Monthly Archives: June 2015

The advantages of cooking on Medina

Cooking. I think you either love it or you endure it. Being a stay at home boat mum, cooking is something that I just can not avoid, so I fall into the endure camp. In hindsight I have enjoyed learning how to cook on Medina but you won’t find me getting up early for the local farmers market.

Heeling over at about 15 degrees, you can see the angle of the boat by the calendar and stove (they are horizontal)

Heeling over at about 15 degrees, you can see the angle of the boat by the calendar and stove (they are horizontal)

Cooking on Medina has its obvious challenges, most of which amount from living in an environment that is constantly moving or a lack of space. Medina doesn’t move too much when we are in the marina or at anchor, but when we are sailing, cooking can be quite a physical challenge.

We only have a small fridge and freezer but am grateful we have them as some boats don’t have either! We have limited storage space for perishable and non-perishable foods, appliances, utensils etc. All these items can compete for space for other things we have to store, such as tools, equipment, etc. Only having two gas burners and a stove the size of a large shoe box means we’re not going to undertaking a catering challenge like you see on the reality cooking shows. Limited access to 240v power when sailing or at anchor means I have to think in advance about a recipe that involves an electrical appliance and what the alternative method will be.

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Orbit watching his ‘afternoon shows’ while I prepare dinner

Thank goodness for the wonderful people who have blogs and books dedicated to cooking on boats – we would not have made it through the last two and a half years without their advice!

But, cooking on Medina also has its advantages that may not seem so obvious.

Being in a small living space means I can tell you what shows are on ABC Kids in the late afternoon, if they have changed their programming and yep I can sing every Giggle and Hoot song off by heart. One of my favourite advances is the ever changing view from the three hatches above the galley if we are sailing or at anchor.

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Orbit checking out dinner through one of the hatches above the galley

We never have ‘mountains’ of washing up as we only have a limited number of plates, cups, cutlery etc. Sometimes my biggest decision (once I have worked out what to cook for dinner) is what saucepan to use … we only have two, the big one and the little one.

I don’t need to download brain training games, as I am often caught out without the correct ingredients, so I have to work out what I can substitute in or out to make something resembling the original dish.

Another advantage is, when we are sailing or at anchor, simple food tastes even better. Which means my simple food goes down a treat! Lucky because I don’t know how to cook fancy food!

The fish whisperer

Orbit looking for fish

Orbit looking for fish at the local park

At the moment, each time we step off Medina, Orbit begins to yell “fish-eze, fish-eze, where are you”? 

Orbit is fascinated with fish and looks for them where ever there is water. Once he spots a fish (any fish will do, he’s not picky), he yells, “fishe-eze, me, me, fish-eze” (I am called, “me” at the moment), followed by much pointing and jumping before he settles in to watch the fish. Orbit will sit and watch the fish as long as they are there to watch.

As its winter at our end of the world, there are lots of fish around. The bream hang out under the boats; the mullet hang out in the shadows of the floating pontoons; plenty of schools of bait fish and the usual ‘puffer’ fish that hang around the underwater growth on the floating pontoons.

Orbit watching the 'puffer fish

Orbit watching the ‘puffer’ fish

This morning we were playing ‘ball’ at one of the local parks and Orbit decided to walk out on one of the jetties to see if he could find some fish. As he was walking out, I am sure everyone in the park heard his yells of “fish-eze, fish-eze, where are you?”

After carefully putting his ball down so it didn’t roll into the water, Orbit sat down at the end of the jetty and started to look for the fish. He was so excited when he found some ‘puffer’ fish that he accidentally knocked his ball into the water. Unfortunately the wind blew it into a storm water drain and I wasn’t about to retrieve it.

Luckily Orbit wasn’t too disappointed about losing his ball, nothing that the promise of a cup cake didn’t fix.

With Orbit’s current fascination with fish, its going to be interesting the next time he goes fishing with the Skipper!

Each pocket has a surprise

Just like the Skipper and I, Orbit likes his own space and to spend some quiet time on his own, doing his own thing. Orbit has his ‘own time’ each day and usually spends it with his toys in the v-berth. As we don’t have the space to rotate his toys, I have been thinking of other ways I can ‘mix up’ for him

IMG_3899It’s easy to mix things up when we are off Medina – different anchorages with their natural wonders, parks with their different slides and climbing frames, ball games when we are fortunate enough to have the space to throw and kick a ball. Its also easy when we play together on Medina, there are many options, such as doing craft, cooking etc.

One opportunity to mix up Orbit’s solitary play presented itself last week, when I wasn’t even looking for it! After cleaning Medina, I found myself with a pile of things to put away, including a hanging pocket organiser that had been stuffed behind the saloon cushions and a pile of Orbit’s things that had been ‘stashed’ in various hidey holes (some that I didn’t know we had).

Then the epiphany … I could use the hanging pocket organiser as a way of rotating little surprises for Orbit. By randomly placing different things in the pockets after Orbit has gone to sleep I could surprise him each day with something different.

The pocket organiser on attached to the bulk head

The pocket organiser on attached to the bulk head

The Skipper and I decided the best place for the ‘organiser’ would be on one of the bulkheads and at Orbit’s height so he can easily see what’s in the pockets.

I don’t just put small toys in the pockets, I also pop things in that Orbit has taken an interest in. Such as a tape measure, a piece of plastic (that some stickers were once on), the case for my old glasses, a top, a book, pipe cleaners, crayons and a little book etc. The main thing is that they don’t weigh much and fit in a pocket.

So far, so good. Orbit loves investigating the pockets to see what is in them and playing with at least one thing that he finds. I love seeing his face as he goes through the pockets looking for the surprises each day. So I think the pockets are going to stay for a while!

How do you give Orbit a bath?

I was at Play Group this week and one of the mothers asked how we bath Orbit. She confessed she didn’t know much about boats. “Do you have a shower on the boat?” she asked, quite tentatively. After clarifying that we do, she asked how we bathed Orbit.

Orbit's first bath - he wasn't happy

Orbit’s first bath – he wasn’t happy

Bathing Orbit has been one of those things that has changed as he’s grown.

When he was a new born, we started out bathing him in a small storage container on the saloon table. We’d boil the water and then cool it down to temperature with cold water. The only reason why we boiled the water was because I kept forgetting to turn on our hot water system, so it became our routine. Orbit screamed the whole time he was in the bath for the first time, but he soon got used to it.

The initial small storage container didn’t last long and we were soon at the shops buying a bigger one. We were able to work out the ratios of how many kettles of boiling water to how many kettles of cold water we needed to get the temperature right pretty quickly.

Watching the Bedisloe Cup

Watching the Bedisloe Cup

Once Orbit could sit up on his own, it was time to move the bath on to the cockpit floor. Sitting up coincided with splashing – lots of splashing and it was easier to bath him in the cockpit (which is after designed to get wet) then try to protect the saloon from the water.

By this stage, we were up to a fairly large storage container. The amount of water required to fill it enough so it covered his legs meant we were doing ratios of boiled water (in the kettle) to buckets of water, when we were in the marina.

Bath time in the cockpit

Bath time in the cockpit

When we were at anchor, Orbit’s bath water was rationed, he was lucky if it covered his legs. He did’t seem to mind, water was water, and it didn’t mind how much or how little he had.

The ‘bath’ was also a blessing on really hot days in the marina. I could pop some water in the bath and Orbit had his own ‘paddle pool’, keeping him cool and entertained at the same time!

Orbit has now out grown the bath, so he has a shower. This uses a lot less water than the bath and is also a lot faster (as long as I remember to turn the hot water system on in time). We are going to keep the storage container though, we might need it as a paddle pool for next summer!