Tag Archives: #cruisinglifestyle

Non-negotiables on Kool Kat

A follower of our blog asked me about ideas for space saving when travelling in a caravan and after recently reading Windtraveler’s post Ten Simple (and inexpensive) products we Love on our boat, I got to thinking about the products I use that are a must-have, non-negotiable item on Kool Kat. By the way, if you haven’t tapped into Brittany’s blog before and you want to put a smile on your face, do yourself a favour and check it out here. She, Scott and their three little poppets lead an amazing life.

So, getting back to non-negotiables, I got to thinking and I got to talking to other cruisers in the sailing sisterhood, and this is what I came up with.

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No 1: Totally in agreement with Brittany, and many others, that the ‘Turkish’ towel is brilliant! It takes up no room, is light, dries quickly and is super versatile, morphing from a towel into a sarong/pareo into a beach blanket! There are many versions available but my favourite is Hammamas which we bought in Australia. Other cruisers I know who swear by them bought their towels in the US or in St Maarten. What I like about the Hammamas is that mine has softened up beautifully over time and they have a huge range of colours.

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Hammamas Turkish Towels

No 2: Second on my list is Silicone bakeware. Cruising provides many opportunities to ponder one’s navel, even on a 3-hr crossing, and one thing I have discovered is I love to cook. Hold your horses, I need to be more specific here! I love creating healthy, SIMPLE, food and I’m not into creaming butter and sugar or sifting flour six times! I like it pretty damn easy, particularly as I’m in a cosy (read small) environment. Okay, monohull girls, I know I’ve got it pretty good but everything is relative! Anyway, I don’t like having to clean up a big mess afterwards either and this is where my silicone products shine (well, not really as silicone is quite dull).

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Silicone bakeware: muffin tray, loaf pan and baking sheet.

Last year I bought, through Amazon, a silicone 12-muffin tray and two silicone baking sheets. Then on one of the French islands I spied a silicone loaf pan. All I can say is that I use these four items at least once a week. They are light and flexible which makes them easy to store and they are an absolute bonus when it comes to cleaning! Check out my previous post about using the muffin tray and the baking sheets and pay particular attention to my advice about what to look for when buying silicone products as there are varying standards. Some people worry that they don’t brown the food but my experience is the opposite except on one occasion and you’ll see why when you read the post.

No 3: Before we set out on this adventure I read an article about one item women cruisers seriously valued and the TEFAL Ingenio saucepans came up a few times. I set about trying to find them in Australia only to find out they weren’t available. Long story short, I was able to get a set and they have been one of our best purchases. Our set is made up of 3 pots; stainless steel inside and out, 3 glass lids with silicone edges, removable pot handle, removable lid handle and three plastic lids. The beauty of them is that they take up much less space than regular pans with attached handles, I can see through the glass lid as food is cooking and I can reseal with a plastic lid for storage of leftovers in the fridge or freezer. They are easy to clean and the large one is plenty big enough for pasta and soups. Check out my Galley Series post to see one being used to cook callaloo soup/fritters.

I have prepared a short video showing how easy it is to affix and remove the handles.

No. 4: Brittany refers to a flexible chopping board and I’m thinking I might get one of those too but I do like my Joseph Joseph chopping boards. This isn’t actually a non-negotiable but I do really like them. I have a small white one and a larger green one. The bit I find really handy is the lip on one side which catches runaway liquids and, on a boat, they runaway alot! The boards are reversible, meaning the lip is on both sides and one side also has several prongs to secure whatever it is you are carving. They work really well.

Slant on board catches juices in lip.
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Reverse side with prongs to prevent slipping.

No. 5: Moving away from the galley, another excellent purchase we made was the hose we use for washdown. I read an article on the Boat Galley blog about the XHose Pro and we decided to lash out and pay a little more when we needed to replace ours. It has been so worth it! It takes up very little space as it retracts when not in use and expands when filled with water. It is light, easy to manoeuvre, covers a large area, packs away in a small space and we love it!

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This is expanded with water and remains easy to take anywhere on the boat.
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This is deflated with no water in the hose and it just fits really easily.

The above items are all purchases Mal and I made but we were fortunate enough to have alot of equipment left on our boat by the previous owners; thanks John and Linda. It’s a running joke with our friends that when someone asks us where we bought something, eg: dinghy ladder, we reply ‘it came with the boat’ much to their chagrin!

No. 6: Yes, the dinghy ladder! It is an invaluable aid when you are exhausted from snorkelling and you need to drag yourself back up out of the water and into the dinghy. Without a ladder it can be like watching a whale beach itself, only not as gracefully! The ladder ‘that came with the boat’ is called “Up-n-out” by Scandia Marine Products; it is sturdy and collapses into a small bag for storage.

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Ladder extended.

No. 7: The Tervis tumblers ‘that came with the boat’ have been a godsend in the sometimes sticky but always hot Caribbean weather.  We have both the tall and the short and they keep those deliciously refreshing G&Ts we are so fond of, beautifully cold!

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Gin and Tonics in our Tervis tumblers at the end of the day!

So, there we have it, some serious non-negotiables and some must-haves when cruising. What are your non-negotiables?

Cheers, Sue and Mal.


Internationally Renowned Award, well almost….

Thanks to Alex & Dave from Sailing Banyan for nominating our blog for the Liebster Award! I was totally immersed in Alex’s post responding to their nomination when I realised they had nominated us. What a pleasant surprise. It’s all a bit of fun and Mal & I are always up for that so let the fun begin!

liebster-blog-awardThere is a large array of definitions when googling ‘Liebster Award’ so I read through a couple and selected one. According to experienced blogger, Lorraine Ruguly at http://www.wordingwell.com, the Liebster Award is given to relatively new bloggers and it is their decision whether to accept it or not. If accepted, a set of Q&A are worked through, other bloggers nominated, a new set of Q&A are set and the fun continues*.  Fun, that is, if you are a blogger. If you don’t enjoy the game, you don’t need to accept or continue. Mal & I chose to continue because we like blogging, we love reading about other people and their experiences and, as I said earlier, we’re always up for some fun.

So, thanks again to Alex & Dave on s/v Banyan for the nomination and here are the answers to your questions. We have taken a leaf out of your book by answering some questions individually when we couldn’t agree on the same answer 🙂 What, I hear you say, Mal & I don’t agree? Now, there’s a surprise!

(1) Where in the World are you? Alternatively, where would you like to travel to? We are at ‘Camp Grenada’ in Prickly Bay on the island of Grenada waiting for hurricane season to end before sailing north, together with hundreds of fellow cruisers.

(2) Describe the funniest thing you’ve witnessed in your travels to date?  Funniest or strangest? We had one of those moments when we both looked at each other and said, did you just see what I saw? We witnessed a flying stingray only a few metres from the boat in Tobago Cays. It was about 18″ above the water and moving very quickly. When we googled flying stingray we realised it wasn’t that unusual and agreed that we’d take a flying leap too if something big was chasing us! Well, we’ve agreed on two answers so far.

(3) Describe your favourite cruising grounds in your travels to date? As we have limited experience in this area we both agreed Bequia was a favourite cruising destination but, after next season, we may well have a different answer. Another agreed answer

(4) This Sailing Lifestyle has obviously been a dream turned reality for all of us out here doing this. But if you could have another dream, another “thing” you would want to do… what would it be? If it involved sailing, we’d like to cruise either the Mediterranean or the northern coast of Australia. If not, it would be to live for a period of time in Europe somewhere, eg: France, Italy, Spain. This agreement stuff is getting way too spooky!

(5) If there’s one thing you brought with you cruising, that is totally useless and you could take off your boat, what would it be? Alternatively, if there’s one thing you didn’t bring with you, and wish you had, what is it? Mal: I wish I’d brought more measuring tools, such as ‘dividers’. Sue: Makeup, it’s useless here. It’s so hot I never wear foundation of any description. Interestingly, my skin seems to like it!

(6) In this world of So Many Blog’s, have you followed a Blogger and not yet met them? Who would you most like to meet? Sue: Yes, I’ve followed “A Cup of Jo”. She is a NY young Mum and I really enjoy her writing style. In relation to sailing blogs, I keep coming across Sheryl and Paul of “Distant Shores” http://www.distantshores.ca/boatblog.php when looking for information and hope we cross paths one day. Mal: I like to read blogs of cruisers we’ve already met, like Banyan and Amoray.

(7) What time of day do you enjoy the most and why? Early evening. Normally the water is calm and we enjoy a G&T on our back “patio” whilst watching the sun go down. Although last Wednesday we went kayaking with two other couples at 4.30pm and it was just magic; calm and peaceful.

(8) When we set sail, and told our friends and family of our plans, we received some pretty incredible (and also incredulous) responses. Have you? Describe the one that impressed/shocked you the most? Our family and close friends have been very supportive but what surprised us was how many people commented on how courageous we were. We didn’t feel particularly courageous so we are either incredibly naive or just see this as the next chapter in our lives.

(9) With this travelling lifestyle we get exposed to wide variety of cuisines. Do you enjoy trying, eating, cooking with “local” foods, and if so, what is your favourite so far? Share your recipe ?? Yes, we love trying the local foods and will normally give anything a go. Lobster was Mal’s first response but, of course, we do get that in Oz as well, albeit it’s hellishly expensive. Sue: I’ve really enjoyed eating callaloo but haven’t yet experimented cooking with it. I’ve got a recipe for callaloo soup from Kiwi John which I will try very soon but I’ve also enjoyed callaloo and saltfish fritters. We both love soursop smoothies from the Spice Mall and, with the proliferation of mangoes at the moment, I’ve been making mango lassis every day! Recipe: mango, yoghurt, ice, milk and a smidge of honey; delish!

(10) If asked to give a random piece of advice about this lifestyle to anyone, what would it be? Mal: Make sure you buy something comfortable and, if you don’t like rolling in your bed at night, buy a catamaran! Sue: Do it and do it now. Don’t wait. We’ve met so many fabulous people with amazing stories to tell and we’ve seen some incredible places. We’ve also met people who, for one reason or another, have been forced to “retire” from this lifestyle and it reinforces our desire to keep going. I hate to borrow from a multi-national brand and friends in Oz have heard me say it many times before, JUST DO IT!

Phew, the hard bit’s over and we actually agreed on many of the answers! Go figure. Now for some nominations and questions. Many blogs we follow have already been nominated so our list is very select!


Maggie & Wylie, Harmony at Sea  http://harmonyandus.wordpress.com/

Gina & Bruce, Adventures in Paradise http://bruceandginas.blogspot.com.au

Wendy & Jim, Merengue Under Sail http://merengueundersail.blogspot.com

Linda & Chris, Troubador http://sailingtroubadour.blogspot.com

Bregt & Lynn, Boxing Kangaroo http://boxingkangaroo.be/about-us/


1. What is that special something about your boat that you love?

2. What is the hardest part for you living 24/7 on the boat?

3. What helped you decide to take up this cruising lifestyle?

4. If you could offer some pearls of wisdom to newbie cruisers, what would it/they be?

5. If money was no object and you could make a change to your boat, what would it be?

6. What is something new that has surprised you about your partner since you commenced this lifestyle?

7. Has your initial estimate of how long you’ll be cruising altered since you first started?

8. Did you name your boat and, if so, why did you choose the name? If you didn’t, would you like to and what would you choose?

9. What is your favourite cruising destination to date, and why?

10. If there was one wish a jeannie in a bottle could grant you now, what would it be?

We also have friends who read our blog but don’t write one themselves. To you guys, I hope you discuss the questions and let Mal &  I know some of your answers next time we catch up.

It’s been fun, Sue & Mal xx

*For a far more detailed set of rules, please check out http://www.wordingwell.com for a comprehensive and selective list.