Monday, September 24, 2007

Pittstown Point, Crooked Island, Bahamas

0 nm

More hard boat work today. I finally did my duty and got the majority of the bottom scrubbed, while Karl finally went up the mast to get the measurements we need for our furler replacement. The miniature crabs had started a colony down there--no wonder we’ve been getting so many of them crawling around our cabin sole. I swear I found pods of eggs. No stings, though--I’ve been exposing the icky growths that had formed on the stainless-steel swim ladder to harsh ultraviolet radiation, so they weren’t down there to attack me. The stuff on the actual bottom was rather benign. Our West Marine bottom paint is holding up fairly well, all things considered, and the current that makes this anchorage so rollly does a good job of preventing the little suckers from holding on tight.

The places where the new bottom paint has chipped off, though, are disastrous. I can’t get the stuff off with a putty knife or a Scotch-brite pad, the two tools in my arsenal. The rest of it came off easily, surrounding me with clouds of green gunk, so much so that I had to back off and let it clear before I could see for another dozen strokes. It made the colony of blue runners under the boat happy, though, giving them a feast. They won’t be so happy when they figure out I’m destroying their meal ticket for the next couple of weeks.

I felt bad depriving the cute little crabs of their home, too. A couple of them seemed like they had invested in real estate. They ran away from my blade, as far up the topsides as they could get. The Thai girl keeps coming out in me when I think about eating them. I’m sure they’re edible, and they’re almost exactly the size of the dried shrimp that Thais use in their pad Thai and som tam. We’ve had a stash on board since we’ve been on the boat, and a handful of those in some fried rice or noodles go a long way towards meeting our protein needs when we’re getting low on provisions. Wouldn’t baby dried crabs be just as good? Like crab veal. So far I haven’t been brave enough, though Karl keeps encouraging me to spice my rice with one of them when we spy one crawling across the floor in the middle of a meal.

Fortunately, the day ended with a far more tasty repast. Frenchie had us over for dinner, yet again, along with Lin and Jim and Dave, the other sand residents at this time of year. He cooked delicious steaks on his new grill, which he welded together himself out of a section of giant stainless-steel pipe. The steaks were delicious, perfectly cooked, as were the accompaniments: chicken gumbo, Cajun red beans and rice, cayenne cornbread made with fresh sweet corn, and salad. If you ever want to get well-fed, make yourself some friends from Louisiana. Those people know how to cook. I don’t know how we always manage to find people who want to feed us, either. Before Nappy left again for Nassau, he was taking us out for dinner three nights a week, and now Frenchie has us over about that often. I like to believe that we are such entertaining dining companions that it’s worth the price of provisions for our hosts, but that may be a little far-fetched. We do try to sing for our supper when we’re not held in the hypnotic gaze of the television.

Today, because Frenchie gave us some notice, I was actually able to contribute dessert to the meal, with a pie of my own creation. I’ve recently discovered a recipe in my Joy of Cooking for a pat-in-the-pan pie crust, solving my perennial dilemma of how to make good pastry without the benefit of refrigeration. Karl wasn’t so impressed with my culinary prowess (his exact words, after the key lime pie of last week, were “it’s like canned pudding on a cracker”), but I flatter myself by believing that any baked goods prepared at sea are impressive in and of themselves. Tonight I brought what was really more of a cherry streusel, since I can’t roll out crust and don’t have a pie pan. I topped it with an almond and oatmeal topping, and everyone, other than Karl was duly impressed. (His exact words tonight were, “it’s like the treat in a TV dinner!” Admittedly, this comment was intended as a kind of compliment.)

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