Friday, August 4, 2017

Prepping dinner in a small galley

Galleys are much smaller than kitchens!

One thing you will learn very quickly on a boat our size, is that there is NOT a lot of room to make any kind of gourmet meals.  I love to cook and entertain, and I couldn't wait to do that on our boat. Soon I realized things had to be very simple and pre-planned.

This is our "kitchen", which includes a microwave and a two burner stove top.
Elliott Bay Marina, is located just down the road from Whole Foods and Wild Salmon Seafood Market at Fisherman's terminal (great FRESH fish daily!)

We bought a grill that fits perfectly on the side of the boat and I'm amazed as to how much food we can cook on it.  Last week we bought "marbled salmon", which I had never had before from Wild Salmon and it was fantastic! Because it has a higher fat content, it stays moist when you grill it.  The grill does have larger grates, so we typically will use our lava stone or foil to keep things cleaner.

Since we are buying super fresh fish, you only need a few spices on hand. We simply used garlic salt, Italian seasoning and pepper with some olive oil for this salmon.

Pair it with a pasta and green salad, which you can make ahead and you have the perfect dinner for hot weather!

 Sweet Chopped Kale Salad with Beets

1 Bag of Taylor Farms Sweet Chopped Kale Salad kit
1/4 cup of chopped red onion
1/2 cup of sliced English cucumber
3 small roasted red beets, sliced & cut in half

Mix all the ingredients when ready to serve. The kit comes with cranberries & poppy seed dressing.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Box of your favorite cooked pasta (we used a "pantry" combo of rotini & ziti)
1/4 cup (or more if needed) prepared pesto
fresh mozzarella (we used medallions sliced, but you can use any type)
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes sliced in half
1 cup sliced English cucumbers
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients and chill for at least 1 hour. We transferred the salad to a zip lock bag for compact storing on the boat. It was great for another two days!

Many times weekends, we'll go down and stay on the boat on Fridays. Since we work on Fridays, we don't have time to prep for dinner. That's when we will swing by Alberton's grocery store (they have the best fried chicken) and buy their six piece chicken dinner with the side dishes. It transports easy and there's no cleanup!

If you are searching for ideas, two of my favorite cookbooks for the galley are One-Pan Galley Gourmet and Six Ingredients or Less cookbooks. Simple and perfect for a boat!

When in doubt and it's a hot day, you can always fall back on a fresh tomato salad with mozzarella! It only has four ingredients and tons of flavor!

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom cherry tomatoes
Mozzarella Balls
Fresh Basil
Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing- see below

1/4 cup red-wine vinegar.
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard.
1 teaspoon sugar.
Salt and black pepper, to taste.
N/A black pepper.
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil.

Use as much of any of the items as you wish and mix the ingredients about one hour before serving.

We haven't been entertaining that much this summer on the boat, since we have such a great restaurant at the marina, Maggie's Bluffs. But as Fall arrives, we'll be spending more time on it and we'll share some of the great recipes with you!

Cheers, Scott and Ally

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Our first trip to the San Juan Islands - Part 3 Oak Harbor back to Seattle

San Juan Islands - Part 3

Not knowing originally how long it would take us to get home, we planned to stop half way at Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island on our way home on Monday, Jul 24th.  Now that we have done the trip, one regret we have is that we didn't stay longer on each of the islands to allow time to explore them. It's a long way up and expensive, to simply turn around and come home. But we had fun, non the less.

My brother Ron and his wife Patsy moved on to my sister's boat, Semper Fi in the morning and we departed soon after.  We really lucked out on the weather and the conditions of the sound. We decided to go south along Lopez Island, through Cattle Pass and then towards Deception Pass.  Deception Pass is very very tricky to get through. Because of the severe currents that create whirlpools, it's best to go in during slack tide.  Given this information, we had to go through between 10:30am and 12pm.

Leaving Deer Harbor

leaving San Juan Channel towards Lopez Island

We went back and forth if we should travel north back through Thatcher's pass, which we knew or head south through Cattle Pass, which was unfamiliar to us. But since Cattle Pass was east of Deception Pass, it made more sense.

As you come through Cattle Pass, especially at high tide, be very careful to not get too close to the end of Lopez Island. There are a number of small islands and reefs and we almost slammed straight into one.

We went through Deception Pass very quickly at about 18 knots, but it was definitely like driving on black ice!

After we got through the pass, we came upon Hope island in the channel. We weren't sure if we should go through on the west side or east side and no other boats were around for us to see what everyone else was doing.

Well, we quickly found out that we should have gone on the western side of Hope Island, because we were suddenly in only 4 feet of water!! We carefully and slowly made our way towards Whidbey Island.

Skagit Bay was extremely windy and choppy on our way to Oak Harbor. When we arrived to the channel, the tide was super low.  We stayed dead center, but even then we were only about 8' of water.  Then when we got to the Oak Harbor Marina, we weren't sure where to go in. We tried calling the office, no luck and they didn't have a VHF channel posted for the harbor master.  But we did have our slip number, so we eventually figured it out.  Luckily when we pulled in, another boat was next to us and they had to help us dock as the current was really strong.

The slips have picnic benches and there are seals that lay around on the logs surrounding the marina.  This marina is a city marina, so it's not super fancy, but it does offer the basic amenities, including free Wi-Fi.  I will warn you though, it is very noisy due to the fighter jets from the air base that fly day and night!

We walked into town, about a 15 minute walk from the marina. There are lots of memorials throughout downtown in honor of the fallen service men who served our country.

Downtown is very small and there's not a lot to see or do. They have a few small shops, a couple of taverns (which we found one....that was interesting!!) and we ended up having dinner at the Loakal Pub.

While at the Loakal, we ended up buying drinks for a jet engine mechanic who was headed to Japan for a two year tour. He has been in the Navy for over 20 years - we were truly thankful for his service and longtime commitment.

We ended the evening enjoying the sunset, but again it got hard to talk due to the loud jets flying over. Not super romantic. But we were so exhausted from the entire trip that we fell into bed early and slept in the next day.

We left Oak Harbor at high tide (yea!!) around 9:30am and we had placid waters all the way home!! This is so rare for the Puget Sound.  Scott made the comment that if it was always like this, he would go up north regularly!!

I tried taking photos of the whales we encountered, but this is what I got every time! See the tail? Oh, yea, it's already underwater!

The sight of Seattle and our marina, Elliott Bay Marina was a very welcome sight!

We got home around 12:30pm and we gassed up (another $300). We then spent the next three hours cleaning the boat. We took off all of the vinyl/canvas windows and scrubbed them clean. It was so nice to have a shiny boat again.

Lessons learned from this trip:
  • pack light! We ended up wearing the same clothes multiple days, no need for a new outfit every day.
  • Food - pack light! Our fridge holds A LOT of food, we were amazed! But we brought enough food to feed an army and so did my sister-in-law. We used every nook and cranny to store food.
  • Stay longer and explore the islands.
  • Fuel- if you travel between 18-22 knots, you will burn through a lot of fuel. Our fuel tank is 148 gallons and when we left Seattle, we put in 75 gallons, then in Deer Harbor we put in about 90 gallons and upon our return we put in another 90 gallons.

While we don't have any major trips like this scheduled for the rest of the summer, we are going on a quick weekend trip with friends closer to home in August. Stay tuned for our next adventure! 

Scott and Ally on KokomoSeattle

Friday, July 28, 2017

Our first trip to the San Juan Islands - Part 2 La Conner to Fisherman's Bay, Lopez Island & then to Deer Harbor, Orcas Island

San Juan Islands - Part 2

On Friday, July 21st we left La Conner around 1:30pm after replacing our power steering pump on the port side engine.  We were headed to Fisherman's Bay on Lopez Island through the Swinomish Slough and up and around Anacortes and via Thatcher Pass & Guemes Channel, about 26.6 nautical miles.

The slough is a no wake zone and is very shallow. It took us about 30 minutes to get through it. The weather was cloudy and quite a bit colder than the day before. 

As soon as we came out of the slough into the bay, we headed into the Guemes channel around Anacortes. Going across the Guemes channel was a bit choppy and you definitely want to be on the look out for logs! Within a few minutes, we were now in rain which makes in a bit hard to see.

We got through Thatcher's Pass pretty quick and that's when the rain stopped and the skies started to turn blue.

  Fisherman's Bay Marina is a very tricky to get into. First of all, you have to go in at high tide and even at high tide, it's not that deep. Be sure to stay in the center of the channel! The marina is part of the Lopez Islander Resort. The resort had a great restaurant / bar, all the amenities, including showers, restrooms and a gift shop. The marina also has a small store.

One other word of CAUTION when docking at Fisherman's Bay is the current is wicked! It might look calm, but you will need help from either the harbor master or crew from another boat. We struggled and we also watched boat after boat, struggling with the current.

That evening, friends of Kurt's were also moored at the marina and they had just gone crabbing. Looks like we're having a crabfest on Semper Fi!

Bryce, Kurt, Scott Susan and Mike on Semper Fi

Me, Patsy and Susan

Ron, Susan and Scott

After our fabulous crab feast we headed to the bar at the resort where they had live music and lots of beverages! Trust me, if you get to this bar you will have a ton of fun!

We had custom t-shirts made for Kokomo

Saturday morning (Day 3), we followed Kurt's dingy out to the bay in our dingy LilMo to put crab pots out. It was so shallow, that Scott and I stayed in the bay in about 2 feet of water and I made him pull the engine up. I didn't want it to get caught up in all of the sea grass. It was bizarre how low the tide was.

The marina had quite a few boats anchored in the bay, including this very cool "pirate" ship! Everyone who came into the marina, took a moment to take a photo of it.

We let the crab pots sit for a few hours while we waited for high tide to leave Fisherman's Bay and head to Deer Harbor, Orcas Island.  It was scheduled for 5p, but checkout was 12p.  Knowing that we couldn't go anywhere, the marina was very flexible with our departure time.  We ended up leaving about 2pm, as that was half way between low and high.  I still recommend going low and slow thru the bay and channel!

As soon as you come out of the bay you enter the San Juan Channel. It was pretty windy and rough for us.  We headed due west towards Friday Harbor.

Again, you need to look for logs and it's difficult as we had 2' white caps going through the channel.  We got through pretty quickly, going about 20 knots and got into Deer Harbor within about an hour.
When we arrived to the Deer Harbor Marina , we first went to the fuel dock and also pumped out. My brother Ron was incredibly generous to fill up our tank. I kept asking him "are you sure??!! it won't be what you expect!" Another $300 in fuel and we were set to go. 

I will say the marina staff wasn't the friendliest welcome committee. We had made our reservations weeks ago, along with my sister.  They gave us our slip assignment and when we got to the spot, one of the dock hands came out and said he was going to put us in the slip across from the assigned one and walk us in stern in first and put Kurt's boat in front of us.  That made no sense, as we wouldn't be able to leave and we couldn't use our dingy. The kid argued a bit with us and asked why we needed to leave during the day. I replied "Well, we are here to go boating and crabbing". Apparently they were trying to squeeze in a 52' boat behind Kurt's boat, but they gave up. The moorage is also quite a bit more expensive than say Fisherman's.  We paid $34/night at Fisherman's and for Deer Harbor, with power it was $63/night. Plus you have to buy tokens for the shower.

They do have a cute gift shop with lots of clothing items and souvenirs, plus a well stocked grocery store. On Saturday and Sundays they sell freshly made donuts in the morning and they have local artists selling goods too. 

We were able to snag a picnic table on the dock, that we used for our meals and gatherings!

The next day, Kurt went out to pick up the crab pots they dropped on their way in. Oh, are you wondering how many crabs we got in Fisherman's Bay? None.....he forgot to cut the plastic zip ties that hold the doors together when they are shipped. LOL  This time around he got five (the limit for one person per day) beauties! We celebrated with Mimosas, pre-made! Yumm!

Scott and I spent the morning zipping around in our dingy and checked out all of the cool boats that were in the harbor!

That afternoon, we all went out on Semper Fi to check the pots, since Scott and I both had crab licenses.  Unfortunately, they lost a pot either from a high tide or someone took it. It was a very fun relaxing afternoon hanging out with everyone on one boat.

We met a local traveler from Olympia, Ray who has been a live-aboard for a long while and his dog Rex.  Rex got all of the attention and he had "human" eyes. But I could never quite capture his look.

The day ended with a great crab feast, salad and birthday celebrations!

Soon after this "party" photo was taken, the guys headed up to the pizza place to order a pizza and the gals chatted away.  We were parting ways the next morning as we were headed home and Ron & Patsy were staying a bit longer on Semper Fi.

Stay tuned for Part 3 - Deer Harbor to Oak Harbor! #Kokomo