Luperon, Dominican Republic

We rocked and rolled into the Dominican Republic after a 24 hour sail. Upon our approach, a rainbow appeared in the sky so brilliant, the legs of the rainbow reflected off the water to touch our small vessel. We were the pot of gold.

Luperon is a secure harbor and one of the things making it so is the winding path to get inside the inner harbor. It’s unnerving to go into an unknown area for the first time. You have the charts, you have read all the information, but until you thread your way through the shoals and reefs on either side and find a deep harbor, your heart stands still anticipating a need to react.

Boat Boy

We found our deep water and fellow boaters to guide our way. A simple call on the VHF radio brings our guide and boat boy, Papo, to put us on a mooring ball and see to our every need. Over the weeks we were there, Papo brought us drinking water and fuel. He arranged for tours and dived boats to clean the propellers.

The countryside was beautiful, but the town held a charm of its own. Animals, mostly dogs but also a herd of goats could be seen roaming free. The folks of Luperon may not have much, but we got the feeling of pride in what they did have. Pidgeon peas lined the sidewalks as they dried after the harvest.

Spanish is the local language and the residents were ready with a smile and an hola, hola as we walked past. It’s refreshing when they are patient and ready to help gringos with the language.

The town square is a breath of fresh air and shows the spirit of the people.

The bakery may not be anything to look at, but I assure you the confections inside are worth the journey.

Despite the grandeur, the fire department is well tended.

Back home, walking similar streets would put one on guard, here, life is simple and full of family, baseball and happiness.

Have you ever been someplace that made you smile? Someplace, that in another time and place you’d be on your guard?

Maybe if we look beyond the surface of life, we’ll see something we’re missing.

Posted in Social Hour | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Provisioning: Seafood

You would think our diet consisted of the spoils of the sea everyday. Not so. First, you have to put a line in the water and we rarely do. Our fault, but since we chose not to have a freezer, it’s hard to justify catching a large Mahi Mahi and not being able to consume it all.

There are other ways to have seafood however. First and foremost as you all know, are the canned goods. I’d encourage you to check out your cupboards and see if you have a good assortment. Your local box store can provide a cost conscious way to stock your pantry. The dollar store has also been known to have a good selection. The essentials are:

Tuna – In a pinch you can always make a tuna salad sandwich, but you have to have the tuna.

Clams – These are a must on Fawkes, next week I’ll share my go to Linguine with Red Clam sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Salmon – There are so many things you can do with canned salmon, my favorite is a salmon asparagus quiche, but there’s always salmon cakes.

Crabmeat and Shrimp – These are great to have on hand for appetizers. Again, I may add them to my cream cheese spread to take it up a notch or change things around.

Anchovies, sardines and oysters pretty much round out what you can carry on your pantry shelves.

In my experience seafood is best purchased fresh, but unless I’m bringing it home and eating that night, I’ll stick it in the freezer. Seafood tends to thaw rather quickly and I don’t have anything smelling up the refrigerator.

We like to support and interact with the local fisherman for our supply of fresh fish. Our last haggle was spinney lobster. They were delicious.

What’s on your seafood plate? Do you stock your pantry with canned seafood? How do you use it?

Posted in Feed the Crew | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Captain of Your Own Vessel

The wind in your sails and water moving under the keel. What better feeling of freedom can there be?

For Fawkes it’s been so long since we’ve moved the boat strictly by wind. You see we’ve spent the last three months moving the boat east. There’s a reason they’re called the Trade Winds.

Once upon a time the pirates plied the Caribbean waters looking for treasure. Some were sanctioned by governments or more commonly called Privateers and given a letter of marque which meant they weren’t hung on the spot when captured. They were all looking for the same thing. The Trade routes moved rum, slaves and manufactured goods. They moved with the wind, not against it. There’s a pattern and it blows consistently in a circle. Between the wind and the flow of oceans, the sailing ships moved from Britain, France and Spain down to Africa, across to the Caribbean and north to the United States.

This path wasn’t without it’s challenges, but minimized the dangers greatly.

So why is it we took what’s commonly called the Thorny Path to get to our version of paradise?

Mostly because we weren’t going to Europe first. We chose to minimize our time at sea. It meant changing our rhumb line from an 8 day sail south to a three month journey. It meant we waited for favorable weather and motored east, against the trade winds.

We’re almost to the north end of the Leeward Islands and can use the sails. I can’t wait to feel the wind aloft and the seas below, taste the freedom of sailing once again.

How often do you choose a path contrary to the norm? How has it worked for you? Is it better to take the path well traveled?

Posted in Captain's Chair | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Relationships: Blessings and Change

Two hearts become one. Life is perfect. Marriage, family and a life everlasting. That’s what every little girls dreams. Finding Prince Charming will make her life complete.

Reality is much different. Sure, as relationships develop the parties involved don’t realize how much they compromise and change for the potential love of their lives. If all works out, commitment and marriage follow. You’re ready to live the dreams the two of you’ve whispered to one another.

Stormy Hope

Life seems to move in hyper speed once careers and family fill the time the two of you used to share. Living in the same home, you spend more time running in different direction and start relying on yourself again for planning and execution. In quick bursts you share you’re new thoughts and dreams without much time to listen to your partner.
How do two people ever survive living together?

Are you ready for the answer?

Wait for it?






It’s too easy to one day wake up and find you’ve nothing in common. The children leave the nest and you’re left with one another, wondering what happened in the intervening years.

You’re two different people who shared the same stimulus in very different ways. Though it doesn’t feel like there’s commonality that kept you together for so many years.

Take for example coming to this same point and putting yourselves on a small vessel pointed to sea. You can imagine our surprise. After whispering to each other the one plan that kept us together through life’s chaos, we wake up to find we’re not sure what to do with it and each other when we arrive.

Compliments of Willie on sv Liahona

There’s comfort when you find you’re not the only cruisers who have experienced the same thing. Then you look around and find you are two different people and you ARE still together. In fact, you’re better than you were because of life’s experiences. So we take the opportunity to discover one another again. We learn we don’t need the big drama of plans of the past. We can live life with new discoveries about each other every day.

Where are you at in your life’s relationships? Can your relationship live without work, patience, perseverance, growth or understanding? How do you make life new again?

Posted in Captain's Chair | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Traveling: A Constant Contrast In Self

When you travel through life the scenery changes. It doesn’t matter if you’re on vacation or living everyday. At times life can seem barren and stark.

Stark can be beautiful, too. Take a look at the pictures from the Bahamas and the glacier formed sand dunes compared to the Dominican Republic. The contrast in the green, lush hills and vegetation is mind boggling.

The experience is like waking up finding you’re parched and didn’t know you were missing the crystal clear water to quench your thirst.

We take in each new territory we visit in stages. At the beginning of this blog I expounded on our favorite east coast haunts. We’re in new territories now. We find ourselves awed and overwhelmed by everything that’s new. We have to remind ourselves to only take in a piece at a time. We feel like kids at a carnival wanting to do it all at once.

These are our first day’s in the Dominican Republic. We were able to see this countryside on horseback. A local farmer rescued horses from a now defunct resort and is breeding them for profit.

The local residents of Hispaniola are a proud people. They may not have much in the way of material goods, but they take care of what they have. I’ve watched men wash their motorcycles after a rain in the gutters. I’ve watched women sweep their sidewalks in their night clothes with curlers in their hair. And, I’ve watched elderly men rake the gutters clean of leaves and debris every afternoon.

Life is a fickle thing and traveling has allowed me to put perspective on my own journey and the decisions I make. I can only do this if I slow down, observe and contemplate one layer at a time.

Have you experienced that moment in time you were glad you slowed down, took notice and breathed?

Posted in Social Hour | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Creative Bean Salad

You’re making a home cooked meal, maybe grilling as the weather turns warm and the household is itching to get outside. What do you serve that’s easy, simple and delicious and out of the ordinary?

I like to open the pantry and dig into the beans. Yep, green beans, wax beans, kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans, you get the idea.

Here’s the thing about bean salads….

1) I have 30 recipes in my files and they all have the same basic format.

2) They all have the same theme as to what dressing to add.

3) I probably never make the same salad twice, but they all taste wonderful.

So here’s my simple homemade remedy when the farmer’s market isn’t up and running yet, and you’d like to add something other than a mixed green salad to the dinner table.

Let’s give creativity a try. No, no, don’t walk away, this really is simple. Start with the pantry of canned goods then add the layers of flavor. You can do this. Before long, you’ll be a pro at throwing a wholesome salad together even if you haven’t been to the market for days.

Pick 1, 2, or 3 to start:

Navy beans, roasted red peppers, pine nuts, garlic clove, parsley, green olives, pepper

Green beans
Wax beans
Kidney beans
Black Beans
Navy Beans
Garbanzo Beans
Black-eyed Peas

I like not only draining but rinsing the starchier beans.

Add flavor and variety with:

Onions, red or white (be gentle here)
Pepper, green or red
Tomatoes, diced – Fresh or Canned
Mushrooms, sliced – Fresh or Canned
Carrots, grated
Radishes, sliced
Potatoes, boiled and sliced (for a heartier salad)
Cooked meat such as chicken, bacon, steak, shrimp, etc. (for a one dish meal)

For the dressing:
Vinegar – White, Cider, Red Wine, Balsamic (be creative, but one is enough)
Oil – Olive oil is my choice

These two are the basics. I have recipes that call for as little as 3 tablespoons and as much as 1 cup. I tend to use less as more. I have no desire to drink the dressing that is used only for marinade and not consumed. Of course, the longer you marinade and chill, the better the salad.

Now for the dressing flavors:
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garlic clove or powder
Ground Mustard
Chili powder or Asian 5 spice
Celery Seed
Lime juice
Lemon juice
Hot pepper Sauce
Soy Sauce
Sugar or Honey

A good rule of thumb on spices is to start small. 1/4 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon of dry spices. For fresh you can use 1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup. Start small and work up to the flavor. Chili powder, cumin cilantro and lime juice make a good combination as do basil, garlic and parsley. The sky is the limit.

I tend not to use much sugar, but there are plenty of recipes that call for the sweetness to be added to your salad.

Finally, that little something extra if it’s on hand.
Roasted red peppers
Water chestnuts
Bean Sprouts
Pine Nuts
Sunflower seeds
Sesame Seeds
Kalamata or stuffed Green Olives

Okay, now your turn. Trust me, this isn’t as hard as the selections look. You can make as many as thirty recipes from this one post. Keep recipe card handy and as you create, record what you put in the salad. Soon, you’ll have family favorite recipes you can share. And never again will you be accused of serving the same old, same old.

Are you up for the challenge? Any questions? I’m happy to clarify if you’re taking the leap.

Posted in Feed the Crew | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Journey or Destination: Life Changes

There’s always a beginning, a middle and an end. The first chapters of a book pull you into the story . That’s how it is when we embark on a new adventure. The promise of sailing to new locations is intoxicating. We point our bow away from the wind and let nature takes its course.

Just like fiction, there’s no story without conflict. As humans we can’t grow and evolve until we learn. One way or another, through physical or emotional ways, we learn.

My mantra is that this adventure is a journey, not just a destination. Whatever your path, life is a journey with milestones reached and new directions embarked.

What we forget as we move through life is the trials are opportunities for strength. How do we emotionally deal with them. On top of that we have heroes, heroines and villains to deal with along the way. Life is not a bubble we can control. The people in our lives are trying to traverse the same, but different challenges.

If our life was a book, our black moment conflict at the end would be when more than one obstacle is thrust in our path.

In the beginning the conflicts are marriage, a new home and a first child. By themselves stressful at the best of time and exciting, full of hope and dreams. Together they can seem insurmountable.

In the middle, our careers and family take over our lives, each with a new set of conflicts. Hope is alive and well, it’s what helps us plod on.

At the end, we have retirement, family leaving the nests and family members moving on in spirit.

But our stories don’t begin and end with birth and death. We have chapters that take us through the same beginnings, middles and ends.

Do you take a moment in the middle of your transitions to step back and say, “This challenge too will pass?” Do you look on your life as a learning experience preparing you for the next chapter?

Posted in Captain's Chair | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments