Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Progress, progress, everywhere!

Whew!! Hours of labor later (and not only our own), Equinox is showing signs that things are progressing. Hooray!! Of course, I find satisfaction in the little things as well as the large, so perhaps I'm overly optimistic? Nevertheless, things are moving forward! Here’s what we’ve gotten accomplished: Monday we had our canvas guys from G & G Canvas aboard, installing our custom-made items: the fly-bridge sun-shade and our new sun pads for the pilothouse roof. Both are great additions and look fabulous! (So excited!) The sun-shade will enable us to use the flybridge seating and outdoor area more often, and hopefully it will keep the salon below it a shade cooler as well. The sun pads are spectacular; Ron and I are already anticipating many gorgeous nights sleeping under the stars!
Visitng sun-bunnies rejoice, as the sun-
 pads are in place! (Muriel, this is for you!)
Monday also saw Ron and George, our knowledgeable mechanical guru, get a lot of big-ticket, essential items rolling. Using the davit, they removed the old cranky freezer and got the new Sun Danzer freezer loaded up onto the flybridge. That in itself was an undertaking, but happily, it went smoothly with no hitches. While they were busy with that, we also had Dick Murray aboard, re-installing our water-maker. Our ill-fated unit had been sent back to the factory earlier this summer for an entire re-build, and they swear it will work this time. (Please, oh please let it work...Come on, man!  Really the technology is not that difficult!) So, we shall see how that goes!

Our new freezer being loaded aboard Equinox. Notice the aft
sun-shade over the flybridge deck!
We also had the dinghy davit inspected and checked – and as it turned out, it was in great shape. The Marquipt technicians complimented us on how well-maintained it was, and said there was really no reason why we even bothered to call them. (Ok, overkill, but we just wanted to be sure!) You need your dingy!!

As always, after running errands to pick up some of the never-ending list of needed items, I spent the remainder of Tuesday in the galley. (Getting monotonous, aren’t I?) But this time, it wasn’t just unpack and stow – I was on a mission! As I rocked out to my usual tunes supplied by Radio Margaritaville, I was busy vacuum-sealing all the specialty meats we ordered from The Butcher Shoppe here in Stuart. Bob, the butcher/owner is very customer-oriented and cuts everything to your specifications. Everything we ordered is of amazing quality, so it’s exciting to have it in our provisions, as opposed to the bulk stuff we could get at Sam's Club. Why bother, you ask?

The truth is that many grocery stores in the islands do not have the variety and abundance of inspected meats that we’ve become accustomed to here stateside. People take our abundance for granted! When cruising and living locally, food options are much more limited, for just about every item is imported, shipped or flown in, and is more expensive. Meats are a case in point. We love to eat the local cuisine (as you know!) and have found that good chicken is ubiquitous in the islands, with other treats fairly easy to come by – conch, lobster and goat, for example. All delicious! But beyond that, the choices become much more limited... 

There is usually frozen ground beef to be found in the larger supermarkets, with a variety of stew meats (usually goat, lamb or ox-tail) but often bony. And...what often remains are items we choose to bypass: pig snouts, pig tails, and pork belly -- which I’m not at all sure I’d like to cook even if I knew how to! (They are probably delicious, but I admit, I have yet to be brave enough to find out.) Plus there is always saltfish, along with local fresh seafood --both of which are delicious -- but when it comes to beef, it can be of dubious quality, or sometimes you can’t find it at all! Thus, for those special evenings on anchor in a quiet cove, we're excited have aboard hard-to-find items like good steaks and pot roasts, and even rack of lamb or veal chops. (Variety is the spice of life, isn't it?)

So…I put the vacu-sealer through its paces, separating our larger order of meats into packets of 2, 3 or 4 servings and tucked them right in the freezer. We will have our delicious local cuisine of jerk chicken, fish or conch...AND our beef too!

Rib veal chops awaiting vacuum sealing. Ron will be in heaven
 when I serve these on the aft deck for a sunset dinner sometime!

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