Boats ‘N Shows

Friday October 5, 2012

I keep getting my geography mixed up from where I’m currently at and what used to be home.  Right now back in Michigan it’s dipping down to the 60’s and even 50’s which is normal for early October, but we’ve been having pretty warm weather here in Annapolis and today is forecast for low 80’s.  Have I just not realized how far South we’ve gone or am I just mistaking one week of great weather?  We walked over to the Naval Stadium where a shuttle was taking people down to the show and when we arrived there was already a line to get in.  I wondered why Matt felt the need for us to get there thirty minutes before opening, but he had a specific boat he wanted to get on and heard the lines get long incredibly early.  So as soon as the cannon went off (literally) we ran through the opening and back to the docks where the Gunboat s/v Sugar Daddy was sitting.  There must have been early admittance for some people because we were already in a line when we got there.  It only took a few minutes before we were allowed to board though and walked through admiring the large catamaran.  It was light and airy and something I would really enjoy living on except that something of this size needs a crew to help operate everything.  Kind of defeats taking off into the sunset alone.

When Matt was done drooling we toured a few other boats including a Shannon 57 and a prototype from an Italian designer who had an impressive lineage of auto designers in his family back in Europe.  Touring a few more boats we made the mistake of stopping at one of the vendors, Henri Lloyd, so Matt could pick up a few shirts on special.  Then I had to bring the large bag on board with us rather than leave it out by the lines to possibly be stolen as and soon as he stopped at one more vendor I told him that the bag would not be making it on any more boats.  So we spent the rest of our first of two days at the show visiting all the vendors and spending way too much money on things that were unfortunately necessary for the boat.  There was a highlight though when we met up with one of our blog followers, Phil, who lives in the area.  Over a refreshing beer we talked about the fun parts as well as the pain in the ass parts of our trip and listened as Phil told us stories of his sails on the Chesapeake and plans to make it South himself next year.  I love meeting people who’ve been following us along the way and it’s great to hear when they also have plans to leave.  The sailing community is such a great one.

The galley inside the Gunboat, Sugar Daddy.  Yes please!

The aft cabin in the Shannon 57.  To be able to let my feet dangle off a bed again….

Since I can’t afford a framed map like this in our boat I’ll have to settle for a photo of it.

On to the rest of our evening.  It was still fairly early when we got back and, surprise surprise, the guys still wanted to do more crabbing.  This is after Brian caught two more earlier today bringing the current total to fourteen. I stayed back at the boat to do a few important things like brew my first coffee in days and tidy up a little bit.  When they came back an hour later to pick me up they had two more crabs in the bucket.  Now time to head back to Rode Trip to cook them up.  Throwing a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and our game of Bananagrams into a bag we rode back over to the Westsail.  Having put the crab trap in the water over there as well they pulled that up to find another crab in it and also pulled up the chicken bone on a string to find one chomping on that as well.  Eighteen crabs for the four of us!!

Never having cooked any kind of shellfish before we left it up to Brian who seemed to know exactly what he was doing. Half of the crabs would go into a large pot with a can of beer and some Old Bay Seasoning and be steamed alive.  I thought I would freak out about watching something be cooked alive but instead I was right next to the galley watching with wide eyes and interest.  To get the crabs from the bucket into the pot he employed a trick of grabbing them with potholders and then dumping them in and quickly slamming the lid shut.  This worked great for the first three or four that were dropped in, but since we normally had to get multiples in there at one time since they were entangled in each other (they like to try and dismember each other while in the bucket) the second time he went to grab a batch there was one that fell out on to the counter.  After slamming the lid down on the ones that did make it in the loose one had already tried scuttling into their pantry area.  Every time the potholder would come at it the claws would raise and start snapping and since it had backed itself into the area we could not do a sneak attack from behind.  After some coaxing it came forward enough that it was scooped up and put in the pot.  The heat was turned on and not even ten minutes later we had a pot full of red steamed crabs.

Each throwing one on our plate we made our way up to the cockpit to eat since we knew it was not going to be a clean meal.  Going for the legs first we each managed to find a way to pull some meat out and dip it in the melted butter.  It was delicious!!  Just as good as anything we would have gotten in a restaurant.  Except fresher.  After finishing the legs, the bodies took a little more work since we had to separate the top and bottom part of the shell and then take out the gills and remove some other hard bone/cartilage parts before getting to more meat.  All of us were surprised at just how much meat we could actually get off each crab since we thought if they were just large enough to be legal that there was a reason you would throw anything smaller back.  But we all went back for seconds and soon the next pot was on for thirds and fourths.  If there was one negative though, it’s that my hands would get so messy while trying to pull apart my crab that it was hard to also sip on my wine.

In the end there were still six crabs left and we told Brian they were more than welcome to all the leftovers.  Moving below out of the cold we sat around the table and I suggested we play a few rounds of Bananagrams.  This is a gift we got last Christmas from Matt’s Mom, but none of us had played before.  I’ve heard it’s great for boats since the tiles you work with don’t move around much and won’t blow away.  I thought it would be something like Scrabble, and it is, except each person makes their own.  All of the tiles eventually have to be used which means that sometimes you’ll have a great crossword going and then have to rearrange it to accommodate the new letters you’ve just picked up.  I thought that I might actually have a chance to win since I spend at least an hour a day writing but as soon as we called “Peel” Brian was busy arranging letters into words that all flowed into each other.  Needed to take on five extra letters including a X and a J and a G?  No problem, he easily slid them in to his crossword.  When he destroyed the rest of us the first few rounds we thought we’d make it more difficult on him by making him draw two letters when everyone else was taking one but he still came up on top.  He credits it to lots of Scrabble paying in college.  When the rest of us were too defeated to play any longer Matt and I realized it was after midnight and we still had to get up early to go to the boat show again the next morning.  Since we did so much shopping today and not much touring, that’s what’s on the list for tomorrow.

From bucket…

……to pot…..

……to my dinner plate.

Runaway crab dinner from Jessica Johnson on Vimeo.

Brian’s Bananagrams.  How do you even compete with that?

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