Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Now we're cookin'.....and it ain't on gas!

Finally the "primus" we'd ordered arrived and we were able to relax knowing we had an alternative. Jack took a look at some of our old burners off the Taylor's and thought he might be able to make them work by the time we passed through on our way to wherever we're going next. As we were alongside the canal we simply stood the primus on top of the stove and used it knowing we'd construct something to gimbal it over the winter. Of course as the days have progressed and we're further along on the journey Bee has had to become remarkably adept at holding the cooker, manipulating pans and producing meals whilst maintaining her balance. Reminds me of the posters I used to see about Gingers Rogers - did the same thing as Fred Astaire except backwards, in high heels and wearing a long tight dress...
Anyway whilst the new cooker lacks the sophistication of the Taylor's (now there's a sentence I never thought I'd write...) it works well, has a good flame and is easy to use. True the thing is noisier than the Taylor's (and not just because it works) but Bee has baked bread and more on it.

A few days ago we pondered what to do about the non gimballing, having tried using the sink as a base for the cooker and finding the heat rapidly spreading hence the foil everywhere. Far from perfect but we needed a quick solution and at least any spillage could be pumped away with a minimum of cleaning, 
But we needed something that would allow some flexibility and overnight we thought we might be able to use half the Taylor's by removing the existing burner base. We already knew the primus was too big to fit into the hole so partly dismantled the cooker and slid in our new burner. Jiggling the thing around we managed to get the pan supports to go through existing slots on the hob-top and back into the primus. Filling the thing was a problem until we sacrificed the hose and tap we use when we're making home-brew and suddenly we're in business. Except the primus is much larger than Taylor's and so protrudes out a long way. A length of metal coat 
hanger judiciously bent at varying angles gave us a
way of stopping pans sliding (although not in big seas)  

Yesterday, June 28, we had another go at the Taylor's and even managed to get that working after yet more messing with the pump handle... So now we have two burners which seems a little greedy but no doubt it'll change before we get too far along'

We left the canal after Bee had wandered around the local supermarket toting a 50lb bag of potatoes, said sad Goodbye's to Jack, Glenda and Grant,  stayed a few days at Baddeck, borrowed charts from Henry, had a conversation with Chris Law after he landed in the anchorage in his microlight and taxied over to see us
and left one late afternoon to sail overnight up to Newfoundland. Of course as we left an interesting, to us, boat came in and we hove to to exchange compliments and "where you bound" questions. Elizabeth, the name of the boat, is a Bristol Channel Cutter (BCC) and lovely to look at. Good friends of ours own BCC's in Maine too. We parted company and soon after we were beating our way toward the exit to the Lakes. Not to be of course as the wind died and we began to motor. We pondered on whether we should anchor in Kelly's Cove but opted to go on but as we were swept into the fastest part of the channel, the swells began in earnest and I had a change of heart as the thought of yet another night bouncing around in lumpy seas with no wind seems a poor second choice to being anchored with a warm fire and a stiff drink in our hands. Kelly's Cove it was then. One of our favourites in the Bras D'or as it happens. 
We left around 9 the following morning, had a lumpy exit (serves me right) and began a slow plod north. Soon after Bee spotted Elizabeth exiting the Lakes and before long they'd caught up with us, chatted and headed north quickly.....

As night drew nearer we opted to motor to help get us out of the Cabot Strait as quickly as possible - not a place to be when things get hairy as the forecast suggested it might do in a day or so. By 2am the wind had picked up and the self-steerer was working. By 8 that night we were drifting again but by Sunday the winds had picked up and the rains were coming down but we were moving up the coast. Yippee...!! By night all had deserted us, apart from the fog and with silence around us we dropped the sails, lashed the tiller and went to bed. Well we did keep a bit of a watch but a warm bed is difficult to prise yerself from on a cold, wet foggy night. By morning nothing had changed other than the batteries needed charging so we motored on and on and eventually made it to Neddy Harbour, on the edge of the Gros Morne National Park, where we still are.

Motoring, for us, is never an easy option. Apart from the cost of fuel which is always a consideration we REALLY HATE MOTORING AT NIGHT! We don't have an auto-pilot so we have to hand steer and things are never that desperate that we'd want to be up all night steering and listen to an engine droning on. So we normally drift around, one sleeping, one on watch. Actually by setting the anchor alarm you can determine how far you want to be pushed before you do something about it and the quiet, once the main, is dropped is blissful.

All this has taken its toll on us of course - to such an extent we're now having to drink this..!!?? Any ideas what it might be?


  1. Absinthe? Creme de Menthe? Pea Pod wine? Nightnurse???

    Blimey things must have got bad....

  2. Great pics - and cool blog. Hope to meet up with you again sometime, and check out your beautiful boat.... share some dinner and stories.

    I'll email you some photos, we have a bunch of great ones. or

  3. Yer not even close missus - try again!!