Monkey Fist Apricot Poppy Seed Biscotti

Monkey Fist Apricot Poppy Seed Biscotti

tires and lines for transiting the canal

tires and lines for transiting the canal

The Panama Canal.   After months spent going through locks on the Erie Canal I was finally transiting the legendary Panama Canal.  This was the big time.  The man-made cut severing the umbilical cord of the Americas.  A channel through between two oceans.

We had visited the lock museum and seen the cars pulling along the monstrous container ships.  Now it…

View On WordPress

Charter Chirashi Sushi

DSCN1054The barter system is still thriving in the sailing community.  One of my favorite trades was on Elephant Island in San Blas.  I traded some banana bread for a winch handle.  I was delighted with my side, but the Australian couple seemed equally pleased with their banana bread.  The woman even threw in some clothes she liked the bread so much!  That isn’t quite the norm though.

At Shelter Bay…

View On WordPress

Winch Watercress Wasabi Salmon Sandwiches

Winch Watercress Wasabi Salmon Sandwiches

Declined.

shipThe worst single word you can hear at a cash register.  It worse still when you have spent 4 hours provisioning and the cashier has rung up a month’s worth of groceries.  When the store in question is over an hour taxi ride away from the marina it is like something out of a nightmare.

Umineko had gotten to Balboa marina the day before and it was lovely.  It had a swimming pool, hot…

View On WordPress

Paddle-Out Paella

plump kuna womenSailing is fantastic.  More than just the exhilarating, relaxing, challenging time on the water, I adore nature, snorkeling, and exploring new places.  But what makes places is the people and the unique traditions.

From the start of our stay Kuna Indians rowed dugout canoes out to Umineko hawking bracelets, and the traditional mola weavings they were famed for.  Several plump Kuna women made…

View On WordPress

Furling Fish Sausage Omelet

Furling Fish Sausage Omelet

DSCN0956

Sailing into Chichime Island, skirting shipwrecks and coral heads, was stunning.  A lush palm forest ringed in transparent turquoise.  I understood why backpackers paid upwards of $500 for a week squeezed into tourist boats like so many sardines to visit the famed San Blas Islands.  A glimpse of this paradise was almost worth it.

Dozens of masts reached up to the sky greeting us as we sailed up…

View On WordPress

Captain’s Kombu Kale

Captain’s Kombu Kale

I cried when we left Cuba.  I had to!  Well, if I wanted to leave, that is.

Half-sunken ship in Cien Fuegos marina

Half-sunken ship in Cien Fuegos marina

Immigration always makes me nervous, no matter how many times I cross a border I invariably tense when dealing with the shifty border officials.  You never know what hoops they will make the foreigner jump through or what taxes, bribes, or fines they will expect you to pay.  Or if…

View On WordPress

Sloop Soba Salmon

xbienvenidos

xvaraderobeach

xvaraderoVaradero isn’t Cuba,” countless people told us.  It’s just for tourists.  You can’t see the real Cuba there.  When we got to Havana I had to agree.  Havana seemed like a different world from the famous beaches,  performances, and posh hotels catering to foreigners of the lauded beach town.

 

 

xclassiccars2But when we left Havana it was the same.  Everyone told us Havana wasn’t the real Cuba.  So what

View On WordPress

Cockpit Okonomiyaki

sally okanomayakiHiroshima Pizza?  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when the captain of the Japanese boat told us that’s what he would be making for the potluck with the American boat I was crewing on.   When I tried the actual dish I immediately fell in love with the delicious dish.

A year later I was crewing on the same Japanese boat making okonomiyaki myself.

The captain, Sato San’s “Hiroshima Pizza,”…

View On WordPress

Globe Hackers

Cruisers and sailors are some of the most interesting people.  I haven’t met a single citizen of the high seas who wasn’t at least a little bit out-of-step with the white picket fence world.  The lifestyle lends itself to the quirky, quixotic, fanciful, and fantastic; those special people for whom life is about exploration, learning, and perusing new experiences.  It brings some of the

I met…

View On WordPress

Catamaran Crab Cakes

Floridita, Hemingway's favorite bar

Floridita, Hemingway’s favorite bar

Touristic Havana can be expensive, or at least the prices can be comparable to the US.  Often even at higher prices selection is limited (I couldn’t find something as simple as flour in Havana to save my life).   But if you know where to go, or are lucky and stumble across them, there are wonderful hidden treasures to be found for next-to-nothing.

 

xhavanafruitWhile…

View On WordPress