Saturday, October 3, 2015

Opua: stereo, venison and paradise

October 3
Opua:  stereo, venison and paradise

        Some of the things you take for granted are less certain for me on GANNET where the membrane between me and nature is thin and often permeable.  I am very pleased, as well as slightly surprised, that at present the membrane is holding.  Heavy rain fell most of last night with lightning and thunder.  I slept comfortably in my sleeping bag with another over me as a quilt confident that a puddle from leaks around the forward hatch was not forming beside me.  Of course this is in port.  When we start sailing oceans again and the hull and deck start to flex, who knows.  One of the truths about boats is that they teach you to appreciate the pleasures of the present.
        Today was unsettled.  Rain, wind and sun in rapid repeated succession.  I could have rowed ashore, but had no need and so remained on board, read, listened to music, did some interior boat chores.  
        GANNET and I are in good shape and eager to go on.  At least I am, and GANNET never complains.
        I am writing at 6:30 p.m.  ‘Empty Chairs’ sung by Don McLean is playing in stereo beside me on the red and blue cylinders in the photo above.  That is an untidy photo taken for another  purpose.  Here is the Great Cabin neater.  

        The cylinders are Ultimate Ears Megabooms, the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers available.
        As long time readers will know music is essential to me, and though my ears are old and will soon need hearing aids, I continue to seek the best sound.  
        The Megabooms have superior sound singly.  Their true excellence is that they can be doubled, both speakers playing in stereo from a single source, in my case usually my iPhone.  
        The process of ‘doubling’, as Ultimate Ears calls, it is clunky.  In my experience it never works the first time, or usually the second, but the ultimate result is worth the hassle.  When you finally get two Megabooms doubled, music takes a leap of not one but an entirely another dimension.  Track after track that I’ve listened to with Megabooms in stereo has sounded dramatically better than I’ve ever heard before.
        It is possible that the Megabooms are not the best speakers for GANNET.  
        When I bought them, the Megaboom was waterproof and the original Boom was not.  Recently Ultimate Ears came out with a Boom 2 which is waterproof, smaller, and cheaper than the Megaboom.  I have not listened to a Boom 2, but they get good reviews.  I’m not going to replace my Megabooms, but were I buying now I’d certainly check out the Boom 2.


        Food to me is mostly fuel.  I like good food when I can get it, but when I can’t, I get by.  
        As many of you know my breakfast about 350 days a year on land or sea is uncooked oatmeal, trail mix, dried or fresh fruit, dried or fresh milk.  
        On board my dinner is almost invariably a packet of freeze dry.  I had never thought of it before but I might well be the world’s foremost expert on freeze dry meals.  Me:  a food critic:  it boggles the mind.  But as such I repeat an opinion I have expressed before:  New Zealand’s Back Country Cuisine is the best.   In the U.S. I buy from several different brands from Campmor, but Back Country has more meals that I enjoy than any other brand.
        I recently ordered more than 90 meals from Back Country.  Some were old favorites, such as lamb and peas—this is New Zealand there is going to be lamb—but they have introduced new meals, including Venison Risotto.  I can’t say that it tastes much different than beef, but it is good.  And simple. 
        Some have expressed sympathy for me living on this small boat and eating freeze dry food.  Don’t.  I just leaned forward, pulled myself up through the companionway, stood and felt the cold south wind against my skin.  How wonderful it is to be so close to the real world.  I eat well and I live in a version, my version, of paradise.


        If the forecast holds I will sail somewhere next Monday or Tuesday—a day earlier for those of you on the other side of the Dateline.
        I’ll try to remember to activate the YellowBrick.
        If you want to follow the track, click here.