November 23, 2000
Longitude 9 degrees 56.08', Latitude 33 degrees 30.50'

Thanksgiving Day at Sea-Our 1000-Mile Celebration
By Lois Joy   

This morning, during my 5:00 to 8:00 AM watch, we are motoring, using both motors, in order to make better time, directly on a 235-degree course to the Canaries.  The seas are too lumpy to sail, with the wind at a Force 5 (20 knots) changing gradually WSW to WNW.  SW we have seen a lot of; it is directly on our nose.   We are hoping that the wind will veer away from the south so that we can sail without beating against the wind.   So far, the "fair winds and following seas" have been but an evasive dream.  Since leaving Canet, France, we recall only one day of sunny skies and following seas, flying the spinnaker (see log entry, The Perfect Day).   Our Atlantic crossing crew was due to arrive yesterday in Tenerife, and we have over 400 nautical miles to go.  We are feeling pressured again about schedules and crew and being behind.  But we can be thankful this day that we are safe, in good health and in good spirits.  We are also thankful that we have put the unpredictable Med behind us and are on our way to warmer climes...(More)

We are thinking this day about Thanksgiving gatherings in the U.S. with our friends and family there and the usual phone calls back and forth.  WE MISS YOU AND WISH YOU WELL.

This morning, on our Thanksgiving Day, the moon rose off the coast of Morocco, a slender silver cradle rising in the East. The clouds moved in and there was no sunrise.    I went back to sleep for a few hours after my watch, then woke up thinking about what we could have for dinner this day, with the seas too rough to get to our forward sail locker containing our "vegetable hammock."  The potatoes and cabbage to complement our dinner would be forgotten-, as was the plan for baking our "Thanksgiving Chicken" in the oven. We used our pressure cooker for the chicken and added some "tired" celery and other greens from the fridge to make a chicken stew. 

I had never used our pressure cooker much at home.  So I searched for cooking times in our manual, then reviewed Amanda Neal's  "Essential Galley Companion" for tips.  I liked her section on Pressure Cookers so well that I read it out loud to Gunter and Gottfried:

My first offshore passage as a child was extremely rough.  I have memories of my mother making banana custard using mild powder and the whole dish having an awful burnt flavor to it.  I was rather excited by the prospect of having pudding at all.  Visions of that same passage feature mum, struggling, strapped in at the galley, and throwing all sorts of wholesome food into the pressure cooker.

Patiently, she lights the kerosene stove, and sits down wearily to observe its progress. Five minutes later, as the cooker is in full pressure and hissing steadily, an extra large wave throws the entire pot off the stove and onto the floor. It continued to move, bouncing around the cabin and venting even more steam like some demented giant beach ball with a hole in it.  I thought my whole world would soon explode, sending me out into the dark blue ocean. Mum starting laughing, and she calmly stood up, scooped up the pot, still hissing away, and put it gently on the stove."

As Pacific Bliss lurched through the waves, Gottfried said, "I never knew pressure cookers were so useful.  When I bought my boat, I threw away the cover to the cooker because it wouldn't fit well in the galley shelves.  I thought it took up too much space so I used only the bottom, then couldn't find a good top to fit tight!

We all laughed-especially Gunter, another "minimalist."  Gunter and Gottfried, I have found, both like to have as few items on the boat as possible-until it comes time to enjoy the pleasures they bring!

And the chicken was a pleasure indeed.  It was cooked through, but still juicy and tasty. The meal hit the spot, I must say.

Shortly after the mid-afternoon meal, we realized that our Raytheon multi on the nav station was telling us that Pacific Bliss was close to logging 1000 miles.  What could we do to celebrate?  I thought of Amanda and the pudding from her childhood.  We still had little individual "flan" puddings from France!  And we had a container of pressurized whipped cream.  (Not "Reddi-Whip", Ret, if you're reading this, but it would have to do!) We also had half-full containers of vanilla and double-chocolate ice cream, believe it or not, in our freezer, also left over from our days in France.  So we divided up the whole works into four portions for Gottfried, Gunter, Christian and me, and felt the way Americans always feel after Thanksgiving dinner-stuffed!  It's a tradition, even on the open seas.

After relaxing a bit, I tackled a big job: reorganizing the "ship's pantry."  During the night, I heard the spice and oil bottles in there going clank, clank, clank as Pacific Bliss pitched against the steep waves, then swerved back and forth to adjust course.   It was a job that needed to be done.  So, as we rolled, I braced myself and took everything out and  "cleaned cupboards."  Now, every bottle is braced against another or against something that "gives", such as ziplocks full of shortening or cookie mixes. All the cardboard packaging had been discarded during the initial provisioning in France, leaving only the instructions (in French, of course) which I cut out and put inside of the ziplocks or clear Tupperware containers.  You cannot imagine how much food three shelves hold without the packaging! That project completed, and stomach a little queasy from working down in the hull, I took another turn on the watch, outside, and then took another nap.  With only three of us for night watches, and Gottfried usually "half-sleeping" in the salon as our back-up in case we run into a problem or need a sail change-we found that we need a lot of naps to keep up our energy level.







Stories in this section... Canary Islands
Until the Butter Melts
Rockin', Rollin' and Cookin' Right Along!
Thanksgiving Day at Sea-Our 1000-Mile Celebration

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