Idaho, Gelato and Seafood Gumbo
"It's a small world after all, it's a small world after all, it's a small world after all, it's a small, small world." Originally penned by the Sherman brothers for the 1964 World's Fair and made famous by Walt Disney, I can still remember the very first time I went to Disneyland and rode It's a Small World while listening to this song. The animation, costumes and setting was like being an observer in a fairy tale come true. Today our kids would yawn, I am sure, at how "fake" and "antiquated" it all looks but none the less it remains a wonderful childhood memory and the song has always stuck with me. In fact the song came racing back to mind just a couple of days ago in the most unlikely of places for the second time in the past two months.
Having checked into Belize in the small town of Placencia we were waiting out a few days of unsettled weather. We took advantage of the time by doing a few small boat projects, catching up on school and stocking up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Placencia is a laid back spot with a cool beach vibe and a nice spot to chill out. Placencia has great beaches and good diving but it may however be most famous for its incredible gelato. Made fresh daily at Tutti Frutti Gelato we have never had better. We discovered Tutti Frutti two years ago while visiting Placencia on a dive trip. We seemed to come up with every excuse known to go to town and get gelato. We can even confirm that they are open at 9 in the morning. In fact on one visit Marshall was disappointed that there was no papaya gelato today. The reason given, "the papaya this morning just was not good enough to use". Fresh fruit gelato is like eating chilled fruit on steroids. This is seriously good stuff. But I digress.
Having just finished a fun game of soccer on the city soccer field s/v Side by Side, s/v Unplugged and s/v Mima decided to head over for post game, you guessed it, gelato. While standing around outside and massaging our aching bones and muscles and reliving our finest Pele moments, a couple having just discovered the gelato store said hello and a conversation quickly ensued. After introductions were made we learned that Todd Caperon and Patty Charron were from Boise and live less than 20 miles from us. They quickly gave us an update on things "back home" and Amy was thrilled to get to make new friends from home. We look forward to boating with Todd and Patty when we get home at Lucky Peak. You meet the nicest people at gelato stands in Placencia, Belize.
While sitting at the Mario's Marina bar and having a morning cup of coffee 8 weeks ago, an energetic conversation about politics ensued that eventually turned to a discussion on state politics. As the conversation unfolded and as we began to have similar acquaintances I abruptly asked, "Where are you from". "Kuna, Idaho" was the response from Doug Dorn now living on his sailboat s/v Eyrie. Doug and his dog Maggie quickly became friends and we had many fun political conversations. Maggie, a miniature Australian Shepherd, seems right at home onboard s/v Eyrie, and as an Idahoan, former team roper and rancher, she seemed the logical pick for Doug. Maggie quit rounding up cattle many years ago and now focuses on rounding up kids and keeping s/v Eyrie in ship shape. You meet the nicest people over a cup of coffee at a marina bar in Guatemala.
The weather settled down and we headed out as fast as we could pull anchor. We island hopped for a few days and with another "northern" coming we settled into a neat group of islands called the Pelican Cays. The anchorage was originally chosen because it provided good north and west protection and along with s/v Side by Side we had the place to ourselves. For all you Google Earth people we anchored at N 16*40'20.5", W 088*11'30.5". The weather skipped over us and we took advantage of the nice weather to relax, suntan and get in the water snorkeling. In fact we made snorkeling part of school and it fulfilled our P.E. and Science class for the day. The P.E. assignment was simple, do not drown. The science assignment was to find at least one new species of reef fish or creature or explain a new fish behavior you observed.
After two hours of great shallow water snorkeling we returned to the boat with wonderful memories, new fish and coral to look up in the reference books, and 5 nice crabs, 4 lobsters and 3 large conch. After taking care of our catch, lunch was a lite fare of cheese and bread with pate and salami. As we savored one of our favorite lunches at anchor we dove into our reference books and had a great time describing our new discoveries and trying to identify them. We really love shallow water snorkeling. Often times the greatest diversity of marine life seems to be around coral heads in shallow water. The coral we were exploring was in 1-6 feet of water. This shallow coral allows you to float on the surface and just observe the interaction of all the marine life in an unhurried way. Throw in a Spotted Eagle Ray, Lobster, Crab and a little sleeping Nurse Shark and you have all the ingredients for a perfect snorkel.
Having purchased fresh okra in Placencia, Susan and I had made a roux and began preparing gumbo earlier in the day. The question was would the gumbo be chicken or seafood? Fortune had smiled on us and as we enjoyed gumbo loaded with lobster and crab we had fun talking about whom of our family and friends would enjoy this meal most. It was easy, Grandpa Rob and Grandma Sue was at the top of the list with my good friend Jay Snyder a quick second. The kids cleaned up from dinner and all four of us headed up on deck and cuddled under blankets and watched the stars and told stories. We finally went to bed after one of those days you dream about before you go cruising.
There are many things that can frustrate a person about living on a sailboat. They seem to disappear quickly after a day like today. Making new friends from "back home", spending time with your kids discovering new and wonderful things about this amazing world we live in, great food fresh from the sea, and telling stories under the stars are priceless treasures we hope we never forget. I look forward to our kids cuddling with their children and telling them stories. Maybe one of their stories will begin, "Let me tell you about the time science class turned into seafood gumbo".
Live Slow, Sail Fast, Love Well