C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tropical Storm Who? ... What?

We just became aware of Tropical Storm Alberto off the Carolina coast.  He is forecast to move closer to SC over the next 18 to 24 hours, then pick up speed on a NE track.  We are currently anchored in 5 Fathom Creek in the Cape Romaine NWR or about 20 miles north of Charleston, SC.  This is not a good place to be if Alberto decides to alter course.  We plan to move further north and inland to Georgetown, SC early tomorrow morning.  Welcome to hurricane season.

What to do with all the free bread...

We had all this amazing bread and I wanted the bread to be the star! So, side show pasta and bold beautiful baguette!

I cut the bread in half, to save it for later and the sliced that half in half lengthwise. Using my squirt bottle of olive oil I drizzled on a healthly dose, spread on minced fresh garlic and squeezed on chopped basil. Oh the aroma was intoxicating! I then spread it with a butter knife and sprinkled on some parm on one and the other half I added roasted red peppers and parm. Poped them in the oven at 325 and 10 minutes later. Wow, the best garlic bread I have ever tasted. So, yes this is kindof like the pizza we ate the night before but...did I tell you just how much I love pizza?

So, I would say this was a hit! Got to love free bread!

We served this with fettucini and red sauce. Which was tasty but not as good as the bread!

Friendly Friday

We spent Thursday night just south of Charleston. Chomping at the bit but the swift, flooding current  in Elliot Cut would not  allow us to make the 15:30 opening of Wapoo Creek swing bridge.   Due to rush hour restrictions the next opening wold be 18:30. It was ok to anchor early and get a good nights sleep.

A new friend of our Daniel, who we met in Marathon, arrived in Charleston earlier on Thursday.  Eager to catch up with Daniel, we started early in the morning to work with the tide and bridge. We tied into the Ashley Marina with time to do laundry, take a shower and meet new folks!

 Daniel came over around 15ish to go walking around town.  One of my favorite things to do! So, off exploring we went and discovered great allyways, amazing buildings, wonderful iron works some with much flourish ans curly Q's and then we found the shops and boutiques. Ah, such wonderful things to catch my eyes. I didn't expect to come across was an artisian bakery. Oh the breads in the window. I was staring and I am sure my jaw was slack. The boys had gone ahead and I was admiring the view. They took in the wonderful sight and suggested we go in. Yes, great idea. Alas, it was closed, bummer. Maybe tomorrow? Of we went slightly dejected. Then all of a sudden as if in a movie. We heard a womans voice yell, "Wait, come back!" Huh? We turned around and it was the woman from the bakery. She was willing to open back up for us! YES!

Well, she informed us she was closed and she would like to give us some bread. What? I was giddy. I was high as a kite, really. She wanted to know what kind of bread we wanted and told us what was left and I said one of everything. But really through fits of giggles I asked for a sliced loaf and an orange rosemary and I asked her if I could please pay for it. No way,  she was giving it away and the 2 patrons in the store also got to go baguettes! We went home with 2 baguettes, 2 loaves of sliced and one boule of orange rosemary bread. Welcome to Charleston!  Normandy Farms Artisan Bakery you are amazing!

After that we looked around and Daniel spied the Charleston Beer Excahnge. Wow, bread and beer does it get better than this? Jeff and I love Green Flash IPA and they had it so we got two of them two locally brewed beers and two from breckenridge. We were on cloud nine.
Beer & Bread - bounty from our Charleston visit
Next stop on this journey? Dinner. We went to Mellow Mushroom had a super dinner of pizza and beer, get this it was happy hour so all the beers were half off! This was beginning to feel like the best day of my life.

While walking back to the marina we stumbled upon Kudo - Coffee & Beer.  Intrigued we ventured inside. Jeff ordered a decaf, the barista brewed it with a bit of cinnamon and the flavor hit the spot.

On our walk home we talked and talked and went to Daniels for some tea and by the time we strolled to our boat we were dog tired. Yup best day ever!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thai-ing Thursday

This was hands down the best meal I have served aboard C'est la Vie. It takes about 10 minutes total cooking time and one pan but days of prep and boy oh boy was it worth it! It is a Thai chicken and noodle salad and I want to do it again using tofu and adding mung bean sprouts.

Our friend Jeff, with whom we shared an condo last fall, as well as new friends aboard SV Contigo both grow their own sprouts. I want to do this and will endevour to make it a habit as I hate to run out of fresh food to eat and sprouts, radish, mung bean, alfalfa, broccoli all have such appeal. I can't wait to figure this into my routine! Let me get back on track...delish food ahead!

Ok so 2 days ahead I defrosted a chicken breast that I had frozen. Once defrosted I washed it off and patted it dry and sliced it thiny across the grain.  I then placed it in a ziplock with the asian dressing and marinated it over night. The meat took on the dark hue from the soy sauce( I used braggs but tamari would have been preferable) which made me think I had made an error. Once I had that meat cooking in the pan 2 minutes per side I realized that color cooked off and took on browning caused by carmelization. The aroma was fantastic. I was really quite proud of myself! When the chicken was done cooking I placed it on the cooked noodles added the veggies and extra dressing. The salad was done! I served it with veggie potstickers that I found in the frozen food isle at the Marathon Publix in Florida.  This meal had complex flavors, crunch, color and made me so happy!

The potstickers are dumplings that can bee cooked in the oven,  fried or steamed. I liked the idea of using the chicen frying pan to steam them. 2 things happened I cleaned the pan with the boiling water and cooked the dumplings!

The rice noodles cooked in boiling water are tricky as you need a big pot and lots of water and it takes about 2 minutes to cook and it is easy to overdo it. I could not take that chance. I used chinese rice noodles that were very long and I cut them prior to "cooking" them. I actually used scissors! And instead of cooking them I placed the noodles in the serving bowl covered with fresh water and let sit for 15 minutes or so. They were soft and were al dente, just perfect! I used about 3 ounces or half the bag so I can attempt this again! I also love this as I have a gluten free meal up my sleeve!

The dressing is as follows: 2 full scallions thinly sliced, 4 minced garlic cloves, .25 cup rice vinegar, 1 tbsp brown sugar( I would use honey next time), 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp anchovy paste (I just mashed up the anchovies left over from pizza night, you could use fish sauce too) and .5 tsp red pepper flakes
Place this all in a screw topped container and shake. Use half of it for the chicken and the other half for the dressing of the salad. It smells ok when you make it and amazing after sitting for a day.
The rest of the salad I used 6 baby carrots thinly sliced not jullianed, 1 cucumber seeded and thinly sliced a squirt of basil that I have a refrigerated tube of (amazing on the boat!) But the recipe called for .25 cup of basil,

For garnish, fresh mint leaves from the plant I got in ft pierce, scallion greens sliced thinly, red pepper flakes, pistachios ( they call for peanuts but I am allergic) and it calls for bean sprouts and yes that would have been nice. I would add lime wedges as garnish and I think it would add a brightness I am pleased really really pleased!  

That smells delicious

Anne is excited about tonight's dinner.  She is trying a new recipe and it smells delicious.

Afternoon Thunderstorms Chasing Us Down

Another day of northward progress in the ICW and another round of afternoon thunderstorms.  The Lady's Island Bridge in  Beaufort,  SC does not open between 07:00 and 09:00.  In hopes of making Charleston, SC we rose early and cleared the bridge by 06:30.  Unfortunately our plan to make Charleston Harbor was stymied by the Wapoo Creek Bridge's 15:30 to 18:30 restriction on openings. So with no access to Charleston Harbor and thunderstorms astern we dropped the anchor just south of Elliot Cut.

SV Romance Sea and a thunder storm off our stern as we approach Charleston, SC

Crunchy or soft?

We had a big plate full of crunchy tacos. My favorite! I am really picky about the shells. There are some shells that have TBHQ in them that helps meat, usually lard, from going rancid. It is basically a kin to formeldahyde. Not good for the body. I like the shells to be crisp and not break apart on first crunch. The best I have found are the blue corn shells. The best I have found is the whole foods brand but really the regular groceries have been catching on. Look in the natural food section. The second best shell is the walmart brand. Can you believe it? (disclaimer: I am not a huge fan of walmart I think they have some wicked business practices but really the suppliers need to stand up for themselves and not give in to walmarts demands....but this is a post about tacos)
Many of the walmart brands of foods are turning the tide on super manufactured foods. They have begun to phase out high fructose corn syrup and they have options of vegetarians like pie crusts without lard or banana bread mixes without beef tallow. Read your ingredients people!
I am really off topic.
I love tacos!
I browned ground turkey meat added taco seasoning and the water and let it simmer with a splatter screen on top. I had wrapped up the shells in foil and placed them atop the screen while I chopped up some vidalia onion, lettuce, tomato and opened a bag of shredded cheese.
10 minutes of simmering and the meat was ready. We loaded up the shells and dinner in 20 minutes flat was done.

Catch up

Well I am a few days behind sorry if you've been starving waiting for the updates. Hee hee. But seriously, I did take some photos of dinner, which was a nice salad with the left over eggplant that was breaded and cooked and sauteed mushrooms and onions. It was a great dinner. We finished the other bread that was purchased at the farmers market. We are slowly eating all the items purchased there with very little waste. On the other hand the items purchased at the grocery store, tomatoes inparticular have gone off at a rapid rate. Any suggestions on keeping them fresher longer or just buy and eat. I don't like to refrigerate them as it nixes any flavor they might have. I keep them on my shelf away from the apples. Oh well, to Posidon they go!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday was wonderful

Pizza day! Pizza Day what a day its Pizza day. We like pizza and its great to have premade crust on board as it is a fast easy meal. These crusts either boboli or the other brands do last a full month. Not because of the preservatives but no air gets in. I guess salt is a preservative but anyway, read your ingredients, know were your food comes from and all of that business...

Pizza, one of my favorites and because I needed anchovy paste for tomorrows dinner I got to have some on my pizza. This was going to be a very good dinner indeed! My pizza had sauce, mushrooms, onions, cheese, pineapple and anchovies.  Jeffs had sauce, mushrooms, onions, turkey pepperoni and cheese. We both had huge grins on our faces tonight!

No photos from my phone as I gobbled it up too quickly!

Sesame noodles

Muriel Lovett is not only my mother in law but she also is quite a good cook. She makes a light, refreshing and tangy sesame noodle dish that I attempted to recreate. Fail. The whole meal was an education and edible but not Muriels. I have since found out her recipe and I have ideas on how to tweak the one I used. I am allergic to peanuts and cashews so many of the thai, asian foods call for these ingredients. So as a substitute I use soy butter. Its pretty good usually but I forget that it is quite overpowering so I should reduce the amount called for. The recipe I used did not call for ginger, I think that's really an important flavor component so I would change that. Also, all the vegetables in the noodle dish (better cold the next day) were cooked or blanched. I would add fresh carrots and or cucumber.
Well, it wasn't terrible just not was I was expecting. Here's what I did.
I cooked 12 oz spaghetti (enough for dinner and then lunch the next day for the 2 of us) in salted water for 3 minutes, then added one bunch of cut up broccoli, 4 baby peppers thinly sliced, and 1 onion thinly sliced. I drained the pasta and veggies after 3 more minutes of cooking. Reserving .5 cup of the pasta water. That is tricky for me as I cook pasta usually the way folks cook rice so that I don't waste precious fresh water. I dumped the noodles and veggies into a silicone bowl and placed it in the cockpit to cool off. I whisked together with a fork, .25 cup soy butter, .25 brown sugar, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp braggs amino acid ( wishing I had tamari), 1 tbsp sesame oil, 4 minced cloves of garlic ( I would have added this to the noodles to take away some of the bite of the raw garlic), and .5 tsp red pepper flakes ( would sub serracha next time) and the reserved pasta water. I added that to the noodles and that part was done. All it had to do is sit and marinate while I heated up some frozen store bought veggie spring rolls in the fry pan...Dinner was served!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Anchor Management - part 2

Part one of Anchor Management was posted on May 14, 2012

Third Step  - lets do this  already... Anne typically pilots C'est la Vie to the drop site using the MOB mark on the GPS in step two.  Once on approach I go forward and release the anchor so that it is hanging off the bowsprit inches above the water.  Optimally, C'est la Vie's velocity is nil upon reaching the drop site.  Anne and I have developed hand signals to communicate during this process (fodder for a future post perhaps.)  I release the anchor and watch for the subtle change in the speed of the chain across the roller to identify when the anchor strikes the bottom.  Once the anchor rests on the bottom, I slow the rate of the chain to match the speed at which C'est la Vie is moving away from the drop site.  Continuing to quickly drop rode would only serve to create a pile of chain on the bottom next to the anchor.  If the conditions don’t move C’est la Vie away from the drop site, then I signal to Anne to back away using the motor.

Our primary anchor rode consists of 100 feet of chain followed by 200 feet of ¾” braided rope.  Beginning at 40 feet, the rode is marked off in 10 foot increments.  On the chain section we use two zip ties passed through the links of chain.  On the rope section we use zip ties passed through the braid of the rope.  The zip ties vary in color.  If we lose count on the marks, then we refer to a list of marks written down in the cover of our log book.
Colored Zip Ties used to mark the length on the anchor rode
We typically anchor in water less than 15 feet so use of the rope section of the anchor rode is rare (scope 1:7 = 15 feet deep X 7 = 105 feet of rode.)  When setting the anchor on chain only rode we use a snubber line.  The anchor chain has no flex.  In rough or windy conditions C’est la Vie can pull violently against the anchor rode.  The lack of flex in the  anchor system can literally rip the windlass or cleats off the foredeck. .  The snubber line serves as a shock absorber between the chain rode and the cleats on the foredeck.

C’est la Vie’s snubber line consists of a 30 foot section of megabraid line with a chain hook spliced in the middle.   When the hooks is attached to the chain two 15 foot sections of line extend back towards the bow.  I always leave the snubber tied into one of the two bow cleats when working at the foredeck.  
Anchor deployed.  Snubber tied into port cleat ready to be set.
 To set the snubber,  I stop the chain when the appropriate mark passes the bow roller and is hanging in the air.  The secured end of the snubber line and chain hook, typically starboard side out of habit, is tied off to the bow cleat.  The remaining line and chain hook are then fed through the starboard bow fairlead.  The chain hook is affixed to a link of chain out beyond/below the bobstay.  With the chain hook in place the free end of the snubber line is then lead through the port side fairlead and made fast to the port side bow cleat with no slack in the line.   Next, I return to the windlass and continue to run out chain until a long bight droops past the chain hook, approximately 10 additional feet.  Now back to the port side cleat, I slowly release line until the chain hook is just above the surface of the water and then tie off line to the port side cleat.  Back to the starboard cleat, I now take in any slack remaining between the chain hook and the cleat. 

Snubber line set with chain hook at surface of water.
Writing out directions for setting the snubber line makes the process seem complex and time consuming,  it typically takes less than two minutes to accomplish and is essential when using a chain rode.  When completed the two legs of the snubber line act independently to secure the vessel to the anchor and to absorb shock loads when anchored in rough conditions.  The chain is secured at the windlass and serves as a back up should the snubber line fail.
Deck view of the rigged snubber line.
When anchoring in areas where the length of rode moves beyond our 100 feet of chain, the rope rode acts provides flex in the system and an snubber line is not required.  I tie the line off to both bow anchors and then run it back to the windlass.

Anchor tied off when depth required use of rope section of rode.
It is rare that Anne and I feel the need to use C’est la Vie’s engine to set the anchor.  If we are unsure of the holding or are expecting foul weather then we will use the engine to pull against the anchor prior to setting the snubber line.

Terrific Tuesday

Ok, I tried a new recipe and it was incredible! So happy. I used the red chinese long beans and rice and a salad.  The camera on my phone is now working again. Phew!

I cut up the beans and sauteed them with 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp garlic for 1 minute. I then added .25 cup of water 1 tbsp soy and 1 tbsp minced ginger. And covered for 5 minutes on medium.  Serve over rice, jasmine would have been perfect but I used wild rice. And bring to the table some hot sauce or crushed red pepper flakes. And our salad had a ginger dressing and dried ginger diced. Yum!

Enjoy this one its a keeper

Starting a day on the GA ICW

Yesterday's thunderstorms have cleared.  Time for an early start on a day of motoring north in the ICW along the Georgia coast.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Blues

No photo on this post. For some reason the camera on my phone was not working. We left Florida for the Georgia ICW. So pretty and twisty and long. After a long long long day of motor sailing I was wanting something quick and easy. Canned soup? Mac and cheese? Leftovers???

No I made the named dinner. Lindsay green tofu, Jamar brussel sprouts, and christie moldovan asparagus. It turned out so great.

The veggies were from the farmers market from Ft. Pierce! As was the spice blend and lemons.
The way I made it as a one pot meal was, I made the tofu first and placed it in a serving bowl, then added the nutrional yeast right before serving. Then I made the brussle sprouts cutting the spouts in half then dousing them with the juice of a lemon some salt and tossing with minced garlic. I used 3 cloves. Then swirling some oil in the used pan which was still hot I sauteed the spouts till they were bright green about 6 minutes I added the garam masala that I purchased at the farmers market.  The smell of all the different spices filled the cabin. There was some heat to the spice mix as both jeff and I got a tickle in the backs of our throats.  I was looking forward to trying these!

I had placed the snapped asparagus the rind of a lemon and the juice of a lemon, salt and some olive oil and wrapped them in foil.  I then turned off the burner placed the foil package on the burner and the pan of hot spouts on top to cook in the foil.

After about 10 minutes or so jeff had the sail stowed and a drink in his hand. We were both beat. I plated the dinner and took lots of pictures and even a video but alas they did not work. You will have to take my word, it was a tasty dinner!

Anchor Management - part 1

Arriving at Rockhouse Creek (New Smyrna Beach, FL) late in the day we were not surprised to discover two other boats already anchored.  The creek narrows quickly as is flows towards Ponce Inlet, visible to our east.  The proximity to the inlet means the tidal current in the creek flows swiftly with changing tides.  Another intriguing aspect to add to the growing considerations in this nchorage are recent comments on Active Captain from vessels that claim to have hooked their anchors on a large diameter underwater cable left from dredging operations.   Time for some anchor management...

First step - motor around the anchorage and gather intell...  What is the topography of the bottom and depths around the anchorage?   What method of anchoring are the other vessels in the anchorage are using?  Vessels using a single anchor will swing very differently from vessels using two anchors.  Which direction will the wind and/or current push a vessel at anchor?  What is the state of the tide?

Here is what we found - We are arriving 1 hour before low tide. The catamaran to our east, in the narrow portion of the creek, resides on two anchors while the monohull sailing vessel to the west, near the ICW rides on a single anchor.  The wind will set us to the west while the current will drift us eastward.  By looking at the other vessels at anchor we see their are floating westward off their anchor - thus the wind is overpowering the current.  The shoal noted on the chart at the southern mouth of the creek gone providing more room than anticipated near the mouth of the creek.

Second Step - identify the spot to anchor and make a plan... Having successfully anchored here in the past on a single anchor, we choose to use a single anchor this evening.   Unsure of the two anchor method used by the catamaran, we select the wide area where the creek meets the ICW south of the other monohull.  Reaching the spot to drop the hook, we note the depth, 6.5 feet and use the Man Over Board (MOB) feature of the GPS mark the location.   Time to calculate the amount of anchor rode required.  This calculation is know as the "scope".   C'est la Vie typically uses a 7:1 scope ( 7 feet of anchor rode for each 1 foot of depth at high tide.)   The depth of tonight's anchorage is 6.5 feet at low tide + 3.5 feet to account for the tidal range = 10 feet deep at high tide X 7 feet of rode = 70 feet of rode at the water surface.  Once the anchor is set C'est la Vie will have the ability to swing 70 feet in any direction from the anchor.  Does this area have enough depth at the low tide to keep C'est la Vie safely afloat?  Due the the proximity of the previously charted shoal we are concerned about shallow water within our swing radius.  Using the MOB mark on the GPS as the center point we slowly motor circle 70 feet out.  The GPS gives us the distance to the MOB mark so there is little guess work making a accurate circle.  The depth at low tide within our swing radius in never less than 5'.  C'est la Vie draws 4" so we are satisfied with the depth.  These calculations are all made easier this evening because we are coming in at low tide.

Remember Active Captain reported the possibility of a large chain on the bottom.  When we are worried about the anchor fouling, then we add a trip line.  The trip line clips to an eye on the anchor and runs up to a float at the surface. This line can be used assist in freeing the anchor if it becomes stuck. We use a small fender as a float. C'est la Vie does not have a designated trip line.  We use various lines depending on the depth of the anchorage.
From left to right - snubber line with chain hook, trip line with float, and partial view of windlass
Ok let's review - we have the spot to drop the anchor marked on the GPS, we plan to use 70' of rode, we are confident the area is deep enough at low tide, and the trip line is rigged.  Now to plan the mechanics of actually dropping the anchor. We prefer to approach the drop site from direction C'est la Vie will drift once the anchor is set.  Thus noting the other vessels are drifting  west we will approach from the west.  Now we are GTG (good to go) for dropping the hook.

Mothers day

We arrived Fernandina Beach on Mothers Day. I called my mom as soon as we made landfall.  Then on to more pressing matters, laundry! We had amassed quite a bit since Titusville. How is that possible? I don't know but it happened. We had been traveling the waterway among a few boats and knew them by boat name as Jeff likes to chat on the radio.  When we docked and we heard the name of one of the boats we had seen and were excited to chat with them as they had Oriental, NC as their home port.  Jeff hailed them as they were getting a mooring ball they said that we would see them later. Good.

Back to laundry. In the wash house I met Karen and chatted with her about which way she was headed and she too was going to Beaufort, NC and then on to Burlington, Vt. She was fun to chat with and I switched from wash to dry.  Planning on a shower next I walked back to the boat to hear, "C'est la vie? You called us earlier we are on Contigo." Oh goody we get to chat with these folks. After turning the boat around we all walked into town for ice cream. This is something Jeff and I have never done before but it was great to chat with Hunter and Julie and hear about their winter in the Bahamas. Here is a link to their travel blog - Cruising Contigo.

We headed back to the boat to dress for dinner and Jeff took me out. It was nice to be off the boat and walking around. We ended up  dining at Cafe Karibo. I had a Ceasar salad and onion rings. These might be in the top 10 best onion rings I have ever had. Jeff had a burger.  We both we quite happy and fat after our meal. Happy Mothers Day!