Friday, September 18, 2009

September 16, 2009 - Enroute to Madagascar

This has been yet another interminable and uncomfortable Indian Ocean passage; the kind of passage that makes us wonder why we would ever want to go sailing again. Based on the extremely limited weather information available for this part of the Indian Ocean, we expected two days of light winds followed by a few of strong. Instead, after only a few hours of motoring, the wind built to 20 to 30 knots where it has stayed for the past four days. In smooth seas, or if we had been sailing off the wind, this much wind wouldn't have been terrible, but we have been sailing upwind into steep, sloppy seas. We keep scooping waves. After blowing out yet another rotten seam in the dodger, we put the third reef in the main sail. It has been there ever since. Even so, we have had to keep the jib deeply reefed in order to slow us down so that we don't take so much water on deck. That is why we are still out here. 650 miles would normally not take us longer than four days to cover at Mata'irea's regular cruising speeds of around 6.5 to 7 knots. But we've had to keep her boatspeed down to keep from causing any more damage. With the seams blown out of the windward side of the dodger, the companionway (which provides access to the living area down below) is more exposed than normal. We are keeping the companionway hatch closed, but even so we had a waterfall in the galley this morning. It is going to take us days to get our house back in order after this run. The only redeeming aspect of this whole experience is the knowledge that in such rough conditions there is no way any pirates are out here waiting for us to pass by.

To make matters worse, we were both vomitously seasick the first three days of this passage. Anything more than heating up a meal in the microwave, reheating some Campbell's soup on the stove, or brewing a cup of tea was beyond us, and even those simple acts had to be well choreographed to avoid making a total mess or burning ourselves. Sten did manage to fry some eggs one morning, but mostly we ate the meals I prepared and froze before we left. Curried pumpkin stew, pumpkin lasagna (pumpkins were one of the few cheap foods in the Seychelles), chicken tikka masala, pasta and yogurt have kept us fed and nourished.

Essential Cruising Recipe: Engine Room Yogurt
In the morning, run generator or engine long enough to charge batteries and heat up the engine room.
Put 2 cups of full cream milk powder into a clean 1 liter container (I use a Nalgene bottle).
Fill half way with 110 - 115 degree (F) water (not hotter than that - you'll kill the active agents in the yogurt).
Stir and shake to dissolve milk powder.
Add 1 cup of leftover yogurt.
Top up with warm water.
Place in warm engine room; leave there all day.
Before going to bed, place in the fridge.

Neglected yogurt tends to behave very badly - don't forget to put it in the fridge.

My eternal gratitude to Kate on Muneera for this recipe, which works every time.

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