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.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dinner Day 13

We are finally in the warm temps. Phew, shed a layer I am so happy but... with the warm weather comes the bugs with the bugs comes the fear of opening hatches. If the hatches are not open the cabin gets stuffy if I want to cook using the stove that adds another layer of heat and stuffiness. I forgot about that. So, we ate appetizers prior to the sun going down it was lovely in the cockpit. I was in no hurry at all then all of a sudden the bugs came out as if they had not been fed in a very long time. Swarms of them, oh my! We were on a dock in Moorehaven,  FL No where to escape to. So we let the sun go down, bug hour, then decided to have a lovely cold salad with leftover bread. It was a really good meal! Happy accidents.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 12

We were on our way to the St Lucie Lock from Ft Pierce. We thought we would fight tide the whole way but lucky us it was with us and we could sail. Its getting warmer. I am not a fan of chilly weather so this makes me happy. We had till about 12:30 of sunny warm weather then these crazy rain/thunder storms came through. We made it to the lock by 13:00, but they had us circle in the rain till almost 16:00! Poor
Jeff he was out there in the thick of it. I made him tea and kept him abreast of when the rain might stop using my phones raindar app. We got to the St Lucie Lock campground on the other side of the lock and pulled in for the night.

I cut up some cheeses and salami and served it with these new Triscuits that have black pepper on them, yum! I made a green salad since we had to have ports closed due to the rain. Simple but satisfying.

Ding Dong the Gremlin Is Dead!

I’ve been unusually silent, not posting updates, during our travels south.  Frustration silenced my desire to post updates.  During our first day out, Beaufort to Wrightsville Beach, we discovered that our engine was running hot.   If we ran the engine over 2200 RPM it would overheat.  Our typical operating range is 2200 to 2400 RPM.  The issue was particularly irritating due to the energy I put into engine repairs and maintenance during our summer haul out.

 So began my search for the engine gremlin causing the overheating.  Each evening, I worked to eliminate possible causes... blockage in the raw water intake; failing impeller; blockage in the heat exchanger;  low coolant level.  After a few days I exhausted possible suspects and then called Stan at Beta Marine.  Stan proved amazingly helpful and willing to assist me with the overheating.  I lowered the hot water bypass lines; filled the coolant from the high point in the system; restricted flow to the hot water tank; checked the orientation of the heat exchanger tube stack, etc.  None of these experiments proved fruitful.  According to Stan this left only two possible causes… the thermostat is functioning partially or the heat exchanger tube stack is damaged. 

We purchased a new thermostat and a refurbished tube stack.  Stan sent the parts ahead to the Fort Pierce City Marina and we picked them up upon our arrival days later.  The second I inspected the new tube stack I knew we snared the engine gremlin.  

One of these things is not like the other...
For those of you unfamiliar with a marine engine a quick explanation of the heat exchanger and tube stack I’ll do my best to pen a simple explanation.   If you are familiar with the system feel free to skip the next paragraph.

 Most marine engines intended for use in salt water circulate cool salt water through a heat exchanger and back out of the boat via the engine exhaust.   The fresh water that circulates through the engine block is cooled by the salt water in the heat exchanger, but the two fluids do not mix.  The salt water passes through small tubes in the heat exchanger tube stack (see image).  The engine coolant flows around the cool salt water filled tubes, transfer’s the heat to cool salt water, and then returns to the engine block.

The Beta Marine engine’s use a metal shield around the tube stack to direct the hot coolant around the cool water in the tubes.  In the image the hot water flows into the heat exchanger and floods around the tube stack.  The water then flows along the stack directed by the copper casing and exits the opening at the lower end.  Our old tube stack, on the right in the image, was damaged when the mechanic removed it during our maintenance this summer.  It is obvious that the shield slid down the tube and would not allow the coolant water to exit and return to the engine block.  I am surprised the mechanic did not realize this would cause over heating once it was re-installed.
Ding dong the gremlin is dead!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Some folks have asked me how I have all of the things on board to be able to make the things I do. Well, because of my job as a kitchen manager for the last nearly 20 years I have had the unique training to think a month in advance. When I make my grocery shopping list at home or on board it is nor to simply replace what I have used up but to project what will I need for the next "x" amount of time. I know I can't always do what I want to do because things happen, fruit ripens quicker or not at all, the fridge accidentally freezes the lettuce. So I have back ups. I am not anti processed food so, I have some on board but I enjoy cooking. I enjoy the process of combining ingredients adding heat and creating something totally new. When working with dairy ingredients making yogurts or cheese I feel like a chemist. It awakens something in me, another way to express creativity. I also don't follow recipes very well. I like to look at about 6 different ones and then combine or alter due to allergies or what I have available. But again, I like that it keeps my brain active.
So, here was my proposed menu plan for this trip. 17 days or so was the plan, no need to really stock up on too much as we are travelling domestically. I do have a tenancy to over purchase!

Dinner options:
Mushroom/spinach enchiladas
Sweet potato black bean Burritos
Boboli pizza veggie
Red curry with tofu
Green curry with tofu
Bean chili with corn sticks
Pasta with red sauce and homemade bread x 2
Ceasar salad with salmon
Chicken marsala broccoli with potatoes
Lindsay green tofu potatoes and broccoli

So far on this trip we have had our lettuce freeze, tangerines rot, green peppers disintegrate  Our cauliflower  spinach and carrots also froze but I just plan on using them that way. Its hard for lettuce to recover from a freeze.

We did just do a quick resupply more spinach and more lettuce. So we shall see how that goes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dinner Day 11

Last trip north I was trying to figure out what on board could I use to pound chicken thin. Then our friends Alan and Marcia came to visit us in Ft. Pierce. They had been reading the blog and came bearing a gift of a meat tenderizer!  Ah ha the perfect thing to use to pound my chicken thin. Thank you for that! In honor of them I made Chicken Marcia! We were pulled into ft pierce to work on the engine pick up parts and buy more produce. I was so upset in Beaufort when I froze all my greens in my fridge on land prior to boarding. Arrrgh !

So Chicken Marcia is like chicken marsala just lighter. Not as much butter but flavorful and rich and delish.
Pound on the flat side of your trusty meat tenderizer organic chicken cutlets that have been washed and patted dry between 2 sheets of plastic or a ziplock bag. You don't have to be strong here they will get too thin ig you are overzealous!

Dredge these thin pieces in wondra flour that is mixed with some kosher salt and cracked black pepper.
Drizzle some olive oil in the pan and 1/2 tablespoon of butter (this is for 2 servings) you are not trying to deep fry these things just sautee and crisp them up. Flip over after about a minute or 2. Cook for one minute more.

Transfer these yummies to a plate
Add the othe 1/2 of tablespoon of butter to the pan then add in a clove or two of crushed/ pressed garlic and a box of sliced fresh mushrooms. You could use less but I love mushrooms! Let them cook out their water then add 1/2 cup marsala wine and reduce by half and and 3/4 cup of stock and reduce by half. Stir in one more tablespoon of butter then add the chicken back in for a few minutes just to warm them up. If you don't want to use the wine use all stock. I like to serve this with a green veggie either a salad or broccoli or asparagus. Also I like a simple starch of oven roasted potatoes. This is a hearty meal.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dinner Day 10

Wow go from dog tired to inspired! Bread! When Jeff and his father did this trip last year I included a no knead yeast bread. They loved that it heats up the cabin makes the whole boat smell good! So, it was still chilly I though I would try my hand at this. I got hot water, possibly too hot as the bread did not rise as much as I thought it would, added it to the yeast and sugar packet, too much sugar for my preference, and waited for it to bubble. Once it bubbled I added the flour and stirred and stirred with my wooden spoon. Then I plopped it on to a baking sheet which come to think of it might have robbed it of any heat created by the warm water and waited for it to rise. And rise it did. In the oven for 20 minutes and out came a delish round of bread. I wonder if I could have shaped bagguetts? Hmmmm. Next time maybe.

I really wanted to eat the whole thing for dinner with bread some jam and call it done. Cooler head prevailed and we added a Ceasar salad with the last of the lettuce. I have a cheese grater I got when working a wonderful kitchen store in Brevard, NC called the Proper Pot.  It's made by a Swiss company called Zyliss. Its perfect for boaters because it is made of plastic and stainless steel. Match made in heaven. Also its super easy to clean! Dreamy. So with that said I usually by hunks of parm and grate it myself with no fear of hurting my knuckles.

Day 9

We had a long day out there. We needed something hot and a good pick me up. Soup! So, I made an Asian slaw, from the grocery store basically grated broccoli stalks, cabbage, grated carrots, ginger salad dressing and crunchy chow mein noodles all mixed together and served. Then I boiled water and made soup from a bag. Jeff had lemongrass chili and I had Bangkok curry, rice noodles seasoning and chili oil. Upscale Ramen noodles purchased at the grocery.

 No photos as I was too tired and hungry and the food was all gone by the time I thought, "oh I should be documenting this!" When I am working and dinner time sneaks up on me I tell the staff it will be boxed dinner because all I have time to do is open a box. Like I have said in earlier posts, I like to eat healthy and I don't always have time to make gourmet meals. So when I shop I purchase things with that in mind. Look at the ingredients, be choosy about what you put in your body. Just because they can sell it in the store doesn't mean it is good for you. Stay away from things that can make you sick, too much salt, too much fat, too much of anything. Then you can be sure when you are dog tired you have the best food you can have at your fingertips.