked you the most?

Here's a couple: "Where do you go to the bathroom?" and "Do you just stop and rest when you get tired out on the ocean?" What about pirates? You just quit working? How......

(9) With this travelling lifestyle we get exposed to wide variety of cuisines. Do you enjoy trying, eating, cooking with "local" foods, and if so, what is your favourite so far? Share your recipe ??

Yes! Trying local dishes is one of our favorite things to do. I also enjoy cooking local dishes and that´s just one more reason that I love Grenada. Our Grenadian family has shown me how to cook many local dishes. I've had a great time learning to cook Grenadian style!

A popular dish in the Caribbean, and one of my favorites, is Macaroni Pie (also called Bahamian Mac and Cheese in The Bahamas). Here is my recipe:
  • 1 pound of elbow macaroni
  • 1 onion - chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper - chopped
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • Your favorite hot sauce to taste
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
Boil the macaroni and just before it is done add the onion and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Drain, return to pot and add about 3/4 of the cheese. Stir until melted. Beat the eggs, seasonings and hot sauce together then add the evaporated milk and the egg mixture to the macaroni. Pour into a greased baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake at 350 deg for about 30 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes and then you can cut it into squares to serve.

(10) If asked to give a random piece of advice about this lifestyle to anyone, what would it be?

This one is answered by Troy ---- Don't try to make your boat perfect before you go. Get the basics (and any safety issues) taken care of and get out there. Everywhere you go there are people working on boats and solving problems, upgrading systems, etc. It's more important to get out there and do it. You can sort the boat out as you go. You'll find cruisers to be very helpful everywhere you go [unless you're an ass] it's tough to know just what works for your cruising style without getting some time "out there". Make some mistakes but try really hard not to make the dream ending one!

So, my questions are.......

(1) Where are you now?

(2) What are your cruising goals (if any) for the future?

(3) What would you tell someone who is dreaming of cruising about how to make it happen?

(4) What is one thing you have learned from living this lifestyle?

(5) What is your favorite thing about cruising?

(6) What is your least favorite thing about cruising?

(7) Do you look forward to, or dread overnight crossings? Tell us why.

(8) With this traveling lifestyle we get exposed to wide variety of cuisines. Do you enjoy trying, eating, cooking with "local" foods, and if so, what is your favourite so far? Share your recipe.

(9) Can you tell us one of your favorite cruising stories?

(10) If asked to give a random piece of advice about this lifestyle to anyone, what would it be?

I realize that I copied some of Alex's questions, but hey, they were good ones.

And now, for my nominees. I'm not sure that I can come up with 10, but here are the ones that I would ilke to award the Liebster Award to.....

Pipe Muh Bligh


Ke Óla Kai

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Return to The Virgin Islands

What better way to get this blog rejuvenated than to post about our recent trip to the US and British Virgin Islands? We've been in Texas for 4 months and really missing our floating home. When Steve and Deb invited us to spend 10 days with them on Alternate Latitude in the Virgin Islands, well, how could we say no?

We went with some of our other sailing friends from Kemah so we dubbed ourselves the Kemah Krew and hopped a plane and headed to the islands.

The notorious Kemah Krew consisted of Troy and Deana, Cory and Tammy, who live on s/v Menestheus, Capt. Rick Weiler and of course, our hosts, Steve and Deb on s/v Alternate Latitude. Alternate Latitude is a 44 foot Voyager Catamaran so there was plenty of room for us all and we had a fantastic and fun filled 10 days of sailing, snorkeling, swimming and just plain having too much fun.

Kemah Krew
Alternate Latitude

The Virgin Islands are fantastic cruising grounds. Easy sailing from one beautiful island to the next. White sand beaches and turquoise waters make sailing there a dream. We have been there on Storyville twice and spent several months cruising those islands. One thing that was noticably different on this trip was that we were there in the off season. When we were there on Storyville every anchorage was full with charter boats and mega yachts everywhere and sometimes, depending on where you were, you had to hope that there would be a mooring available. During the off season there are so many fewer charter boats and many full time cruisers are further south waiting out hurricane season. It was strange to see the empty anchorages, but nice to have them all to ourselves at times.

We flew into St. Thomas and sailed to Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Peter Island, Norman Island and St. John. What a fantastic trip and just what we needed. Some time on a boat, on the water in the beautiful islands. Oh how we've missed them. We couldn't have asked for better hosts or better friends to spend the time with.

Panoramic Views of The Virgin Islands
Swimming With Turtles
Perfect Beaches
Flying the Spinnaker down the Sir Frances Drake Channel

If you are looking for a vacation that you will never forget, think about chartering with Steve and Deb on Alternate Latitude. They can show you all the cool spots in the Virgin Islands, whether you want to party at the best beach bars or kick back on a beautiful white beach or snorkel with sea turtles. So click on the link to find out how to have a fantastic vacation, and be sure to tell them that Storyville sent you!

One of the coolest things we did was swim with the turtles at Buck Island. They were so cool and we loved every minute of watching them calmly swim and eat sea grass. Here is a video.......

Hark, now hear the sailors cry, smell the sea, and feel the sky, let your soul and spirit fly, into the mystic. ~ Van Morrison



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Test Post with Blogsy

OK, I'm trying out another app called Blogsy. It looks much more comprehensive than Blogger and I think I will be able to edit and post pictures better with Blogsy, plus it supports html. We will see how it goes because it looks like there will be a pretty big learning curve, but I really want to get this blog back up and running. We've made some life changes, had some life changes made for us and had a few adventures along the way. I need to get back to blogging and I am hoping that if I can do it on my iPad then that will make things even easier and more convenient.

I wonder if this app has spell check? It does not appear to be auto correcting so I will have to see if there is a setting that needs to be changed. Hope I don't misspell anything! Did I just misspell misspell? I don't know. LOL

It looks like I am rambling so I will just post a few test photos and see how this works:

Panoramic Views of The Virgin Islands


Luna The Boat Dog
Luna the Boat Dog

Well, so far this is pretty easy to use. Now, just to see if I can post a link to another page - here is link to my friends Blog on Pipe Muh Bligh. They have been busy updating the sailing blog lately, so give it a look!

I think I'm a fan of Blogsy. Let's see how this post looks. Hopefully the Storville blog will be back up and running soon!


Is This Possible?

It's been a while since I tried to post a blog using my iPad and the Blogger app. This is just a short test to see if things have improved. The main complaint that I had before was posting pictures using the app. Let's see how that works now. 

Now for one more, just to be sure:

I can't seem to find a way to caption the photos. That will be a problem, but maybe something I can work around. I will see how this post looks once it has been published and determine whether I can start using my iPad to create blog posts.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Carnival - Carricaou Style

Oh, yeah, we had fun at J'Ouvert!
Every island in the Caribbean has it's own version of Carnival. They are at different times of the year and each island adds it's own unique flavor. The only other Carnival that we have been to was in Dutch Sint Maarten. What I remember from the parade there were lots of fancy costumes and, of course plenty of dancing and partying.

Carriacou even has a different Carnival than Grenada, even though they are the same country - they are different islands. Carriacou's Carnival coincides with Mardi Gras and so we were lucky enough to be here to celebrate.

The party got started on Sunday afternoon and continued through late Tuesday night, no, wait, make that early Monday morning.  We started our party by waking at 4:00 AM (yes, that's AM) to attend the J'Ouvert festivities in the neighboring town of Hillsborough. J'Ouvert, basically a big street party/parade, is a contraction of the French words jour ouvert, which means day break and we had to get up early to be there, so we fortified ourselves with bloody mary's, coffee and breakfast tacos with Chris, Denise and Christian on their boat s/v Anne Bonney. We were joined by Bob and Deb of s/v Chimayo, they have a local car and provided us with transportation to the party!

The party was already started by the time we arrived. Everyone was in a festive mood and people were painted in all colors of paint and some were covered in motor oil. These participants are called Jab Jabs and they will be only too happy to smear you with some paint. I think I could live here for years and not understand the symbolism of some of the costumes. Obviously emancipation from slavery is a big part of it, but it seems to me like there were so many nuances that could take a lifetime of living here to comprehend. One example was a woman in a nuns costume with a big fish hanging out of her mouth.

We managed to get back to Storyville sometime around noon and it was time for a long, long nap! Then, after we were rested up we returned to Hillsborough the next day for the Mas Parade and even more fun and entertainment. Everyone participated from the young to the not so young! What a great time we had.

See what I mean? I have no explanation. 

Everyone gets in on the action!

OK, you tell me......

Shaquille, part of our Granadian family.

Interesting. Wonder what's in the bucket!

Waiting for the parade.

Mr. Serious

Part of the Shakespear Mas.

Denise and Chris are in on the fun!

Love the Mocko Jumbies.

OK, here you go - some real Jab Jabs!

Youngsters in the parade.

A lobster on the street!

King Neptune?

Every troop had a huge sound system!

And of course, steel pan music. 

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil!
Troy, Bob and Chris

Friday, February 21, 2014

Fried Bakes

I'm just now getting around to posting about the Fried Bakes that Nesta cooked for us.  I know everyone will want this recipe because they are awesome! Unfortunately, I let Darnell sail away with the recipe that Nesta wrote down for us. I will make sure to amend the post with the recipe. Of course, Nesta does it all by memory and didn't need a written recipe.

The bakes are fantastic! They are all warm and fluffy. We even sliced them open and popped in a piece of cheese. Nom, nom, nom.

Nesta and Darnell - ready to fry some bakes!
All the good stuff - yeast, four, a little sugar and some lard.
Nesta is an expert kneader - not too much kneading.
Troy volunteered to keep the guys entertained while we cooked. What a guy!
Just look at that perfect dough - time to let it rise.
Then roll it into perfect balls.
Let the frying begin!
Here is the result - lovely, yummy fried bakes!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chive N Thyme

Nesta with me and Darnell
One of the (many) things that I am falling in love with in Grenada is the cooking. I'm having a blast trying out the local dishes on my own. Thanks to our friend Nesta, a Grenadian AND a fantastic cook, Darnell (s/v Island Dream), Carolyn (s/v Moondance) and myself have been having a ball learning to cook Grenadian style.

We took a trip to the fruit and vegetable market in St. Georges, with Nesta at our side to help make sure that we are charged the local prices. Just buying the vegetables is a pleasure, as you walk through the market, you see the lady washing her beautiful heads of lettuce in buckets and bagging them for you.  The tomatoes too were picked that very morning. I just love the sight of a well stocked vegetable market.

My bundle of chive n thyme
One thing you can never leave the market without is your chive n thyme. It's basically a bundle of seasoning goodness that you can be sure will include chive and thyme, but it's even better than that. You will almost always find a few extra goodies such as local basil, celery, or, if you're really lucky, a few leaves of chadon bene (pronounced shadow benny, it a local herb that tastes like cilantro). It's fun to cut the string on your chive n thyme and see what you find inside.

I decided to try my hand at pumpkin soup.  I used a big hunk of local pumpkin that I bought at the market and added  my bunch of chive n thyme, some fresh ginger, garlic, coconut milk and a few other goodies and let me tell you - Campbell's will be calling me for the recipe any day now! 

Nest week Nesta is making a visit to Storyville to teach Darnell, Carolyn and I how to make bakes. One hint about what makes bakes so good - they're fried!

Pumpkin soup, ready for the heat

This is some yummy soup (I grated a little nutmeg on top, just because I could

My chadon bene, growing in Storyville's cockpit