Sitting at the fuel dock in Capo San Vito, Sicily. Art and captain Giamma are debating the amount of diesel to put on for the passage back to Sardinia as well as the eventual trip back to Palma di Majorca. Giamma feels two hundred liters should do the trick, but then Art remembers our pig, "Carmen says we need four hours to roast him, that's twenty-four liters of generator time"... Ah yes, these are the priorities on board this vessel.
Every boat develops a personality over time: the preferences of the crew, the desires of the guests, the style of the owners- her patterns and habits, her reputation for hospitality- all form a cohesive Joie de Vivre- that thing that comes to mind when said vessel's name is mentioned. The fact that we go so far as to calculate fuel consumption based on what Carmen has going in the galley, the fact that we would lovingly preserve a small Sardinian pig in our floor freezer until just the right moment and reserving of course, the correct wine for the occasion says quite a bit about FG's "personality".
the correct wine for the occasion says quite a bit about FG's "personality"
We dropped anchor in Capo Carbonara, on the southeast corner of Sardinia, after beating 160 miles from Sicily across confused and bumpy seas. Our glorious Med season is drawing to a close, soon we'll be heading back to Palma di Majorca to prepare for the winter season and our return to the Caribbean, but not just yet.
Carmen has been slowly thawing out our little friend , and now she's giving him a spa treatment of olive oil and sea salt making sure he's received a full body massage. Mirto, a leafy herb native to Sardinia goes inside along with a splash or two of Cognac. This sort of cooking is not for the inexperienced- this is a whole roasted pig we're talking about; nose to tail, feet included.
Anticipation builds as little squeaky goes into the oven, it's a tight fit for our seven kilo pal, but after some creative maneuvering he's on his way to porky heaven, and oh man, that smell is amazing. I know what your thinking: Oh how could you! That sweet darling wee piggy! Indeed, our status as carnivores comes much more sharply into focus when we're looking our dinner in the face rather than at a sterile filet wrapped in plastic.
All summer I’ve been writing about the food we've been experiencing- trying to convey the beauty and simplicity, the exceptional quality, the amazing flavors, the passion for regional specialties, but mostly I've wanted one key understanding to rise to the top; respect. There are ancient traditions here, foods that have been produced and grown for thousands of years, and the methods used are largely unchanged. Cheap mass production of chemically fortified and genetically engineered "food products" doesn't go over well here- it should be soundly rejected everywhere. The joy of simple food, the purity, and its significance to the cultural heritage is much too important to be left in the hands of multinational corporations.
The aroma filling the boat is intoxicating, we have a small salad to accompany our maialino di latte along with some pane carasau and two bottles of Sardinian Cannonau wine- we're in need of nothing else except perhaps a little dinner music: Ike Quebec Bossa Nova will do nicely. Carmen emerges from the galley with a platter of golden brown pork deliciousness, it cuts like butter, the delectable juiciness is hardly describable, baby pig is a wonderful thing!
baby pig is a wonderful thing!
It's a few days later, I woke up this morning with an incredible hangover but sadly, there wasn't a party last night. We've just arrived in Minorca after a 225 mile passage from Sardinia's southern tip, it was a beat. I think the reason they call sailing upwind in heavy seas "beating" is because that's how you're going to feel on the other side- beaten. The "super moon" has been creating some super seas I'm afraid- "This is the life and the life is a laundry" says Giamma.
After a brief but lovely respite in Minorca, we're off again, making for Majorca, the last leg of our summer journey here in the Med; back to where we began. We raised anchor before dawn and are underway in heavy swell. There was a magnificent sunrise over Minorca as we tossed and rolled over the crazy super-moon waves, but the Mediterranean has exacted her toll. We were caught in a sudden freak wind the day before and lost the use of our genoa.
We'd been sailing in flat seas and eleven knots of wind, it was beautiful. There was an overcast of grey in the distance but no rain, no dark skies. Then the wind dropped off to just six knots, we had full sail up and were debating if we should put everything away and continue under motor when we were suddenly hit with a thirty-five knot down draft. There was no warning as the wind came from directly above us, we'd had no sign of it from the sea surrounding us- no chance to take anything down or even to round up into the wind, it was simply too sudden.
The wind went from six knots to thirty-five in a matter of seconds- from five knots boat speed to rocketing at over ten, and if not for quick action by the crew, we would have broached. The wind disappeared as quickly as it arrived and we were left once again in flat seas, calm weather, and bewilderment. The genoa suffered a small tear. We'll have it repaired in Palma.
Back in the harbor, back in Majorca, sandwiched between two large yachts- Infinity on our port side and Imagine to starboard; guess the I's have it. We've been anchoring since June, it's now mid August and the stillness feels unnatural. It's raining, feels like Fall already. The next few months will be a time for rest and repair- for everyone! Come November, we'll be heading back to the Caribbean, ce vediamo a presto! Ciao from Feelin' Good!
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