Saturday, February 21, 2015

Puerto Princesa and Port Bonbonon

I realize that this is a little behind but better late then never. A cousin asked for pictures, so here are a few. No pictures from the passage. Who wants to see lumpy water all around, with no dirt showing anyway.

First couple from the Yacht Club restaurant in Puerto Princesa. (For you grammar nazis, that is really how they really spell it here.)

Looking west from Abanico Yacht Club restaurant deck.
That is our boat way out there. Nice when the music was loud at the club, but a long way in the rain or wind. It is really shallow up close to the club. We often watched fishermen waking waist deep with hand held scoop-nets there.

North from the yacht club.
The dinghy dock, a bamboo contraption. But it worked, didn't fall threw even once. There were usually 8 to 10 dinghies with the painters tangled when we would come back from shopping or the Sunday buffet here.

And a few pictures from Port Bonbonon.

Looking south at the entrance channel.

 This would be our backyard here. The wind has blown continuously from the north-northeast so we seem to face the same way all time.

West, the side yard.
Only 3 of these boats have people on them. This is a popular place to leave the boat for trips, or to die. Six boats are from old sailors who passed away while moored here. And several more are abandoned and/or for sale.

Center on shore is one of the 3 restaurants that serve a weekly buffet. It is a very social bay.

North, our front yard.
One friend we met in Majuro 7 years ago says we have the best view of the mountain from here. I would have settled for the shortest row to shore. the second restaurant is the little white triangular peak roof left third of the photo. The third is just around the right edge. Sunday, Wednesday and Friday are the buffets and sometimes a happy hour thrown in. Almost cold beer is about 90 cents USD, only one brand and no wine.

The shore is close by to the east.
A small coconut plantation on the near shore between the huts. So I guess it could look like paradise.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Purple Kraut

One of the few good things about the high average 'room temperature" here is that it only takes 5 days to make a jar of sauerkraut. We ate the smaller jar from last week. It was great.

I recalled someone saying they once had purple kraut. The grocery store had really bad looking green cabbage yesterday, but the purple cabbage looked nice. And only about $4.50/head! Ha! ONLY! But what the heck. So here it is.

A little dark for pictures.
 I keep forgetting to take pictures during the process. Maybe next time. Again, just slice it up thin, add 1 1/2 tablespoons salt per pound and mash the salt into the cabbage till it starts making juice. Then into the jar with a little weight to hold it from floating up out of the salt water. We use a small plastic bowl crammed in the neck of the jar. Then let it set in a cool place till done. Taste it every few days( every day at 90 degree "room temperature") and put it in the ice box when you like the taste. Or just eat it.

Last weeks big jar, sea salt and the fresh purple kraut
Trinda put some crackers in the salt cause it was damp when she bought it... didn't help. The humidity is too high for bulk salt, but that is the only salt without iodine available.

The foam in last weeks jar is normal, just skim it off. If it has an unpleasant order, then toss it. If some of the cabbage gets above the water and molds, just skim it too.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Homemade Sauerkraut and Yogurt

We have started making a few things of our own on the boat. First, we seldom find sauerkraut in the stores here. When we do find it it is a German brand with spices we are not used to. I remembered that when we were in Mexico, some years go, we saw a restaurant making a 5 gallon jar of sauerkraut out back. That gave me the idea. Therefore a quick google and lots of information.

 This is all it takes:
Salt without iodine and cabbage, a bowl and clean jars.
The directions are simple too. Shred the cabbage. I slice it as thin as I can. Put it in a large bowl. Add one tablespoon salt per pound of cabbage. Stir and mash together with your hands. After the salt is well mixed and you have pressed the salt into the cabbage, it starts to make its own juice, salt water!

Taste it now to see if you got the salt right. It should be like you normally eat it, salty but not too much.It is easy to add more salt. A little harder to shred a second head cause you got too much salt, like in this batch. Don't use the weight from the store for determining the amount of salt, cause you take off a few leaves and leave out most of the cob.

Now pack it into a jar by hand, or a spoon if your hand won't it the jar. pack it down tight so that the natural juice floats above the cabbage. We put a small plastic bowl or lid to keep the cabbage from floating up into the air. It might spoil if it is not covered by the salt water.

Now let it sit in a cool dark place till it is done. They talk about weeks however, one guide suggests to taste it every day. When it tastes like the sauerkraut you like, put it in the refrigerator, or just eat it. I like it best on the 4th day, when there is still some green in the leaves. But we usually seem to wait about  week.

Oh I should mention, room temperature on the boat is between 82 and 92F, so it sets faster here than in cool places.

Smoked sausage and sauerkraut.

Greg also got me started on yogurt. I always thought I hated yogurt. He insisted I taste his homemade. It was much better than I remembered. It could be the low carb/high fat way we're eating lately that has changed my taste buds, or just getting old! But a cold bowl of yogurt with some sugar free blueberry jam or a few sliced strawberries really hits the spot on a hot afternoon. And it is almost lactose free, so Trinda can eat it without worry.



The recipefor the yogurt is actually less work than the sauerkraut. One pouch full fat powdered milk and 4 cups water in a pot. Bring to about 180F, almost a boil. Cool to 115F and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of your last batch. Stir and put in the jars. Screw the lid on tight. I put the jars in a styrofoam 'six-pack' cooler for 4 to 6 hours. Then move to the refrigerator and your good for a week.

The first time you either get some from a friend or buy some from the store. Get unsweetened, plain yogurt with 'live culture' or 'live enzymes'.

If you like it thick and sour, leave it warm longer, like 6 to 8 hours. Or more mild and creamy, then 3 1/2 to 4 hours is good.

The INTERNET says it would be much better if we used the fresh whole milk, but the powdered milk keeps up to a year without refrigeration and it is always available here.We can get good powdered milk here, not only skimmed like in the states. But whole milk, full cream, 2% and skim. And it can be pure spray-dried or a mix of weird chemistry including oils, soy, palm oil, cornstarch, and all the multi-syllable chemicals 'additives allowed by law' it says here. So we read the labels. Some of that stuff just kills the culture and spoils.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Christmas Tree is UP

Ahh, it is Dec 10th, Gary's BirhDay. We have always put the tree up today. Of course, a few (maybe many) years ago we would get a tree permit and take the jeep up into the mountians of Northern New Mexico to cut a fresh pine. There was usually snow and cold but a fun day out.

No snow here. It was 33C (92F) here inside the boat while Trinda was trimming the small tree.


The little tree inside, about 18" with the star.

We created our own 'artificial' tree for the fore deck. A few wire coat hangers, some heavy duty garland, light duty tinsel and some LED lights. The only lights for sale here are 220 volts, so it requires a step-up transformer. At least the LEDs don't need many amps.

That is a small view of the bay here in Puerto Princesa in the background.

Trinda said it looks like something drug up from Neptune's locker.


We've been here for a couple of months now, for no particular reason, just chill-in'. Doing a (very) few boat projects, a few computer projects and lots of crochet and movie watching.

But the old saying about dark and distance helps a lot!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Penang to Johor Bahru

Here are a few photos of Penang before we left.

Penang has lots of street art, art created on the sides of buildings and using junk and features available. The street art is keeping up with the times. Minions have appeared all over town.

Some of the Chews, hehehe. We anchored near the Chew Jetty, a village built over the water alongside the pier. Each clan built their own village, thus all the people on this one have the last name Chew. Celene kept my bicycle in her front room while Trinda was in the apartment recovering from the knee surgery.
Queenie Chew and of course Mr. T.

Celene and hubby Sao

In front of their house looking at the Katie Lee.

I'm sure I mentioned on Facebook that as we were coming around the bottom of Singpore we had engine trouble. We were just anchoring for the night by St. John's island when the engine made a terrible noise and quit moving the boat. I was not able to set the anchor properly. That is to put the anchor down, the boat in reverse and backup till the anchor catches something and the boat stops. We were in a well protected spot, so I was not too worried about the anchor dragging.

(I am officially giving notice that Trinda did help a lot during this adventure. It is just easier to type I than she, we, us, Trinda, etc.)

We were tired from watching the traffic all day. Once the AIS showed 536 other boats around us. Most were anchored though. But some were giant freighters moving as fast as 18 knots. We can only motor 6 knots. It wasn/t as bad as some people tell it though as I was able to read a few chapters in my book during the 8 hour trip.

Anyway, I re-started the engine a couple times listening to the noise from several different places and hoping to see the porp shaft turn agan. But no turning. I decided the most likely problem would be the damper drive plate that connects a diesel engine to the transmittion. It is there to reduce the vibration of the engine effecting the gears in the tranny. So It is not something I carry spare for.

The times before that I have pulled the tranny, it took severl hours. Singapore is a very expensive place for thiings like tow boats and labor. So calling for help was really out of the question. St. John's Isand Park is about 40 mile from the Senibong Marina where we had reservations in the next few days. We slept! Next morning, I started it one more time, just to make sure it wasn't a nightmare. HAHA, I wish! So I tied the dinghy to the side of the boat, with a couple fenders for a cushion. Flled it with gas, started it, put it in gear, set the motor straight and turned the throttle up to 3/4. Then I climbed back aboard and steered the boat normally. We got up to 2.4 knots! WOW! not as fast as I would like, but better than nothing.

The current runs as high as 6 knots around Singpore according to the charts. It depends on the phase of the moon, wind and time of day. The route I chose seemed to have only 2 to 3 knots of current. So for 6 hours each days it was going the right directon. We anchored the rest of the time. Most of the time we could make 3 to 4 knots according to the GPS, but occasionally I would get on the wrong side of the current. One spot we took 3 hours to go 2 miles. Singapore is expanding the only way it can. They build a sea wall then fill it in with sand dredged from ythe bottom outside the wall. One new wall was 2 miles further out than when I saw it 2 years ago. I couldn't see it because of all the anchored big ships and haze so I missed it. I could make only 0.9 knots turning back till I got around it.

The slow pace gave me plenty of time to calculate, measure and re-calcu;ate the amount of gas we had for the dinghy. Diesel doesn't work! We barely made it to Penelih the second day. It is the first land in Malasya coming from our direction. It has a small ferry terminal. I was able to find a local willing to take my 3 empty gass jugs to town (29 kiometers away) and bring them back full. He only charged double, but he did do it after dark and brought them out to the boat.

As we approached the marina I fiinally got the manager on the radio. I had sent an e-mal saying we were having engine trouble but were coming slowly. When we pulled into the marina I finally got him on the radio. After I explained the suituation, he changed the assigned slip to one easier to get into. We motored right in. Trinda steered the big boat and I got in the dinghy to help with the sharper turns and control the speed. The manager and am mthe dock hands couldn't believe we came in so easy. I didn't remind them that we had been practicing for the past 4 days, sorta any way.

In the marina with the dinghy still tied along side.

Finally here, we got a ride to the closest grocery/mall, dropped off the laundry, shopped and then celebrated with banana splits!
Trinda and her banana split.

Sunset after the banana splits!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Passports

Our passports are full. I have only about 6 places for stamps and Trinda has 10. Some countries will not let you enter if you do not have at least 4 pages (16 places for stamps). Our passports are good for another year and a half. But, it cost the same to get a new passport with 52 pages as it does to add 24 pages.

So we took the bus to Kuala Lumpour, to the US Embassy, and applied for new ones. You have to submit 2 photos, so these are the pictures we took to make the photos from.

It was a long trip. The nice folks on Chew Jetty insisted on picking us up from our boat so as not to leave the dinghy at the jetty while we were gone. Then we took the ferry to Butterworth, walked to the National bus terminal and bought tickets for KL. This started at 10pM. Bus left at 11:30PM. We were the last on the bus, so we had lousy seats.

Arrived tired in downtown KL a little after 4AM and hungry. There was a Kofe Shop or small restaurant there so we had breakfast of local coffee and roti canai (fluffy tortilla to dip in curry). By 6 a taxi driver talked us into a scenic ride to the embassy. It only took 20 minutes so we rested on the benches in front till 9AM.

By 10 we had finished the application and were told our passports would be ready July 3 and only one of us need come back to get them. We met an American living in KL who also was applyig for his new passport. He said "Come, I'll take you to the bus station." I naturally assumed he had a car. Notice how I put that? He said is was a short walk up the street, by McDonald's. So off we walked. When we finnaly got to McDonald's and turned into the subway station I asked him about the car. NO car! He intends to escort us to the bus via the subway. He had been living in KL more than 6 years, and I knew how to get around better than he!

We had planned to take the taxi back, cause it was only about 3 bucks. We wound up walking about 2 miles. Trinda's knee was starting to swell and she was grouchy by the time we found the right bus. Much better seats this time. The bus ids the size of a Greyhound, but only has 3 seats across, 1 on one side of the isle, 2 the other. But no toilet. About 5 hours later the bus stops at the wrong end of Penang island and announces the "end of the line"! I had argued a couple minutes with the ticket sales guy about where I wanted to go. He insisted this was the right bus. We had to get a taxi back to Chew Jetty, then a ride back out to the boat about 6PM.

A long 20 hours! RM35 for bus 330 kilometer to KL, RM15 taxi in KL, RM38 bus back, RM40 taxi 5 kilometer wrong bus terminal to Chew Jetty. Irritating, but at RM3=$1 not really much.

I got an e-mail in only 4 days saying our passports are in and ready to be picked up any time. I plan to wait until we get to Port Klang in a few days and take the bus from there to get the passports.

The actual passport photos were cropped from these.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bats in Ko Roi Hong

Ko Roi. The entrance to the hong is from the small beach near the center
We went SE from the top of Ko Thalu to Ko Roi. It is an island with a hong, a hole leached through the island from the top to sea level in the inside. These islands are a mixed limestone with some hard spots and soft spots. Often during the leaching process tunnels and passages are created too. Last year up year we went to James Bond Island.

This hong is so big that the bottom is now covered in mangroves and a few trees. Large bats have taken to roosting in the trees. They look similar to the fox bats from Samoa. They don't seem to mind a little light as at noon they are only shaded by the trees above them.

The photos are not very good, but the black spots are the bats hanging from the branches.

The black spots are the bats



More black spots


Greg and Grace in front of exit
Greg in entrance
The back wall inside the hong

Guess who
The Katie Lee over the dinghy