Tuesday, May 01, 2012

DATELINE: INDIAN OCEAN GINGER BEER BOMB An explosive experiment gone awry was reported on the Canadian registered sailing vessel Cat's-Paw IV last week.  The explosion was unobserved as there was no one within 200 miles of the event (good thing) but the results were easily observed in the tiny pieces of ginger plastered over teak woodwork lining the inside of the vessel. In an attempt to duplicate the ginger beer elixir they became enamored with in Sri Lanka the first mate of Cat's-Paw IV mixed yeast, sugar, grated ginger and water.  The first batch was acceptable but a little bland so she reported that she upped the sugar and ginger content to give it a little ZING.  The explosion was stupendous, spewing out of the bottle with tremendous strength, reaching the ceiling of the boat and dousing the walls with the results.  The remainder of the bottle, a scant cup in the bottom was very tasty indeed. Fortunately, no injuries occurred and the Captain maintains the right to slowly and carefully open all future ginger beer experiments.   FILED BY YOUR INTREPID REPORTER ON THE SPOT-----ANNOE We have been in Chagos about 10 days now.  It is a wonderful spot, an atoll about 5 miles across with about 10 deserted islands.  There were 15 boats anchored here, 4 departed the other day so they are about 25 people in the area.  We are allowed to stay here for 28 days and we will probably stay most of the time unless we start running out of food.    We have been spending our time circumnavigating the islands with another very keen Canadian couple. We have visited 7 of the 10 island and managed to walk around 5 of them. At one of the islands we discovered a 25 meter catamaran that slipped it's anchor last year and went up on the reef.  It is aground on the edge of the island so we spend a few hours with hammers, screw drivers and saws salvaging what we could.  Apparently the yacht belonged to a French rock star and was being delivered across the Indian Ocean by a paid skipper when something went wrong.  What a shame it is to see the wreck of what once must have been a beautiful boat.  Barry had a great time, he took off some lovely steel mast slugs, a very large D ring, a lovely stainless steel turnbuckle, worth about $300 new.  Today we sawed off some teak walkway, I have 4 pieces and I figure that someday it will make a lovely picture frame.  My favourite find was a small fire extinguisher, Barry found a very useful bottle of contact lens solution. We have been doing a lot of snorkeling, we manage to see something new each time we are out.  There are turtles, rays, octopi,black tipped reef sharks and all sorts of beautiful fish, groupers, butterfly and angel fish, snappers, parrot fish and dinner on the fly, trevally, just waiting for Barry to figure out which lure they like to eat.  He hasn't managed to catch any fish yet, but one of the other yachties took pity on us and gave us one the other day. There is a well on the island and we have been using that water to do our laundry.  Once a week we take all our dirty clothes ashore and take about 10 buckets full of water out of the well and swish and plunge our laundry around in an attempt to get it clean.  It feels like real luxury to have enough water to rinse twice if I feel like it.  I have washed our cockpit cushion covers and the covers for our fenders, washing them in soapy water twice in an attempt to get rid of the grime from Sri Lanka and the output from the rubber plantations in Malaysia. With much squeezing and wringing, making me wish for a mechanical wringer by the time I am done a load, I put the wet clothes in a plastic bag, lug it back to the dinghy and then motor back to the boat where we hang it to dry.  The ample UV and wind usually make short work of getting everything dry.  The whole process takes us the better part of a morning though.   I have been using some of my time in the galley to offset the lack of stores here.  I am making my own yogurt as well as bread.  The ginger beer production is still underway with mixed results.  I am also sprouting mung beans and once a week we have a very nice salad made with bean sprouts and carrots. I should probably have 2 batches of sprouts underway at once since it takes about a week until they grow big enough to be eaten. We have been having social times with other cruisers, we've had a get together with drinks ashore, the day after we arrived so we could meet everyone.  A couple of days ago we had a morning book swap with coffee/tea and goodies we had baked.  We invited an Australian couple, (the ones we went on our tour with in Sri Lanka) with their 2 children, 10 and 12 over for dinner and a games night.  Yesterday we went on a snorkeling excursion with 4 other boats.  All in all we have been keeping busy, I am neglecting my embroidery and Barry and I are about equal on the Scrabble score board.   Hope all is well with everyone, we enjoy hearing your news so please drop us a line at v8bl@winlink.org.  If you have NEVER written us at this address before put     //wl2k       in the message line and it will get to us.