Monthly Archives: June 2011

“Music of The Rippling Waters “..Uteikah II turns 100

Its not everyday you get invited to a 100th Birthday, but two in a fortnight is unheard of. I had the privilege this weekend of attending a celebration of 100 years of the beautifully restored classic yacht Uteikah II. It was on this yacht that I came across the nautical chart that inspired my post “The Magic of Maps”. She has been owned by a friend of the family for the last thirty years or so and has just undergone a complete restoration project which has taken more years than was anticipated, but the final restoration speaks for itself. She is a thing of great beauty and I had a job to put my camera down.  

The celebration included a blessing of the boat. I couldn’t hear much of the pastor’s words from my spot on the wharf but, depsite still being unsure of my own religious persuasion the occasion rather stirred the emotions. I think anyone who “goes down to the sea in ships” might relate to this. It seems fitting and right to launch a vessel with a prayer that might help her and her crew weather any storms that come their way. Sailors are a superstitious bunch. The occasion reminded me of going with my Dad to the blessing of the fishing fleet and the harvest of the sea service in Porthleven. My Dad would say he is not a deeply religious man at all but he often went along to these occasions.

Uteikah has a long and rich history which I won’t attempt to record here in any detail at all as I’d probably get it wrong. The celebration was made particularly special though, by the attendance of the son and grandson of Uteikah’s original owner. The former of which pipped Uteikah to the post and got his telegram from the Queen last year. How special for a man and a boat who have shared the same century to be reunited in this way. Sent a shiver down my spine.

To some people boats are just a means of transport; a collection of wood, metal and cloth that are fashioned together to float and move from place to place. But to a sailor, like the once in a lifetime family dog, some boats are a bit more special than others. They bind together the people who have sailed on them through their shared memories and voyages and they take on a personality of their own by absorbing the spirit that is borne out of life at sea.

I’d love to hear about a vessel that was special to you and any thoughts or recollections on faith and seafaring?

I took too many photos to label and comment on so here are the best in a gallery. See if you can spot Grandad Water’s chunk of cedar that was once a table, then a wireless casing and is now set for a new life at sea.

Laid Up For Winter

“Dangerous surf conditions, hazardous for coastal activities such as swimming, surfing and rock fishing”. Hmmmm. This seems to be a regular warning from the bureau lately, and crikey blimey is it cold?  I know I’m always commenting on the weather, but really, its the main influencer of how my week turns out at the moment. As winter solstice has arrived boaters everywhere are either hauling their vessels out for off season maintenance or sniffing out tropical anchorages up North. What to do then when the tinnie is laid up? Make fish pie.

Last Thursday I was heading off to the “Scott’s Last Expedition” exhibition opening night at the National Maritime Museum to be an offical “tweep”. A quadruple quantity recipe was in order which could be baked ahead and shovelled into hungry mouths whilst I dashed out the door. This quantity also fits perfectly in my favourite blue pie dish…

Rhubarb waiting in the slips…always happy to help…

When I was a child it was a favourite job when making these kind of pies to plough the fields…

…and scatter…

Which makes for a nice crusty lid on your pie

When I’m eating this pie I imagine I am sitting in a bench seat in the window of The Ship Inn in Porthleven, with a pint of Doombar and a storm raging at the window. Where would you eat yours?

I slightly adapted Jamie’s “Fantastic Fish Pie” recipe from his ‘Return of the Naked Chef” book. Here it is:


5 large potatoes, peeled  and diced

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 free range eggs

2 handfuls of resh spinach (I used green beans instead)

1 onion finely chopped

1 carrot finely chopped

extra virgin olive oil

approx 285mls of double cream ( I used about 300ml and it wouldn’t hurt to have a little more I think)

2 good handfuls of mature cheddar or parmesan

Juice of 1 lemon

1 heaped teaspoon English mustard

Large handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

About 500g white fish of your choice such as flathead or something else sustainable (Jamie says 455  but I think thats a bit specific – who orders 455g of fish when its sold by the kilo?!) slice into chunks

nutmeg (optional)


Preheat the oven to 230 degrees. Boil potatoes in salted water until just soft enough for mashing. Boil the eggs until hard boiled and when cool peel and cut into quarters. Cook your green vegies (such as spinach or green beans) until just wilted or a little crisp, and set aside.

In a separate pan fry the carrots and onions in a little olive oil  for about 5 minutes until soft, then add the cream and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the cheese, lemon juice, mustard and parsley. Put the fish, green veg and eggs into a pie dish and pour over the creamy sauce. Mash the spuds, add a little olive oil and nutmeg (and a little milk if it seems dry) and some salt and pepper and spread over the top of the fish mixture. Make a nice pattern with a fork. I like to sprinkle a bit of cheese on but you don’t have to. Place in oven and cook for about half an hour or until the potato is golden. You can serve with whatever you like. Jamie suggests baked beans, a favourite of mine, and don’t be scared to add some HP sauce or tartare.



A New Set of Sails

Now and then every ship needs a bit of maintenance. Sand back the weathered edges, a bit of varnish, some new sails. Secret Water recently got a bit of a renovation with the addition of a beautiful custom banner by the talented children’s illustrator Cassandra Allen.

I first came across her work via Inner Pickle who had one on her lovely blog. I hopped over to Cassandra’s site and fell in love with the illustrations in “There Was An Old Sailor”.Mothers day approached so instead of chocolates, flowers and a spa treatment I asked for a new blog banner. This is perhaps further evidence to Reg’s argument that I have become a computer club nerd? Not really, I’m saving my pennies to buy the original painting to put in my new kitchen..if it ever gets built.  I had to wait a few weeks and exchanged a few emails with Cassandra about colours, fonts and the angle and shape of Rhubarb’s ears blowing in the wind.

In case you hadnt twigged, the illustration includes some of my favourite people in the world. I think Cassandra has captured the essence of my blog perferctly.

What do you think?

Talking Under Water With A Mouthful of Marbles

Source: via Charley on Pinterest


I spent this morning down at the pool as I have now almost every saturday for a long time. For the last 18 months I have spent this time sitting on my lazy, “i’m pregnant” or “I’m breastfeeding so I’ll have a second slice” bum, drinking a latte, and remembering to occasionally look over and wave at three year old blowing bubbles during swimming class. This morning was different.  This week J2 finally waved goodbye to the boobs so I decided it was time to stop using the continuance of her food supply as an excuse for lack of exercise and get back in the pool. It felt good. Ears in the water,  all noise blocked out I retreated into my head with no distractions. In fact this morning I wrote whole blog posts as I crawled up and down the pool. If I had a dictophone that could record me talking underwater with a mouth full of marbles, I could get it all down on paper.

I’ve been mulling an idea over for a while and alluded to it in this post last summer. With regular competitive sailing a distant memory at the moment I am really missing the complete salt water hit that skiff sailing once gave me. So I have set myself a new long term goal of completing a short ocean swimming race.  When I mentioned this to Reg he nearly choked on his coffee. His goal in life he says is to remove things from his to do list whereas he says mine seems to be to add them. It makes sense to me though as we are already at the pool at least once a week. Pools have creches (for a mid-week session) and for open water training perhaps the family can follow me in the tinny?

So in the interests of Reg’s sanity this is a long term goal. Get fit in the pool first. Overcome an acute fear of having foot bitten off by a shark. Do some research .

Why am I doing this? Quite simply for myself and my own sanity. To motivate myself to get properly fit and to get that feeling that only a serious injection of salt water can provide. This feeling is summed up perfectly by Shaun Tomson in his book “Surfer’s Code”:

“Because surfing stays with me after I leave the waves — in the salt on my skin, the pleasant ache in my shoulders, that general sense of well-being that warms my whole body like a summer day — I can draw on those physical sensations to nourish the imagination and invigorate my life every day”.

I’m writing about this here, publicly, so I can’t chicken out and in the vain hope someone might be silly enough to join me? I know it won’t be easy so I’d love to hear from anyone who has done one or has some advice.

Source: via Charley on Pinterest



This Moment

{This Moment} A Friday photo ritual with Soulemama. A single photo  –  no words  – capturing a moment from the week. A simple,  special moment to pause, savor and remember.

And if you’re a blogger playing along, please leave your link!

At the Wheel

Surf’s Up

Oh, where to start? As sad as I am to admit, when I check the BOM website these days I’m mainly interested in whether its going to rain or not (washing). Friday arvo web surfing at work used to be all about the Saturday Nor’ Easter (skiffs) or the Sunday Southerly Buster (CYC Winter series). This is why, having not checked the marine forecast, it was a pleasant surprise to find the surf conditions absolutely pumping off South Cronulla last Friday.

Surf's up!

Blown spume

Flung Spray

One more wave

I took the kids down to the beach to make sandcastles and rid myself of the cabin fever that was still lurking from Thursday and the working week.

King of the castle

Fort Banksia

The surf conditions had created that lovely aura of diffused winter light; rays of sunshine bursting through millions of almost invisible droplets thrown up by the spume.

If you’ve been reading along for a while you’ll know that Banksias are my favourite Australian native tree. I think of them as the oaks of the Southern hemisphere. I especially like them when they are perched in the vicinity of salt water….


Wild thing


Banksia and Boat

Banksia's seen better days

When I’d had my fill of Banksias we made a beeline for the sand at South Cronulla, where there was a body boarding competition underway. Shire mums, if you thought your boys were in school, you might want to take a look…

Scores on the door

The beach and the promenade had that distinct off season feel about it when the locals are out and about soaking up the relative peace and quiet. We joined in for an hour or two…

Bubbles I

Bubbles II

Bubbles III

The salty air effect

Post snooze

End of the day

Did anyone else get to suck up last week’s surf? Here’s the rest of the pics :)



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