March On

Liveaboards are a bit like bears. When the cold, the fog, and the rain of January and February finally subside we all come out of hibernation and get busy getting busy. March is the month of boat projects and dock projects. Suddenly the sun comes out, the heater gets stowed, the boots get moved out of the way, the sweaters and blankets get space bagged and the projects begin.

For Pelican it’s been repairs to a swollen door, new window treatments in the galley and salon, a week of teak, purging of some wall rot, chasing down some leaks, installation of a storage shelf in the galley, installation of a new refrigerator and relocation of the old onto the fly bridge, I could go on and on. The best part (so far) is that none of the chores have been too costly or too daunting.

I’m recalling  walks along Destin Harbor lots of winter mornings.  Always a few of the old charter fishing vessels were getting their entire housing chopped off for complete replacement. I’m not talking that kind of drama for Pelican this March. She just needs some TLC before the season kicks off. Things we couldn’t do with bulky winter trappings in the way. Time to open up and lighten up.

In addition to life on the dock the face of the island is changing. Spring breakers are flowing in by the day, families ride past on bikes and bikini clad college girls dot the beach seeking the sun, their male entourages close behind. Some things in this world never change. My sister and I laugh about how it seems like yesterday that we were those girls, tucked into the dunes avoiding the wind, fostering goose bumps, seeking after the sun. By God! we had to go back north with some color!

March is a month when cold-weary northerners flock south like birds to escape from the white stuff and brutal winds. Our clan has had a steady stream of that this month. There’s been no time to get homesick for our kids and grands with sibs and cousins, uncles and aunts coming in to town.

My brother Mike and his wife Polly bought a great place last year that sports The best patio on the island.  It overlooks the harbor and the iconic striped lighthouse.  It’s a great spot to just sit and watch the people go by. Mac and I brought Mardi Gras to South Carolina on Shrove Tuesday with a gumbo party. They don’t quite get it…we threw beads to the passers by and they brought them back up to the patio to return them!!

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The patio!!

A couple of trips to Savannah found us with our Georgia crew enjoying Saint Patrick’s Day with family and hanging around our kids new outdoor fireplace.

Often the question comes up on the various forums of the cruising world; Is Hilton Head an ok place to winter over? Many boaters think cruisers need to go farther south to avoid the cold. The crew of the Pelican gives HHI a resounding endorsement as a winter haven. Even though we have not been off the dock this month we have had plenty of days to walk, fish, bike, read, try new restaurants, work on projects and dink around Broad Creek. The winds are unpredictable but the sunshine is abundant. When April rolls around we will be ready to toss the lines and seek new adventures.

We hope you enjoy following along on our adventure. If you do, please comment, like, follow, and share so we can grow our audience.

See you on the water!

Answering the call. A guest blog by Wes Dannreuther

 

People who spend time on the water know the day will come when they will need to call someone for help. Whether you are in a Krogan or a kayak stuff happens. I’m excited to share a story with you today told by our son in law, Wes. Without Wes in our business we wouldn’t be on this adventure, we’d have to be seeing to our own operations, (and he is far better suited to run things). A published writer and the chief operations officer of Intracoastal Outfitters he tells the tale of a call for help he received this week from two guys doing the Perdido River paddle. Hope you enjoy his tale.

Answering the Call

 I run an outfitter. And I’ve run it long enough to know how to handle some pretty busy situations. Have learned to enjoy the chaos, really. But yesterday afternoon was something new. Already in the midst of multiple interactions, I get a phone call. I glance. Out of state number. That’s normal. We get so many telemarketing calls these days that I’ve almost come to expect an awkward pause followed by a digitized message. Instead of Steve or Sally telling me my Google listing is in danger of being obsolete, I get Frank. And wherever Frank’s calling from, it’s very windy. 

Yes, hello, my friend and I are at Camp Dixie in Elbert’s and need a shuttle pick up tomorrow morning.” 

I get caught off guard by phone calls every once in a while. “How’s your cowboy hat selection?” was one of the earliest ones I remember. Ummm . . . we don’t sell cowboy hats,” was the least sarcastic reply I could come up with. “Well, online it says you do.” I designed the website. I know for a fact that it doesn’t advertise cowboy hats. 

We do, however, sell outdoor footwear, clothing, and gear, which I’m guessing is how Frank found me, but we don’t have a shuttle service of any kind—certainly not one as far as away as Elberta. I don’t even know where Elberta is, but it sounds pretty far away, especially when my shop closes in 15 minutes. And in the same way I know my site doesn’t advertise cowboy hats, I know it doesn’t say anything about a shuttle service. But while it’s easy for me to routinely dismiss oddball requests that I can’t possibly fulfill, there’s something about Frank’s tone that won’t allow me to dismiss him. Not yet anyway. 

“Sir, we don’t offer any kind of shuttle service. I’m really not equipped to even help you,” I manage. 

“Well you’re the only place I can find. And we need help. The winds have picked up so much. We can’t paddle anymore. I can’t find anyone to help us.” 

I look at my watch. I look at the customers around the room. Then I turn to my right and remember that while I don’t have a commercial vehicle purposed for a shuttle service, I do still have my wife’s minivan, which I was forced to drive today because my Jeep’s in the shop getting brake work done. My mind shifts to the next morning’s schedule. As fast as I can, I figure out where the hell Elberta is. Then I find out where they need to go from there. After some fuzzy math, I tell Frank I’ll call him back. 

A few minutes later I have checked out the remaining customers, but sometimes even the quickest conversation can turn thoughtful, and meaningful, and by the time I prepare the shop for closing, I realize I had almost forgotten about Frank. And Chuck. Apparently Frank called from Chuck’s phone, and apparently these two have been paddling enough together where they know whose job is what. When shit hits the fan, apparently you give the phone to Frank. 

There’s a part of me that think it’s absurd, but the better part of me spent many years in a kayak. Sometimes on rivers, but more often on open water where the wind and seas can turn an easy paddle into a grind—that better part of me almost got the Coast Guard called out on me on one trip because the forecast was so bad. I demanded my wife and brother-in-law not do so, and I got myself home. But I was a lot younger then. Frank didn’t sound so young. He sounded tired. And he sounded desperate. The better part of me is also logistical, and having seen just how rural Elberta is, I understood the predicament they were in. You can’t exactly call Uber when you’ve got touring kayaks and hundreds of pounds of gear. It’s a niche need. And when you’re in a jam of this kind, you can rest a lot easier as long as you know you have a plan for the next day. It’s the uncertainty that eats at you, and these guys were up against the clock. I pull up the caller ID. 

“Frank? Yea, hey listen, I’ll be there about 9 o’clock.”Frank is very thankful and asks about what it will cost, but the relief I hear in his voice has already been payment enough. Of course, when I get home and tell my wife what I’m doing, that’s not enough for her. 

“Who are these guys?”

“I don’t know. Frank and Chuck.”

I won’t write what she said next as I think there might be innocent eyes reading this blog. 

What she doesn’t know, though, is that in the meantime I had discovered that Frank and Chuck were part of a larger group paddling from the upper end of the Perdido River down to the Gulf as part of an environmental awareness campaign. Part of those many years I spent kayaking was with groups. Groups who loved doing these kinds of trips for causes. Any excuse to get out on the water. The better part of me had known pretty quickly what these guys were all about. I explained all of that to my wife, which went a long way, just so long as I promised to have Frank and Chuck text me pictures of their photo ID’s she could have ready for the police just in case anything happened. I laughed at her concern, but once her back was turned I made sure my knife was clipped to my belt. 

Anyway, next morning, sure enough, the drive to Elbert’s was absolutely beautiful, almost therapeutic. And the scene I found at Camp Dixie was pretty much exactly as I had imagined. The boats, the gear, the people. It was a subculture I had lived in so many years ago—in a different state, but it’s the same community no matter where you go. 

We got my wife a new car last summer. Ever since then I keep thinking about selling her old minivan. The problem is, it’s paid for, has well over 200K miles on it, and I know I can’t get anything for it anyway. But the better part of me knows where I bought that van. I bought it from my wife’s grandfather who passed away nearly three years ago. He and my wife’s grandmother are two of the most generous people I’ve ever known, and even though I was in the middle of a totally hectic situation when Frank called, and even though the last thing I could imagine doing between getting kids to school the next morning, running errands, and getting to work—the last thing I needed to be doing was driving to Elberta to rescue some stranded kayakers I’ve never met—despite that, I knew what I should do. I should answer the call. Because those kids I’m shuttling to school are getting older, and soon our adventures will become more daring, and I’m sure at some point I’m going to need some stranger to do the same.

Learn with your legs

I love to walk! It’s my thing. I set out everyday in a different direction here at Hilton Head and I never get tired of the scenery. Sometimes I go toward the beach and walk the shoreline and sometimes I walk a neighborhood around here close to the marina or around Mom’s place in Wexford. Other days I set out to the shopping areas of Shelter Cove and zig zag among the shops and restaurants. Either way I don my Chacos from Intracoastal Outfitters and hit the road. Hey, when you are retired you have the luxury of time and this is how I choose to fill mine.

One of the best things about my walking time is that it gives me uninterrupted time to listen to podcasts. I have become addicted! One of my favorites is Rebecca Jarvis’ No Limits. She interviews women entrepreneurs and shares their stories. She is an excellent interviewer and I always come away from her shows feeling inspired by the women I shared my walk with. Recently, she spun off a fascinating new podcast called The Dropout. It is the story of Elizabeth Holmes the founder of Therenos who allegedly defrauded her investors out of millions. Take my word for it, it’s worth a listen.

Some days I’m in the mood for something short and fun. I might not feel like concentrating quite so hard while I listen. Those are the days I pick Mike Rowe’s The Way I Heard It. It’s fun to try to figure out who he is talking about before he reveals the subject’s name at the end. You learn a lot of fun back stories from his program. It’s very much like Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story from yesteryear.

Believe it or not there are days when I am missing my work life. I need to feel connected to the retail world or the fashion scene. It’s usually on days when the boat’s feeling small and the sky’s looking grey. That’s when I chose something from The Boutique Hub. It keeps me in the game and helps me know what the conversation is within the industry that I love.

It’s been said “Never stop learning!”, so while we have this time of adventure and leisure where everyday we are learning about the live aboard lifestyle and all things marina and boating, we are also each pursuing other avenues of learning. It’s a luxury one does not have when days are filled with work and responsibility. I don’t take that for granted. I know life can change in the blink of an eye and so I will keep on walking and let my podcasts keep on talking…in the words of our wise friends…”while we can!”.

 

 

 

“I get really jazzed about this”

This post is being written at thirty thousand feet somewhere over the middle of the country. This week I have been as far from the Atlantic ICW as I’ve been in over a year. Las Vegas. Not my favorite town, but I survived. It was market week there and since we are staying in Mississippi until middle February I decided to tag along with Katie and Dana from our Ocean Springs store and actually work a little.

I suppose everyone should see Vegas once in their lives. It’s like no other place. Wealthy developers have recreated every environment imaginable there, but none of it is real. Everywhere you look is a fake and plastic, larger -than-life world separated from the fake and plastic world next door by walled walkways and escalators. You can’t escape the smoke or the noise. Everyone working there looks tired. Everyone playing there looks tired. I guess that’s why as I sit on this plane I’m tired. We worked hard, played hard, walked a lot, and slept not much.

But…there is a lot of energy in the market at these shows! I never get tired of that part. The hunt for the new, hot find is always on your mind as you walk the floor with the music pulsing and the beautiful people moving about. Now this being my forty first year in the business I have seen pretty much everything. It’s getting a bit telling of my age ( and believe me there is nothing like walking a Vegas show to make you feel your age), when I see something come around again and reappear as a hot fashion trend for the third time! Even Katie and Dana were seeing looks that they wore in high school re-emerging for the younger generation to call its own. You’ve got to love this business!! We do!

Chinese New Year…the year of the Pig!

Roosters!

Now the last weekend in January we ventured down to Naples to spend three nights in the home of high school friends, the Gieb’s. Four couples, the guys who have been friends since grade school and the four of us wives enjoyed catching up and hanging out. Since we had cut across Florida through Lake Okeechobee north of there on our trek in Pelican we never got that far down the west coast. It was fun to see the area. It was even more fun to spend time with old friends. We laughed until our faces hurt, danced like we were at the prom, and swapped stories like it was our jobs! Every time Jay had a tale to tell he’d jump up and say” I get really jazzed about this…!” If you have ever met Jay Gieb you will know he spends his life being jazzed and his energy and enthusiasm for everything he does is truly infectious! It was an amazing weekend. Thanks for the hospitality!

Sundown drinks at Naples beach

Bob and Melissa Riley

The boys!

Mike and Katie Kahler

Jay and Ann Gieb

The ladies at sunset

Purple green and gold are popping up along the Gulf Coast these recent weeks and our annual Gautier Men’s Club Mardi Gras Ball was held last Saturday night. It’s always a great time to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones. Mike and I put on our dancing shoes and our finery and joined the party. Celebrating its fortieth year as a club they invited the past royalty to promenade out in the spotlight once more. It was fun! Though first in line at breakfast and paying the price the next day we were glad that we went.

Gautier Men’s Club 2019 ball

So this week we are preparing to return to the low country after the Celebration of Life for our friends Johnny and Teresa Nelson. We carry their memories with us as we get back on board to continue our adventure. Certainly their passing so soon to the next life shows us how important it is to grasp at the opportunities to live as large as we can, while we can. That’s what we set out to do on Day One and that’s what we continue to do as this year unfolds. Friendships and memories are cherished gifts that are always welcomed aboard.

And then there was one.

They say the two best days of boat ownership are the day you buy and the day you sell. We wouldn’t know. “Sell” is a four letter word to my husband (unless it was back in the day when he’d sell you a great pair of shoes and the bag to match)! But suddenly we find ourselves with no one to play with here on the Gulf side of life. All of our boat pals have sold. There was Down the Drain and Plan B, Island Lady and Mirage, Slow Motion and Reel Love. They all have new owners, all have new playmates. Only the Rum and Reggae still remains, under renovation and repair, we hope she can come out to play soon!

We have been home in Mississippi for a couple of weeks now. I have been going through a lot of photos and as I do I realized just how many hours, even days, we have spent on the water for our social life. There was a group of us that met every year up at Buzzard Lake up the West Pascagoula River. There isn’t really a lake there, just a curve in the river, but Buzzard Bend Rendezvous didn’t sound as classy as Buzzard Lake Rendezvous. Sometimes in the springtime, sometimes in the fall, we’d tandem up the river where it forks off to the east at Hickory Hill country club. Buzzard Lake as we called it is actually  Buzzard Bayou on the official map of the Pascagoula River.  A few miles up and past Martins Bluff and around Macon Bend but not as far up river as Poticaw.

The first boat to arrive would tie off to the big tree on the bend, everyone else rafted up along side. Then the fun would begin. There was swimming and kayaking, fishing and eating, oh yes there was plenty of eating! ….and grilling and eating some more. We would delegate meals so we had plenty of variety but it seemed no one wanted to get upstaged with their offerings so we pulled out all the stops. Marinated crab claws, shrimp and grits, jambalaya, deer burgers and sausage, and sides to die for were always plentiful. Did I mention there were also a few cocktails enjoyed? Yes, regardless of the time of day, there were cocktails. Mimosas and Bloodies began the day. Then the beers were cold and plentiful all day long. Inevitably someone produced a fancy sundowner and then there was the late night sipping of good spirits.

Games came out after dark. Poker or Jenga, Greedy or Man and Mouse. But the best night was when we pulled out Battle of the Sexes! The ladies thought they had the game in the bag. Several guys had nodded off or gone to their berths when we had a question for the men about the fabrication of ladies dyeable pumps, (a trend of the day), only to have my sleeping shoe man holler up from his v berth “peau de soie”! We lost the game.

Nothing stopped us from having this rendezvous. One year we were having Pelican painted so our slider doors were off. Plan B had some repair going on and had plywood everywhere. Kids got married. Hurricanes blew through. We rafted off. We braved sub-freezing weather and beastly, buggy hot spells but we gathered and we rafted and we had the time of our lives, and I miss it. Some would come early and stay all weekend, some dropped in for the day or an hour. Our best laughs came when a small local fishing skiff would round the bend of the river and pull back on his throttle and gawk wide-eyed at this huge raft of vessels in his river! It really was a sight to see.

It makes me think as we do this journey of ours to the east coast and back. We meet loopers everywhere. They are turning left at Mobile as they come down the Tenn-Tom. When we get back to the Gulf Coast with Pelican I’d like to help redirect some of those folks to come explore our amazing river system. A little side trip could show them some amazing history, birds, cypress knees, bayous and bends. If you don’t believe me call Kathy at Eco tours of South Mississippi. She might just show you Buzzard Lake. She knows it. She was there.

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Land

Well that was a whirlwind holiday season! We spent much of November and December back on the Gulf Coast. Starting at Peter Anderson Festival then jumping back and forth from Hilton Head to decorate for Mom,to Gautier to join the holiday party that happens on land.

While back at home it was weeks of doctors and lawyers and Indian chiefs. Well maybe no Indian chiefs. But It seemed like every day we were on land we had something to handle that included some form of legal or governmental connection. There were health care decisions to make. Wills to update. Shopping , cooking, and decorating to do. Friends to bury and friends to marry. It was a busy busy two months! Don’t get me wrong, it was rich with family and friends. Lots of great memories were made those days on land! I’m very glad we went. But it’s good to be back on board.

Hilton Head has evolved into its winter self. As of this week the snow birds are here. Our neighbor on the dock says “tourist season is over and now it’s two-fer season”. It pretty quiet. Some places are closed. Others are coaxing the Canadians in with deals. Many of our boat buddies have gone south. Warmer weather beckons.

January is a reflective month. Looking back at the old year and planning for the new finds one evaluating their life looking at their goals. 2018 was an amazing year of great adventure for us. We took a dream and made it a reality. Our desire to cruise and live aboard this boat has unfolded in an amazing way. Are there decisions that now need to be made? Not yet. We agreed this adventure was happening in a “year of no decisions”. So now it’s 2019. Still a year of no decisions. When we come to the end of this journey, whenever that is, there will be time to decide about downsizing and all that that involves. For now our decisions are small ones. What path to walk today? What new meal to cook? What book to read next? What boat project to tackle?…….

It’s 6:45 am on January 9th as I am writing this. Mike’s phone just rang and I am slightly aware that it’s a call from home. I pause to listen and realize something very tragic has happened that he is now processing. He hangs up and tells me that dear friends have had a horrid tragedy. A fire in their hunt camp trailer has claimed my girlfriend Teresa’s life and her husband Johnny is clinging to life with little hope. We wondered why God steered us to driving our car back to Hilton Head for the winter. So glad He did. We take the next hour to close up the boat and pack the car. We need to go back to Mississippi to be with their daughters and our community of friends. This is an unimaginable tragedy and we need to help. Johnny dies midday as we are driving across Georgia. We are numb with grief as we arrive at the house and begin the process of helping friends and family sort through the raw emotions that the entire community is feeling. We plan to stay a month. There is a memorial celebration planned in mid February. We will certainly be there.

Hearts are heavy. Hugs are tighter. Misty eyes look into misty eyes everywhere we go around town. Calls come in from people we haven’t spoken with in a long time. The healing begins. Losing young friends in such a tragic way reopens wounds from the past and makes us look at our futures. As for Mike and I this reaffirms our decision of last year to lock the door and leave home to seize the adventure on the water. Life is short. Do it now.

When we do return to the water and get off the dock I know thoughts of Johnny and Teresa will fill our heads and our hearts as we gaze at our wake or watch another sunset. Many many hours we spent with these two souls on the water. From the beaches in Destin to the barrier islands of the Mississippi Sound countless memories were made. Farewell sweet friends, until we meet again.

A little bit of Heaven

A lot of you readers may be new to the way I send our annual Christmas greeting. I have been sending a video Christmas card for about 13 years now, ever since we started having amazing grandchildren and I could not zero in on a few of the best photos from a whole year’s worth of shots. Every year I wait until I get the whisper inside my heart to see what song will speak to me for the slideshow,  it has to be special!  This year with all of the cruising, blogging, traveling and distractions of every other lovely kind I didn’t even think about the video until a few weeks ago. Amazingly the song Heaven Everywhere by Francesca Battiselli spoke to me the first time I heard it.  This year for Mac and I has been a wonderful collection of Heaven everywhere. Ever sunrise, every sunset, every new friend we have met, every new town we have discovered, every moment staring at the wake or looking at the horizon has been a little bit of Heaven everywhere. We are on land for the holidays, wrapping gifts, helping out, touching base, hugging necks, but we both know the adventure is just on pause for a few weeks. We will be back on Pelican in the new year looking to meet more new friends, discover more new horizons, seek more new adventures. But for now we wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed 2019! See you on the water.

Click here to view our greeting: Merry Christmas from our home to yours.

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Giants

IMG_9011This post is a tribute to a man who was a great mentor to us, a giant of a man whom I loved like a father. He went to heaven last week. Fortunately we were home in Mississippi at the time so we were able to go pay our respects to his family. If you didn’t have the privilege of knowing Hugh Kavanagh let me introduce him.

Mike and I, we are retailers. Have been for 40 years. Brick and Mortar. The real deal. We spent a bunch of those years doing business in the back of an old downtown Biloxi institution called Austin’s. We owned the shoe department. Rhonda Clower ran it and kept it balanced to the penny while we ran our other operations. When Rhonda wasn’t there I worked that department. Hugh Kavanagh managed the main store. We leased the shoe department. That is how it was done in those days. No social media, no Amazon. Every woman in town that needed new digs came into Austin’s and we outfitted them. Hugh and the girls dressed them and we put shoes on their feet. Pretty simple. Wish it were still so.

Those are the years I grew to know and love Hugh. He was fair, funny, friendly, financially frugal, and final in his decisions. He was a man of integrity. In the long line at his funeral Mike and I overheard a man say “I didn’t realize Hugh had such a big reach.” That’s exactly what he had, a big reach. Every woman in south Mississippi knew Hugh from Austins. Plus he and Ann raised six kids. That’ll give you a reach in life.

In the early 90’s fate brought Hugh’s wife Ann into our lives and our business. The perfect match for this sweet and simple man was the rock of his household, Ann. She is one of the most important people in my life. My heart breaks for her to have lost her Hugh.

Hugh went to Heaven in very good company last week. George H W Bush is in his “recruiting class”! Two giants have left this earth and both leave a big hole.

I have always loved the song “Friends” by Michael W Smith and when it was sung by him at Bush’s funeral today I found myself wiping away tears. “Friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them. ” I’ll miss Hugh asking how our inventory levels are looking. Asking if we are fully stocked to do the business. I’ll miss him checking up on our margins and inquiring about our goals. But I know he’s looking down on us from a place where there is an understanding that being a retailer is more than numbers, inventory and margins. It’s a calling to be present to people and meet their needs in a humble manner with Christ in your heart. That was Hugh and I pray when I finish this race I can have the type of reach that he had. May we always remember Hugh. I guess, as it has been said,  old retailers never die, they just get marked down!

Addendum

Sadly another giant of a man passed away this week. Our own Dana ( Ocean Springs manager) lost her Dad, the man who was her world.  Bill Darnell, Mr Billy, died suddenly with no warning or word of farewell. Our hearts break for the family.  We will be heading back to the Gulf Coast from Hilton Head again, earlier than planned, in order to pay our respects and help at LEE TRACY for the season.  I guess we all need the reminder to love more freely, hug more tightly, and be more present to the ones we love in this world because we never know when they will be called to the next.

 

Galley Gab

As first mate the galley is my space. I’m pretty picky about it. I like to keep things stowed and in order. I don’t like my counters cluttered. I get pretty testy when tools and spare parts land here. Let me show you around.

We have two small refrigerators on board. Think college dorm. One in the galley and one on the fly bridge. The fly bridge unit has our only freezer area.  It’s tiny. With a little effort I can keep fresh foods cold for about four days. We run the generator a couple of hours a day when we are on the hook or cruising to keep the fridges cold. We only open them when absolutely necessary, no standing there gazing inside like a teenager! The moral of the story: Provisioning takes planning! But make no mistake, you will eat well on my vessel.

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We have a system, a hierarchy of food and drinks. It starts with a lot of zip lock bags, four coolers, and about sixty pounds of ice. Mac makes a slurry in the Yeti by adding a half of a box of rock salt to the ice and then adds a little water. This will become hypercold and keep drinks (beer) cold for about four days. The second cooler holds nothing but ice and is not touched until we need to replenish the Yeti ice. The third cooler is in the galley on top of my small fridge. That is where my meats and perishable dips etc go. The fourth cooler is a small stainless box in the bar area under the galley counter where I put only “today” foods. This way as I prepare things I’m not going to the refrigerator ten times. I take everything I need once a day and place it in my holding cooler.

We also have two ice mules on board. We take our daily allotment of drinks and stock an ice mule in the morning so that we aren’t opening the Yeti all day long letting air in.

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All fresh food get sealed in a zip lock or plastic airtight bin. No boxes come into my boat. Cardboard is the enemy. (Did I mention my hatred of roaches!) Meats are double bagged just in case they leak. Lettuce and spinach go in the fridge crisper bin. Eggs and dairy go in the fridge.

I have always put green onion in everything I prepare but on the boat I have learned that leeks hold up far longer than green onions and give dishes the same flavoring. As for fruits, we have discovered citrus fruits that have a peel will last far longer and not bring fruit flies like peaches or grapes or apples often do. So it’s nectarines, grapefruit, lemon and limes. They can sit out on the counter for days. Avocado and tomato don’t need the fridge either so I often have plenty of them on board. While underway it’s important to put all these in the sink so they aren’t rolling all over the galley floor when a go-fast-cruiser rocks our world with his wake. Trust me it will happen!

Our galley has an old 12 volt ice box that is not operational but seals very tight. I store all my breads, buns, crackers and chips in there. Even the bread keeps for weeks! We don’t eat much of it so this is a great spot for it. I use a lot of pita pockets and tortillas and they stay well in that box too.

Now, I could feed us for weeks with what I have on board. There are cans of soup, beans and grains of all sorts, pastas and sauces, olives and artichokes, summer sausage and jerky…lots of staples stored on their sides in my panty locker. (Cans will mark the shelves with a ring of rust if the slightest moisture gets in there, so I have learned to stack them on their sides in shoebox sized bins.) If we ended up marooned on an island we would not starve…for a few weeks that is. Our fishing skills do lack.

I cook in my insta pot and the electric skillet, or Mac grills on the green egg or gas grill on the flybridge.  Typically I cook breakfast before we pull anchor but often Mac will single hand the morning duties and I get to sleep in. He always starts the generator to make coffee and once I stumble out and get a cup in me I’ll cook him something. It’s usually an easy to serve, hand held, bacon egg and cheese in a pita pocket or tortilla. Lunches while underway might be just crackers with summer sausage and cheese or a dip with carrots and fruit. Light and easy to serve between us at the helm.

Dinner and drinks are the highlight of the cruisers day. Once the hook is down, it’s bottoms up! Nothing better than a cocktail or glass of vino after a day of vigilant cruising. (Yes, we drive our boat. No auto pilot here.) The drink of choice might depend on the day, how long we’ve been out and what the ice supply looks like. When the beers are still frosty I love a good IPA. If the ice is holding up I’ll fix Moscow Mules. By the fourth night out we might only have a slightly chilled bottle of Sav Blanc in the Yeti. But even if ice is days past it’s prime and all of the coolers on the fly bridge are looking like bath tubs, there’s always a red somewhere down below that can be uncorked and enjoyed as we look to the west!

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