The Cast of Characters & Quick Guide to the Story

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Soba noodle salad.
“There’s nothing I can't stand more than people who say they’re bored,” said Bly. We stood talking at an Irish bar - all seven of us, except Cap who was left behind to watch the ship - drinking whiskeys and bidding Kip farewell. 

Bly has a bucket list backed up on a server somewhere that includes climbing Everest, and a dozen other super achievement s that he listed off last night. You might wonder if there is a personality type on board – like my father did, when he tried to size up the crew by asking their birth order. But Kip doesn’t have a bucket list; he didn’t know what one was. When I told him it was a list of things to do before he died, and what was on his, he said, “To live.” Some of us are list-makers; some of us aren’t. Some of us are career sailors; others of us are just passing through.

While taking our hotel run for showers Saturday night, Smith turned on the TV. The Perfect Catch was on. This was the third time she’d watched this same segment’ my second. I heard the same guy blabbing on about his brother’s drug problem and sounding allthewhile like a bad actor. I sat in the other room, futilely trying to fix the problems with this blog when I heard the guy say, “I’ve never had a crew not come together this late in the season.”

That was something I could empathize with him about. It made me ponder yet again over this wondrous thing we call a crew. When Kip leaves tomorrow, we will just adjust and go on – but his having been here, among us, will have changed us all some.

The right ingredients
When I was sleeping with my feet to the bow, it was Kip that told me that they used to store corpses that way. Because of him, next time I make hummus, I’m going to try cider vinegar. And when he’s gone the conversations will be slightly different and the jokes slightly different.

The crew on the Neverland was larger, making it more forgiving. Some crews are even larger. You could hide in a crew of twenty. Your inadequacies might be overlooked. Strange behaviors  could go unseen. Not on the Marlin. With only eight of us, any cracks would pretty quickly divide us.

I remember Zeke, the engineer on the Neverland, telling me that this whole thing of throwing a bunch of people into the mix was his favorite part of the job. Like putting a bunch of random ingredients in a pot. Put ‘em together and what have you got? Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo. 

Dill, Cilantro and Lavender

On Saturday, Smith came back to the boat with a bundle of fresh herbs. I potted them and hung them in the hammock in the galley where I was keeping tomatoes. How cool to have fresh cilantro in a salad?  When the old cook said he never bought fresh herbs because of the cost, I silently scoffed. But each week I make a grocery list, I write: mint, or basil or cilantro, and they are always the first frivolousness to go once I get to the market and realize I’ll barely afford the basics.

Sunday’s Menu
New rice salad
Dutch Baby for Kip, and bacon
Salads from the last couple of days, plus a new rice salad and soba noodle salad; bread and ham and lettuce for sandwiches
I remember telling the captain of the Neverland that every 18-20 meals or so, I would screw up. They would be edible, but not great. Tonight was that meal. I really screwed up the pork roast. A big piece of meat. It wasn’t thoroughly defrosted inside, so it cooked unevenly. I’ve decided I much prefer cooking with fatty meats when they are that large. I find it just such a pain to try and control the cooking process. Overcooked pork is just not nice. Plus, although I smothered it in a spicy green tomatillo salsa, it absorbed none of the flavor. I have no idea why. Fortunately, I put out the rice salad; and a regular green salad. I also made a side dish of green beans with onions cooked in bacon fat and topped with toasted, candied almonds. And served bread in a pot, out of the pot.
Brownies, which I forgot to put in the oven, but which I made later, after our grocery run.

New rice salad
Two cups Uncle Ben’s
1/4 c. – 1/2 c. lemon juice
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 c. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4-1/2 c. chopped parsley
1/8 c. toasted pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste

Measurements are NOT exact, again, this is just me messing around, so be careful and add or subtract to taste and to balance the ingredients.

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