Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gone Sailing, So Saury Olive Oil

~ said Popeye the sailor man.

Wednesday's weather was even better than Monday's. A beautiful fall day for the beginning of Autumn. The air was in the 70s F and water the same, with blue skies dotted by puffy cumulus and wisps of cirrus clouds.

We arrived a bit later than usual as it was Ohigan, the Buddhist holiday at the Autumnal Equinox, and time for visiting the graves of ancestors with offerings of flowers, incense, water and rice cakes. In rural Japan, many graves are in small community or family plots or at the local temples. On days like this, as we walk down the street, the air is filled with the sweet scent of incense.

(side note: Contrary to popular belief - even among some Buddhists - the offerings are not for the deceased per se, but rather are a way for the living to reflect in appreciation on the fact that one does not create one's own life, but rather we owe our existence to others, especially to those who have gone before. The incense, flowers, etc. are simply expressions and reminders of that dharma - truth.)

After rigging Bluesette we had to wait a bit for someone to operate the cable winch, as all hands were busy teaching new sailors. So, we launched about 11:30 in winds of about 6 miles an hour. The painter on Bluesette is too short to be handy at the dock, as it is matched to the length of the tow rope on the sendai (dolly) so that both sendai and boat come out of the water together. I added a second small diameter painter that is much longer, so that when we leave the dock, K can just wrap it around a post, get into the boat holding the end of it and cast off when ever we are ready. Much less hassle than before.

Two Lasers and a Sea Hopper chased each other around the lake.

First times are often a learning experience, and K did everything well. However, I wasn't quite ready and hadn't said anything about casting off yet. Oops. I hadn't thought to work that out with K ahead of time. Ready or not, we were off! :-)

Lots of sailboats shared the lake. A young boy was sailing a pram again, his dad sailing with him part of the time and sometimes separately in a Laser. It turns out the boy had learned to sail in April and wanted to sail on a bigger late than the one he learned on.

There were also a group of three first timers sailing in a Semi (pronounced "seh-mee" - Japanese for a kind of cicada). The Semi sailboat is similar to the Lido 14, but a bit flatter in profile.

The harbor owner's son was on watch and if anyone got into trouble he would race out to them on a jet ski and lend assistance, which he did on several occasions.

We docked for a lunch break about 13:00 and headed for Mama's Kitchen. We both had the special lunch of the day - Sanma, known as Pacific Saury in English. Sanma is very popular in Japan and this day was an appropriate one for eating it, as it is an Autumn fish. It is usually salted and grilled as pictured below, but Mama'a dish was very different.

So Saury sorry to say, I didn't have my camera with me. Mama's cut the fish into four fillets and marinated them overnight in olive oil then floured and fried them. They were served on a bed of sliced greens to hold them up a bit on a square plate that was covered with olive oil and finely diced tomato, cucumber, red bell pepper, and paprika - a beautiful presentation. It was accompanied with rice, miso soup, and a soft boiled egg (which in Japan is beyond soft boiled but not hard). The sanma was "oishi" - delicious. Desert was fresh pear slices and grapes. Perhaps the best lunch I've had at Mama's - which is saying a lot.

We got back to Bluesette about 14:00 for another hour and a half of sailing. Over lunch we agreed on the procedures for casting off, so this time we were both ready before letting go of the painter. The painter floats and is easy for K to retrieve from the water after we shove off.

As we got close to this wall on the lake (I was checking out the house which must have a great view) a man fishing there wasn't sure we'd turn in time and actually backed away from the railing.

The wind had picked up to about 9 mph, so we had a great time hiking out and getting wet. Good fun. Docking again at 15:30, the wind was just starting to go back down. Good timing.
The two Lasers and Sea Hopper head downwind for the yacht harbor.

I'll be doing more scratch removing and polishing this weekend since K has to work. The following weekend we have a guest joining us for sailing - hopefully both on Friday and on Saturday. Three in the boat will be interesting. Not sure how we'll organize things, but that will be part of the fun. Perhaps we'll also trade off with the one left on shore taking some pictures.

Oh, and that reminds me. I am hoping to be able to post better pictures next time. The Pentax Optio W60 I've been using is waterproof and fine for close shots with its wide angle lens, but it has no image stabilization system, so if I try to take a zoom shot, it invariably comes out blurred unless I am on shore with the camera set on a post.

I just got a replacement camera - an Olympus μ Tough 8000 (called Stylus in USA, I think). The Olympus has 12 megapixels (vs 10 on Pentax), is also waterproof and has a zoom feature, but more importantly, has optical image stabilization to keep those zoom shots crisp. It should make it possible to offer pics that get you closer to the action. We'll see soon enough.

Until next, sweet sailing.


Anonymous said...

Your guest will have some rather fun learning experience to look forward too!

Oh, and what is a "painter" if I may ask...


Pandabonium said...

MF- honored guest to be... No doubt we shall all learn a great deal. :)
and hopefully have fun doing so!

A painter is the bow line - the line which is tied to the bow (front end) of the boat and with which one ties the boat to the dock. The origin goes back many centuries to a French word "pendoir", meaning a rope for hanging things on.

The Baxteria said...

Beautiful article and pics. I love it :)

Don Snabulus said...

Another gorgeous day and lunch. I am living vicariously...

Pandabonium said...

The Baxteria - Thanks so much for visiting the blog and for your kind words.

Don - armchair sailing, eh? Enjoy. Turn on a fan and have someone splash a little water on you as you read the blog for full effect. ;^)

bonnie said...

Hm - looking forward to hearing & seeing how the Olympus stacks up vs the Optio. Been thinking about replacing my old W20 - it's still working fine but the lens seems to have gotten just roughened enough that it holds water (when it was newer the water would shake off). All my pictures of the Montauk light were fuzzy because we were in chop that was too big to allow me to open the dayhatch, where I had a hand-towel for lens-clearing.

bonnie said... you know I have never tried pulolo?

I will have to try to find some whenever I manage to get myself home!

I have a haupia source now but before L&L opened here, I did find some in a most unlikely place! I had a meal at a Chinese-Spanish restaurant (may seem like an odd combo, but there were lots of Chinese that went to the islands of the Caribbean for the same reasons that many Chinese went to Hawaii) that had a dessert special called "Coconut Flan". I ordered it & it was haupia!

The one disappointment so far at L&L was the "saimin". I was so excited to see they had that on the menu one time, and I ordered it. It was a fine noodle soup. It wasn't saimin. What is it that makes saimin saimin anyways? You can get all sorts of noodle soups in NY that superficially resemble saimin - but none of them are, quite.

Pandabonium said...

Bonnie - I haven't had the Olympus on the lake yet, but so far, I am impressed. I've done experiments with the two cameras - taking the same shot - and the Olympus picture is much better and the image stabilizer works great. It has a lens cover that automatically opens and closes, the controls are much easier to use and it has more optional features. Hope to post lots of sailing pics next weekend.

Your Montauk paddle was quite an adventure. The dolphins must have made the effort worth it.

I used to get kulolo from friends out at Keanae village on Maui. They would make it in an imu, and serve it at luaus. It was also a popular item to sell for school and canoe club fund raisers. Taro, coconut milk and a little brown sugar. A lot of work to make, but really ono.

Saimin - well, in NY, they probably just can't get all the local ingredients that make it taste the way it does in Hawaii.

ladybug said...

Thanks for the fun update Panda. Have less time to read/post since starting the job...but it's going will.

Really enjoy all the food descriptions, sounds like "Mama's Place" really is!

Pandabonium said...

Ladybug - thanks for checking in. Glad you job is going well. I'll be posting more pics from Mama's (and other places) as the new camera actually has a "food" setting.