Thursday, February 28, 2013

KiteFix Sponsors Starship!

We are pleased to announce that thanks to Jonathan's hard work, Starship is now sponsored by KiteFix Permanent Kite Repair System!

With 6 kites onboard and all the remote locations we will be kiting, it will be good to know we have all the repair supplies we may need to keep us riding!

We also have some Dacron sail repair tape and spinaker repair kits from KiteFix for use on Starship's sails as well.

KiteFix is the product we have used for several repairs in the past... the Sherman Island mangrove crash of 2011, and the canopy tear of 2010... so we are happy to endorse their gear!

Punta de Mita

Introducing Jonathan - The Wild Card

Today our third crew member, Jonathan Busby has arriving in Mexico!

I met Jonathan while I was working in California. He was a kitesurfing instructor at Board Sports School where I also volunteered. We got to know each other over two summers of working at Board Sports School. When Anne-Marie and I were trying to think of who could crew with us across the Pacific, Jonathan shot to the top of the list!

Jonathan is already used to our vagabond life style, since he often spends 4-6 months of the year as a kitesufing instructor in exotic locations... Australia, The Carribean, San Francisco. The rest of the time he is a chef near his hometown of Montreal. Jonathan's first language is French which will also be super handy in French Polynesia!

Anne-Marie and I have already nick named Jonathan "The Wild Card", since he is so excited for the trip and want's to do everything you could imagine... such as night diving with sharks and kitesurfing across the equator (not going to happen!). Anne-Marie and I will certainly have our hands full tempering his enthusiasm :)

What is even happening here??
How did he get in there?? Or out?
Jonathan Busby - Wild Card
Over the next couple of weeks before we shove off we will be putting Jonathan through an extensive training program to familiarize him with Starship's systems.

You will also start to see blog contributions from Jonathan. We are still trying to figure out a good way to have him write in French and have it translated to English, when we figure something out we'll let you know. For now we have added a Google Translate feature to the blog (on the right panel) so that Jonathan's friend's and family can read the post in French.

Punta de Mita

Monday, February 25, 2013

Work Hard! Play Hard!

Our life these days consists of doing a ton of boat projects in preparation for the puddle jump!

We're inspecting everything on the boat, from sails and rigging to life jackets and radios. We want Starship in tip top shape!

The jib has gone in for some repairs 
Auto-inflating life jackets passed the test

I started estimating the provisions we'll need and realized that we really need more space. We're trying to cram 3 months worth of food into Starship (1 month for the crossing, 1 month for the Marquesas islands and 1 month for the Tuamotus islands). Provisions in these islands are supposedly scarce and expensive. Chris has turned into a storage finding machine and a shelving pro. He's constantly going around the boat knocking on fiberglass to see if there's empty space that can be utilized. Look at what he's found and created!

What I'm most excited about is the shelves he made for canned goods.

Can you believe that all this stuff... into this space? Time to go shopping for more cans!

Chris' "handyman" skills and willingness to tackle any project continually impress me!

I've been working on weather forecasting via our SSB radio, provisioning, bilge clean-up and some other random projects like...

...splicing lines and drilling backing plates for our new preventer system

...rebuilding our salt water hand pump (now it doesn't leak....YAY!)

Because we are in "project mode", the boat is often a total diaster zone!

There comes a point when you just need to leave the chaos and do something different or you might go crazy! Recognize the "about to go crazy" look? It must have something to do with jobs that require wearing the face mask.

Our escape has been surfing! We're both totally hooked and loving it. There are a few excellent beginner surf breaks within swimming/dinghying distance from our anchorage. Lately, it seems like every time I go out, I think "Wow! That was the most fun I've ever had surfing." I keep catching more waves and feeling steadier on the board once I'm up. I'm happy to be in this part of the learning curve. The very beginning was definitely more exhausting and nerve-racking.

His and Hers

With all our satisfying boat project work and surfing breaks, life is very good :)

Punta de Mita

Monday, February 18, 2013

Thermos Cooking.....the coolest thing since sliced bread!

Starship's galley is sometimes filled with a very mixed assortment of provisions, especially when we are away from cities and towns. After a big provisioning run, we'll always eat what will go bad first, and then after a few weeks I'm left with a somewhat odd supply of food. At these moments I always wish that I'd have the internet to search for a recipe to use my random ingredients or a phone to call my Mom for advice, but both are usually impossible. I really wanted to find a good cookbook for cruisers....and stumbled upon the "The Boat Galley Cookbook". I'm totally in love with this cookbook. It has lots of simple meals geared towards boat living and has given me lots of cooking inspiration.

One of the neatest things in the cookbook is the "Thermos Cooking" chapter. Who knew that you could make yogurt, beans, rice and soups in a thermos? Following the cookbook instructions, I've used my thermos often to make beans (usually black or garbanzo). The beans go great in salads, tacos, stir-fries and chilies. In using a thermos to rehydrate dried beans instead of the stovetop, we save our propane and don't heat up the galley (a HUGE advantage in the tropics). The only downside is you need to plan ahead, because it takes at least 6 hours to cook the beans. Here are some of the results:

Yogurt has been my other thermos adventure. I was amazed at how easy it was to make. Here are the instructions in short:
 - preheat the thermos by filling it with very hot water
 - heat a mixture of powered milk and water to 110-120 F
 - add a "yogurt starter"* to your mixture and let sit in thermos for ~5 hours
 .....then voila.... thick and creamy YOGURT!
*I had a lot of success using Yoplait yogurt drink as the culture.

Here are the full length instructions.

Nothing beats delicious fruit and home made yogurt for breakfast. I'm hoping we will be eating homemade yogurt all throughout the Pacific.

In short, The Galley Cookbook and thermos cooking are awesome!

Punta de Mita

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Blog Layout & Features

Since I know a lot of people only read the blog via their email subscription, I thought I'd take a little time to share what you are missing by not visiting the blog website.

First we changed the layout of the page to make it a bit cleaner (we think). We should also give props to our friends on SV Nyon since they inspired our layout change with their great blog.

Some interesting things to note about the layout:
Can you find the starship??
  1. The top banner image changes each time you visit the site (can you get all 12??) 
  2. On some browsers there should be a little starship before our blog name 
  3. There's a new navigation menu under the banner image with a crew bio, vessel information, the plan and a new where are we map

Possibly the coolest new feature (in my humble opinion), is the new "Where are we?" page which includes an interactive google map of all our position reports since we left Half Moon Bay California!

All the sailboats are places we have anchored or passed through on passage!
Some interesting things to note about the map:
Location details window with explanation of available features
  1. It looks best in full screen mode (I think) 
  2. It is interactive, click on a sailboat for details about that position report
  3. You can see latitude and longitude of every anchorage we have visited and zoom right in (our current location is a red sailboat, yellow sailboats are past locations) 
  4. All blog entries, photo albums and videos are associated with a place 
  5. Using the "< Prev" & "Next >" links at the bottom of an information window you can move from anchorage to anchorage in the order we visited them
I hope this convinces you to check in on the blog website from time to time just to see where we are. It should be especially interesting during the pacific crossing to see our progress across the puddle updated daily using our Single-Side Band radio.

Punta de Mita

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Day in the Life at Punta de Mita

With my parents safely back in Canada, Anne-Marie and I have started to fall into a routine of preparing for the puddle jump in the morning, and having a bit of fun in the afternoon.

I thought I would try to share with you what a cruising day is like for us here at Punta de Mita.
Sunrise in Punta de Mita
8:50 AM - Unchained Twinkle (our dingy) from Starship, and got the outboard warming up. This also involves pumping it up a bit since it has a slow leak.

8:55 AM - Navigated the waves on the way to the beach. There is no dock here so we have to land Twinkle on the beach, which can be interesting when a good swell is running....

9:05 AM - Arrived outside the pharmacy to find they aren't open yet. Had a brief chat with Richard, the founder of Latitude 38, as he was passing by the doctor's office.

9:10 AM - The doctor has arrived and seen us. This was the first time in a year we have needed to go to the doctor. We caught a bit of a stomach bug or something and having it taken care of from start to finish only cost us $166 out of pocket. That included rushed lab tests, the doctor consultation, and 6 different prescriptions!

9:30 AM - I walked over to the main highway to catch a van to La Cruz, where I planned on doing some sewing aboard our friend's catamaran "Double Diamond".

9:40 AM - A couple from Vancouver boarded the van and joked about how they had to wait a whole minute for the bus this time. The public transit here is really great! They have vans running very frequently and it's always an interesting ride, as my parents could tell you about.

9:50 AM - I arrived at the Marina in La Cruz, but found Double Diamond's slip empty! Attempts to hail them on the radio failed and I worried they may have gone to Paradise Village Marina early. I decided to start walking around the marina to see if I could spot them or give them a call on the radio again.

9:55 AM - As I approached the corner of the marina near the beach, I saw a group of people stretching. I realized this must be the open water swimming group, which has really expanded to nearly a dozen people. One of those people I recognized as Jeff from Double Diamond, so I went over and found out that they decided to stay in the La Cruz anchorage instead of in the marina, but I could still go out to the anchorage to do my sewing.

10:00 AM - Since I was wearing my bathing suit, I decided to join in on the open water swim session. Jeff was doing the swim so it seemed to make more sense than just waiting for him on the beach.

10:45 AM to 2:00 PM - Aboard Double Diamond sewing and talking with Jeff and Melody. They very generously allowed me to use their sewing machine for a few odds and ends projects. It's always fun being on their big catamaran with ample space and the cool lounge music they have pumping! Jeff and Melody where concerned about the pelicans diving for fish so close to their boat. The pelicans sometimes even crashed into their boat, as they have been known to do on Starship too.

2:15 PM - Back on the bus to Punta de Mita with completed sewing projects in hand. I radioed Anne-Marie to come pick me up on the beach and on the way back to Starship we could see the surfing conditions were looking really good!

New Quarter Berth Shelf Netting
New Opening Port Sun Shade & Rain Fly
2 x New Winch Handle Holders

3:00 PM - 6:00 PM - Anne-Mare and I loaded up the dingy with our surfing gear and headed out. We anchored the dingy just outside of the surf break and paddled in. As we waited for the next set to roll in, we could see just outside the anchorage there was a whale raising it's tail high out of the water and slapping it down repeatedly. Then sporadically in the same area, a little baby whale was breaching! What a sight to see while bobbing in the ocean waiting for the next set of waves.

Chris Surfing Near Punta de Mita

6:00 PM - 10:00 PM - Returned to the boat totally exhausted! We ate some Mexican style hot dogs for dinner and watch a couple episodes of Seinfeld before heading to bed.

Sunset in Punta de Mita

I hope you enjoyed a little peek into our daily routine.

Punta de Mita