Hey world, it’s Katie. Let me begin this blog post with a short list.
A few things I’ve learned (very, very abridged version):
1. Constellations and star names (did you know Castor and Pollux actually had different dads, but still are considered twins?)
2. How not to be lifted into the air while sheeting in the mainstays’l on dawn watch (okay, Marley and I are still in the process of learning this)
3. That immortal jellyfish exist?! Thanks for that info Süpi and Jack…
4. Every single line on this entire boat (shout out to the storm trys’l running tact)
5. That flying fish can fly without going back in the water for WAY longer than I had ever imagined
6. And, finally, my day today: tenderizing and making steak for the first time in my life.
I awoke at 0800 this morning, later than one normally starts in the galley
(0445) because I had evening watch until 0100 the previous night. After taking a moment to wake up on deck and enjoy the ocean spray on my face, I headed down into the galley to begin helping Sayzie and Cam with the day’s food preparation.
The galley prepares six meals a day: breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and midrats (midnight snack). For our meals today, we prepared: oatmeal, guacamole/salsa/chips, cold lunch (mac salad, quinoa salad, and egg salad, among other things!), a selection of fruits, steak frites, and banana bread. After a morning of whipping up guacamole and “shopping” for fresh produce in the deck boxes, we got to work on the main meal of the day: steak frites.
The beef came from Huahine, where we had obtained a quarter of a cow. On land in Huahine, much deliberation ensued amongst us students as to which quarter we would receive (was it half a head through the front leg? Was it just half of the top half?). As it turns out, that’s not how purchasing a quarter of the cow works at all, and I was instead faced with a stack of meat pieces on the galley counter that looked nothing like a head or a leg (whew).
Having been a pescatarian my whole life, meat preparation is a whole new ball game for me. Josiane and Sayzie first taught me how to tenderize the meat—a job I took to wholeheartedly, taking my aggression out on the pieces of steak in front me. I was soon hurried along as Rocky came to inform us of some exciting news: our first field day was about to begin!
For those of you who are not aware, field day refers to an afternoon of organized cleaning chaos. Everything in the galley is fire lined on deck to be hosed down; ceilings, walls, and soles are mopped; and heads and showers are deep cleaned. The best parts of field day include: getting covered in soapy water, blasting Stick Season over the speaker (and subsequently shouting it at the top of our lungs after the speaker died), getting surprised by our stewards who walked around the boat with candy bars for sustenance, and chaotically attempting to fire line goods back below deck after the threat of a squall. All in all, a truly fantastic afternoon.
Post field day, Sayzie and I returned to the galley. While I made veggie steaks out of impossible meat, Sayzie used her amazing culinary skills to make three of the most delicious sauces I have ever tasted: vanilla sauce (Tahitian vanilla and molasses pressed and boiled by Josiane’s friends on Huahine, Sofia and Gus!), a Roquefort and onion sauce, and a spicy pepper oil. Truly delicious. I don’t know how she does it. She then taught me how to cook the meat on the griddle, leaving me in charge of over thirty steaks—otherwise known as our entire dinner. After taking a second to get over the immediate stress of being in charge of thirty steaks of meat on a griddle that could get overcooked at any second, I finally began to truly enjoy myself in the sweaty heat of the galley, reveling in another opportunity to learn and grow just a little bit more. Fun fact, I think the
steaks turned out well which is great news.
It’s the little and big things that we learn on the Seamans that make this adventure so exciting. Whether it’s learning how to heave to for science, how to take the helm in a squall, or how to prepare steak frites, I am not sure that I have ever learned quite so much in such a short period of time.
I wish I could share everything on this blog post, but for today, this will do.
Lots of love to all the families and friends reading this—we miss you!
Katie Waters, Middlebury College