Sunday, September 5, 2010

Red Hot Chili Peppers

A fair amount of wind at the lake today - 10 knots (11.5 mph) - which kept us busy and Kimie wet, but took our minds off the heat. This summer has been the hottest on record for Japan since they began keeping records in 1898. Still, a beautiful, if a little hazy, summer day on the lake.

Note: Meteorologists say 17 nations have recorded all-time-high temperatures this year, more than in any other year, and scientists have said that July was the hottest month on record for the world's oceans.

In the process of leaving the dock, the mainsheet got hooked on the lee transom corner which kept me from pointing up much until I could take care of it. Maybe I wasn't too clear headed, having been hit in the face with the boom while still at the dock. Anyway, we were soon overtaking two Seahoppers (Laser size boats) and we were to windward, but not pointing as high as them due to the mainsheet hitch, so I had to slow down and pass behind them. As we did so, two fish jumped in parallel crossing our bow between us and the other boats, while a third fish jumped the in other direction. Where was the guy with a camera behind us capturing that whole scene? It was poetry in motion. Three sailboats, three jumping fish, two of each going one way, the third going another.

While the wind was fun, it made for lousy photo ops. Every time I went to pick up the camera, the rail of Bluesette would go into the water and I'd have to respond. My attempted video failed completely. So, this time you get to see just body parts - Kimie's arm, feet.... I've got more pics, but I won't share them as they are of things like a corner of my shorts leg, the clew of the mainsail, a blurred shot of the centerboard trunk. Exciting stuff like that.

Kimie did get this thrilling shot of one of the rows of stakes we passed.

We blasted around the lake. I almost managed an accidental jibe on a downwind leg weaving around fishing trap poles. That was exciting - in a bad way (well, it wasn't really close, but got my adrenalin going at the prospect). For my non-sailing friends an accidental jibe causes the boom to swing violently across the boat. It can also lead to a "death roll" where the boat rolls over on it's side very fast.

I loved the wind on reaches though, as we were very fast as we slipped between rows of fish trap poles, some of which are laid out in grids with about 6 meters between rows. Of course, Kimie (aka "Splashguard" - I'm thinking of having that put on a t-shirt for her) got soaking wet as we plowed through the chop. We got hungry and thirsty too as the wind was making it difficult to manage even getting a drink or Soyjoy bar. We decided to go in at about 1 o'clock.

Docking was simple. the wind was 90º to the dock and blowing strong so Kimie would not be able to jump on the dock without precariously stepping to the bow. I've seen too many people fall doing that.

It would also be very difficult to use the grappling hook and pull us alongside the dock in this wind, so I slipped over the side with the bowline in hand and tied us up, then helped get the sails down and rudder stowed while standing in the water. As I've written before, it's not very flashy but it works. And with me what works and is safe is what counts.

It was perhaps close to two by the time we got to Mama's for lunch. We were in for treats, as always.

Kimie had pasta with eggplant and scallops. Mama came to the table with a couple of spice options for her - Tobasco sauce and something called Shimatogarashi - island chile pepper - a specialty of Okinawa. Well, of course the Shimatogarashi had to be tried. Kimie wisely used it sparingly in one little area at a time. It was quite hot, but she says very flavorful. I'll leave the spice testing to her.

Red hot chili peppers! Shimatogarashi. Note: This picture is cropped in deference to a certain crew member (Splashguard) who doesn't like the full frame version. Click on the above pic if you want to see the objectionable version. Personally, I like it.

I had the following -
Salad, bamboo shoots with konnyaku*, rice, spinach stalks, miso soup, and akauo - red rockfish.

The red rockfish was wonderful. This is one spiny critter and difficult to handle when preparing, but inside, the fish is meaty and not at all bony. Mama simmered it a long time this morning in some sauce (shoyu and mirin I'm guessing), which made it tender and very tasty.

And of course, there was dessert. Not that I needed it or expected it, but who could refuse?

Kimie had cheesecake and I was served Mama's version of that lovely Italian dish - tiramisu. Mama even served Kimie a small dish of tiramisu, which was nice as I didn't have to share mine. ;^)

*konnyaku is something of a Japanese wonder health food. It has a strong gelatin like texture that takes a little getting used to. Made from the konnyaku potato, it has been shown to lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, and normalize cholesterol. It contains a lot of fiber. Great stuff, with a nice mild flavor to it.

To top off a great day on the lake, this was our 11th launch of season, which made it a free one. (Every ten launches earns a freebie). At ¥2625 that more than paid for lunch.

Until next, sweet sailing.

PS No, I don't like songs by "Red hot chili peppers", the band. I all sounds the same to me. Noise. They need trombones, obviously.


Martin J Frid said...

Great post! I like when you use sailing jargon and I'm just about lost and then you explain what it means... Sounds like you had a lot to do with the strong wind, well done captain (and Mrs. Splashguard) for not rolling over.

As usual, the food photos make me hungry - I think I will go and make some pasta right away...

Pandabonium said...

Martin - thanks. not a great explanation of terms I'm afraid, but you get the gist of the possible outcomes. as usual the whole story of what happened is more complex, but I want to spare my readers the boring details.

Mama set out more food than I could eat, which always makes me feel some shame. Perhaps just having a bagel for dinner makes up for that?

Arkonbey said...

"splashguard" Hee!

And your darn posts always make me hungry...

I understand you're not liking the RHCP. They're an acquired taste; much like Primus.

They could use trombones for sure, but will a bit of trumpet do?

Pandabonium said...

Arkonbey - no, not a fan of RHCP. Jazz is more my to my taste.

How's step-mom's sailboat?

Arkonbey said...

Flea (RHCP's bass player) started off as a jazz trumpet player.

Ah! I should do a post about sailing with the step-mom, shouldn't I? Gotta wait 'till the film gets back (yeah, yeah, I'm still a 35mm guy)

verification word: Mimpidin. Some ancillary character from the Chronicles of Narnia