Saturday, 13 August 2011

Barcelona To Palma

I am sitting in a nice little coffee shop in the city of Palma in Mallorca sipping on an iced coffee ‘shakerato’, nibbling on a very flaky croissant and I’m finally connected to the internet. This blogging when travelling on a wooden boat is not easy you know. I walked miles to find this place in the mid-day sun. Mad dogs and English girls…

The blog below was written 2 days ago but I thought I’d send it anyway. Keeps everyone in the loop and up to date and if any of those naughty sons on board haven’t yet rung home to let folks know they are safe and well, then this should suffice for now;

If I give you the sob story first then you won’t dislike me too much when I explain the scenery in which I am writing this blog now.

The wind howled and the sea seemed to swell with an awesome power as every wave approached, gaining height and speed with the intent that only Mother Nature can throw at you…Okay, I exaggerate slightly. It was actually quite a good trip to Palma from Barcelona. It’s a distance of just about a hundred miles so we did it in 18 hours with a lovely sunset to boot. The problem (the sob story I promised) was that infernal sea-swell that plagued us on the way to Barcelona. We somehow managed once again to be taking the boat directly into the wind with a huge aft, starboard quarter swell which rocked and rolled the boat in sets that surfers on a beach would adore. Not cooks down below in a dark and airless galley.

The boys came up with this idea to keep me cool in my galley. The fan is blowing cool air through my little port hole directly over me. Genius. I love them.

It’s exhausting. It took me three whole hours to make a beef stroganoff with noodles and a cauliflower with mushroom stroganoff for the non-beef eaters. I even flambéed the hot paprika and cumin sautéed cauliflower florets, in a little brandy before adding crème fraiche and Dijon mustard; probably not wise on a wooden boat, that’s rolling around like a pig in mud (don’t tell the captain). But I needed something fun to perk up the experience which had me regularly thrown from my tight body-clutch to the galley cupboards, sending my onions off in every other direction but my chopping board.

(I once tested the potential rolling speed of certain vegetables on a particularly rough crossing once. Courgettes can build a good speed and seem to gain confidence as they go. Aubergines predictably end up veering off to one side, unable to handle the competition that tomatoes can offer. But courgettes and onions are the winners in any tilted galley. The trick is to quickly halve the little blighters, removing their rolling capacity rendering them completely unable to escape the chop. Hah!)

And once again, I’m sorry to say, no fish. Very disappointing indeed. George even bought new lures; but to no avail. We’re starting to take it personally now. George isn’t handling it well. I think his hunter/gatherer instinct is wounded…male pride. And my sashimi knife is waiting, honed, sharpened; standing by to stand by.

Our fishing gear in for the night. But it's about as useful when the line is out...

The end to my pretty tame ‘sob’ story is that we’re anchored off an island, west of the bay of Palma as I write. It’s a stunning day and we’ve all been for a little refreshing swim in the incredibly clear waters and mucked about with fins and snorkels. We’ve all caught up on sleep lost from standing watches through the night and I made a little light salmon and leek frittata lunch (recipe to follow). We may even have indulged in a glass of rosé wine with ice. Sounds pretty awful I’m sure. But we’re going into Palma tomorrow and Sunday the hard work starts. Regatta crew will be flying in and race training starts Monday. It should be a fun regatta and if we win anything we could get to meet the king of Spain. Lucky us.

Today we were very lucky. A nice little day off. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it in this blog before, but I may have the best job in the world. Life at 33 Degrees is A-Okay by me. (She says before two back-to-back regattas)

Thanks for reading, see you soon.