Sunday, May 10, 2009

a well-fed crew is a happy crew

Less than two weeks until the trip so it is time to start thinking seriously about food. Above is a photograph Bruce shot of me fixing dinner on Core Sound. Meals, particularly after a long day on the water, can be a highlight of the day. For dinner I had always used a combination of boiling bag rice (cooked in the pot on the right side of the stove) and onions, peppers and fish (salmon or tuna in a foil packet) grilled on a griddle. Bruce, when he joined me in the fall of '07, saw some room for improvement. He hasn't done much sailing, but he has done a lot of camping and has experience with camp meals. He'll be taking charge in that area.
All spring I've been tossing an extra item of two into the grocery cart for the trip. This past weekend I did a little census to see what we've got. Here's the count (this is for a trip that will probably take, depending on wind and whimsy, 7 to 10 days).

  • 24 breakfast bars (a variety of granola and other high fiber bars)
  • 32 fruit cups - mandarin oranges, peaches, pears, tropical fruit mixture
  • 14 tuna fish and cracker lunch packs
  • 3 asian dinners in boxes that include noodles, sauces and chopped peanuts or something along those lines
  • two boxes of cous cous
  • 4 packs of instant mashed potatoes
  • 1 pack of spaghetti
  • 1 pouch of pasta sauce
  • 4 foil packs of salmon/tuna
  • 1 boil in bag rice
  • 2 heater meals (self heating meals that come in handy when I'm too tired and/or wet to mess with cooking.
  • two cans mixed nuts that will be divided up in to zip lock snack bags
  • big box of raisins that will be divided in to snack bags
  • bottle of olive oil
  • bottle of Cajun Sunshine hot sauce
  • bottle of blackened redfish spice
  • bottle of olive oil
  • 20 packs of those little peanut butter snack crackers
That will be the basis for our food. It may seem like a lot, but it doesn't take up much space and there is plenty of room in the watertight storage areas under the thwart on Spartina. Items above that are in boxes will be taken out of the boxes and put in zip lock bags. Different groups of food - main courses, side dishes, snacks - will be grouped together in two-gallon zip lock bags or one of the one gallon plastic jars. Each evening we'll do a mix and match to see what looks good for dinner that night. As we get out the food for dinner each night we'll also pull out food for breakfast/lunch/snacks the following day. We'll have plenty of onions and peppers on board, they reside in a net hammock up under the foredeck on the starboard side.
Our biggest change this cruise will be the addition of meats and sauces - that's what Bruce will be taking care of once he is in town. We'll use a soft cooler and dry ice to keep things fresh (don't know how well this will work, but we'll find out). Bruce says he has a camp stew he wants to do the first night. It involves beef, several veggies and wine (normally there is no alcohol on the boat, but we'll take a small box of wine along for cooking purposes). It takes some time to cook, he says, and that is fine as the first day is a short sail from Engelhard to Wysocking Bay. Plenty of time to relax, get organized and enjoy the smell of a nice stew cooking away.
The other fresh food we hope to have available is fish caught along the marshes. Those are filets from a nice speckled trout that I caught on Caffee Bay near Swan Quarter. Grilled with onions and peppers and served on top of the rice with juice from a fresh lime, it was a great meal. I have fished off of beaches and power boats for years, but I'm still learning how to fish off of a sailboat. It takes a little practice to get the boat in the right spot, and it takes some experience to recognize the right spot. Speckled trout and puppy drum (called redfish on the gulf coast) will be the fish we are after.

I've sorted through my fishing kit to get ready for the trip. I don't take too much gear, maybe a couple of dozen soft lures that are slid on to hooks with 1/8 oz. lead heads. I'm trying out the Storm lure on the left for the first time this trip. It is a larger soft lure (as opposed to the hard bodied mirrorlures and such) with two treble hooks. If you look close you can see that I have pinched down on the barbs on the hooks. With a fish flopping on the line I want to avoid getting myself snagged. Last time I did that it took a doctor and two nurses to get the hook out of my hand.
Air and water temperatures on the rise the fishing is certainly picking up. I keep an eye on the fishing reports at Cape Lookout Charters to see what is happening down there. Fishing looks good, so maybe there will be trout or blackened redfish on the menu.


Albert A Rasch said...


Here is a pdf to a good hook removal technique that I have used to good effect a couple of times on myself.

Hook Removal PDFYes it does smart. But the hook seems to come out with little tearing up of your flesh. Hopefully you have sharpened your hooks before casting so they should be pretty clean, and your tetanus is up to date.

I crush the barbs on everything for the fish's sake.

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Steve said...

thanks for the tip. We used the second method in the er.


S R Wood said...

Thanks, Steve. Looks like quite the pantry. Something about being on the water all day makes me ravenous. Good luck with the fishing!


Perry Burton said...

I read through the list of food thinking... Ok so what about the other 9 days. :)
If it were me and any buddy of mine (also large eaters)there would be a fight over the last peanut butter cracker pack on day 3. That food does look wicked and the smell of it hovering on a quiet evening.. life's good!

Steve said...

don't worry too much about us being hungry. There is a nice Italian restaurant in Bath and the fantastic Toucan Grill in Oriental. Plus our final destination marina was chosen not only because of the nearby ramp, but also because it is in walking distance of an Outback Steakhouse. Who knows, we might even start the trip with a Trout Burger lunch at the Big Trout Marina and Cafe in Engelhard.