06/09/2014 – ‘the darkest hour’

Think Mammas and Pappas not a politician, is just before dawn. Yesterday the moon rose at 1402 and was Waxing Gibbous (68%) so took over lightening the sky as the sun set at 1804. Unfortunately, having bright moonlight throughout the first two night watches means the next two both have a period of very dark though the stars help! The moon set at 0219 and the first vestiges of dawn didn’t appear until about 0530 with sun rise at 0615 this morning. There is a fantastic app for the i-pad called Star Walk, we thoroughly recommend it. Yesterday was a hotter day than Thursday because there was no cloud cover, it was also an almost windless day followed by weak winds during the night. We did try to sail, 21/2 hours in the morning, when we even hoisted the spinnaker for 5 minutes, and 33/4 hours up to midnight. When the boat speed drops below 2 knots there is little point being stoic as the boat loses steerage. The two sailing intervals helped the engine to cool down. I am very happy to report that the ship’s Engineer, also known as the Captain, has done a good job and we have no further problems with the fresh water cooling. We saw nothing all day, no birds, no boats and, annoyingly, no fish though my line came back in minus the lure John had put on it. Since it didn’t once start to reel out I think it must have fallen off somehow! The Galley Slave, aka Admiral and First Mate, prepared a chicken and dumpling casserole for dinner which was very tasty. I tend to rely on three main cookery books written for boats, though I do have rather more on board than I probably ought to admit to! Probably my favourite at the moment is The Boat Galley Cookbook by Carolyn Shearlock and Jan Irons. This book has some amazing ideas in it, for example ‘cooking’ dried beans largely in a vacuum flask. It has cut down on the number of tins I would otherwise have bought, given that about 2/3 cup dried beans, lentils, chickpeas etc. become the equivalent of a tin. The second book I’d recommend is The Essential Galley Companion by Amanda Swan-Neal, again this has a lot of useful information as well as a good variety of recipes. My third recommendation is Cruising Cuisine by Kay Pastorius which I relied on heavily until I found the other two. Joyce

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