welcome to our blog!

This blog tells the story of our 22-month sailing journey from Oakland, California, to Bristol, Rhode Island, aboard our beloved Bristol 32 sailboat, Ute. Please feel free to browse through the archives (partway down the sidebar to your left) to see pics and read stories of our adventures in North America and Central America . (Sorry the first 3 months of the trip are missing - they vanished somewhere in an internet cafe in Mexico - but all you're missing is CA, Baja and Western Mex).

If you're trying to track us down now that we're landlubbers, try us at uteatlarge at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Dude, Where's My Boat?

Hi everyone....sorry we haven't posted for awhile.....we spent the last week enjoying my mother's wonderful company and tearing around the island on wild escapades and binging on incredibly rich food!! Thanks Mom! And she never complained once about the 60-pound duffel bag containing all the crap we asked her to shop for and bring us. We had quite a time of it. Funny though, that what was exotic to us was exactly opposite of what was exotic to her: she swooned over uninhabited palm-fringed isles and coral reefs while we fawned over the refrigerator, freezer, washer, dryer, square beds.......ice cubes....TV........!

Somewhere along the line, between fiestas and siestas, our computer managed to die a slow death while making hamsterlike noises, while back in Jonesville, the wi-fi connection went on vacation and hasn't come back. So. Would love to promise many fun-filled photos and pithy posts but we may be offline for quite awhile. Such is life here in the islands. Now we have no distractions from the work at hand, which is great since we already have a four-boat backlog of canvas projects!

Thanks to the kind folks that sent goodies with Marti - Christmas in January was never so good! We're reading fresh magazines, while listening to new music, while watching the best home video greetings ever. A blissful sort of multitasking indeed.

We'll be in the sweatshop if you need us. XOXO UTE

Friday, January 12, 2007

F.A.C.Q.'s (Frequently Asked Conch Questions)

Q. Is it tough?

A. No. it is tender. you tenderize it by soaking it in lime juice and/or whacking it with something hard like a winch handle or a bottle (the whacking method is way more fun than just passive soaking, of course)

Q. Is it slimy?

A. When you first take it out of the shell, yes. but by the time you cook it and eat it is yummy, and tastes more or less like very tender calamari or clams (in other words, it tastes just as yummy as its more widely available molluscan cousins, if not more so).

Q. How do you get them out of the shell?

A. Trick them with promises of wealth and fame. If that doesn't work, use a screwdriver and a hammer to make a slit about an inch wide between the 2nd and 3rd whorl, which detaches the muscular foot from where it is anchored on the inside of the shell. Then grab their "claw" (I think it is actually an operculum, technically) and pull out the whole critter.

(The third Q/A was for mostly for Katy and Elan's benefit - they will be on a charter boat in Belize next week and may need to know this stuff).

Thursday, January 11, 2007

We are well

Just hanging here in Roatan. The weirdest part of being here is all the Texans and Floridians. The Texans have pretty much taken over the Western Caribe. We actually enjoy their company. Maybe that is the weirdest part.

Today we took an excursion to buy rum, paper towels, onions, rice, sugar and 50 gallons of water. It took us three hours and about a tank of gas. Mostly our time was fighting with the outboard. We did end buying some sweetened condensed milk to make key lime pie, which is soooooooo freaking good and really easy. Eggs, limes, condensed milk and I think sugar. Oh yeah and butter cookies crushed up as a crust.

Pretty much we are living on rice, pinto or red beans and whatever fruit and vegetable we can find easily. Our goals of living off the land..........well I can say we are trying. We think we can find lobsters on the reef about once a week. Conchs are a different story. They are like rats except everyone likes to eat them.

We spent the latter part of the day cleaning the boat. Scrubbing mold and weird mold like things from inaccessible corners. The best part of my day was watching the sunset from the hammock
(we got it as a gift from Bill last Christmas) having a rum and coke and smiling as cora paddled by in the kayak.

Space is important on a cruising boat, but only for stowing stuff. No matter what, unless it is over 80 ft. you feel like you are always right next to your pardner. I love my pardner. She even knows how to ride a horse.

My friend jon has a website/blog/financial endeavor http://www.myrobotispregnant.com/
he is a good writer. If a bit eclectic. I like him.

Monday, January 01, 2007

we loved this one lone mangrove tree island we saw in Pollytilly Bight on the north shore...with a huge heron in the top branches Posted by Picasa

gettin our jungle on

we've been going for walks in the hills around here the last couple days...gorgeous rolling green jungley hills. Roatan is such a long skinny island that you can see the north and south shore clearly from the crest of the highest hills.....beautiful. It's nice to be down towards the eastern end of the island, where it's so much less developed...... Posted by Picasa
Ute nestled into Jonesville Bight (behind our very own 'electric fence' of course) Posted by Picasa

Apparently when your boat is 50 feet long and 13 feet wide you have space for things like champagne flutes, ice machines, and freezers. so cool. Thanks again to Lyla, our lovely hostess...

how could something so right, go so rum?

When in Rome.........


Ute gives a big thumbs-up to the Jonesville Bight version of New Years - and many thanks to our neighbors Aaron and Lyla on Blow Me Away for hosting us and a handful of other sailors all day and well past midnight! Clive, we won't soon forget your story about anchoring under the Statue of Liberty without any knickers on. I'm sorry that uptight New Yorker didn't appreciate your tribute.

Since we knew well ahead of time that we would probably spend most of the day being overserved by our lovely hosts, we figured we might as well try and make it an educational experience (if you can't beat 'em, throw fun facts at 'em). So we did a little R&D ahead of time so that, every hour on the hour from 10 AM onwards, we could feature a city where it was midnight and say Cheers in the local tongue. Thanks Perth, Ulaan Baatar, Jakarta, Mumbai, Kabul, Baku, Antananarivo, Minsk, Copenhagen, Monrovia, the Azores, Sao Paulo, Bolivia, Quebec and Easter Island for a great tour. We will remember some of you more clearly than others.

When we finally drifted home we spent a peaceful hour or so sitting on the boom, looking at the stars and savoring the warm night breezes. What a way to start 2007!