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

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