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Sunday, August 10, 2008

August 2nd – Frank’s 60th birthday!!!!

For several days I have been trying to plan a birthday party for Frank's 60th.  This is no small task if one wants to host a surprise party; living on a 50-ft boat, communicating over open VHF channels one cannot easily convey information privately nor keep secrets.  Because cruisers move around so much – and often on a daily basis, I didn't know who to invite, nor did I know where my captain would decide we would be anchored on that day.  I had pretty much decided to play it one day at a time and wait to see who would be with us on the big day; hence I'd not made any concrete plans.  The plotting; however,  began in the anchorage of the Taravana Yacht Club on 7/31, where I got to sneak around by dinghy and talk in code over the radio to Imagine, Moasi and Liberty Call.  Luckily Julia and Sandy jumped right in and assured me that they would do the plotting and communicating for me if we could just lay some groundwork together.  Syren was elsewhere but kept promising to meet up with us eventually, not realizing that Frank's birthday was closing in, so we had to just hope that things would work out for them to join us.  The plan materialized as circumstances presented themselves to us.  Moasi is a catamaran and can seat a large group for dinner, so we decided to have a pot-luck birthday dinner for Frank there.  I provided the main course and the cake.  It is nearly too much to go into – and no one would believe what we went through to pull this thing off, but fate (destiny) made a step forward and came through for us again.  Syren showed up just in time to join in the festivities and we had a great party for Frank.  I had managed to find two beautiful whole rib eye roasts which I rubbed with rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, fresh crushed garlic and olive oil, and roasted on the grill.  They turned out better than any prime rib we have eaten before, probably because the meat here is so good.   Julia prepared herbed roasted potatoes, Sandy made a beautiful garden salad, and Helene (crew from Syren) brought her special marinated olives and pate with French bread.  Julia stuck sparklers into the cake and we all sang Happy Birthday. It turned out not to be much of a surprise but we had a good time nonetheless.

August 3rd the wind continued its strong gusts, and intermittent rain showers blasted us from time to time – usually just when we got all hatches and windows opened up, so we decided to stay another day in this protected anchorage.  We are amazed how many chores crop up when we are at anchor, so we set about doing them and because we felt "boat bound", we watched episodes of Alias to pass the time.   Joe has every episode of five seasons of Alias which he was kind enough to loan us. We had never watched it when we lived back home and now are hooked!  So every chance we get at down time we watch Alias in an effort to get through all 5 seasons before Joe leaves and takes the discs with him. 

August 4th we made a decision to get over to Raiatea because we had not yet been there.  Joe rode with us, pulling his dinghy with a torn sail as its passenger which was to get dropped off for repairs.  We managed to get on a mooring at the yacht charter marina for a couple of nights.  We did get internet and I called my daughter but could only hear every couple of words, so we took care of personal business online and then went to shore for a recon of the area.  We walked into the main village, about 4.5 kilometers away.  It was a nice walk and we wanted to do a little shopping but the periodic rains came along getting us relatively damp, so we just picked up a few items in town that we could carry back, including a beautiful tuna filet and accompaniments to make the Tahitian specialty, Poisson Crue (Tahitian Marinated Fish), following is the recipe:

1.5 lbs   fresh tuna (we use yellow fin)
1 small  shredded cabbage
½             cucumber, julienned
1 lg         tomato, chopped
1 med   onion, finely sliced
8              limes – juice of
½             carrot, shredded or julienned
1 c           coconut milk
1 sm       green pepper (or red, yellow, etc.), finely sliced

Dice the fish into ½ inch cubes, rinse with fresh water and place in large bowl.
Squeeze the limes and pour the juice over the fresh fish.  Mix well and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
While the fish is marinating, prepare the vegetables, mix them together and add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the vegetables to the marinated tuna, then return to the refrigerator.

5 minutes before serving , pour on the chilled coconut milk, mix well and serve with sliced fresh baguettes!
while at sea: (subject line:WL2K)
Skype ID: frank.barb.gladney

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