Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rum recipe(s): The Errol and the Olivia

OK, OK, so I've been mixing more than I've been sailing, but I just went into the kitchen feeling mixological mojo and came out with not one but two new cocktails.  These vary only by two ingredients, and thus I decided to name them together:

The Errol:
--Cruzan Aged Rum
--Domaine de Canton
--Regan's Orange Bitters
--Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters
--Ginger ale

The Olivia:
--Cruzan White Rum
--Domaine de Canton
--Regan's Orange Bitters
--Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters

Gimme a break, just looking those two together in Captain Blood makes me melty.  One of the best classic screen duos ever.  If only improvisatory cocktails could do them justice.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rum recipe: Captain Blood

Variation on the classic Dark 'n' Stormy.  Credit goes to the inimitable Mike and Kat of the Driftwood Room at the Hotel deLuxe for introducing me (us) to the magical fourth ingredient.  But I thought this one up as Zanne and I were at the bar and named it for the dashing Mr. Flynn's (and Mr. Sabatini's) classic character.
--Gosling's Black Seal Rum
--ginger beer/ale
--slice of lime (not optional)
--Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur

"We, the undersigned, are men without a country. Outlaws in our own land and homeless outcasts in any other. Desperate men, we go to seek a desperate fortune. Therefore, we do, here and now, band ourselves into a brotherhood of buccaneers... to practice the trade of piracy on the high seas. We, the hunted, will now hunt." --Captain Blood

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Classic beer: Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

Over at Zzyzx Road Kitchen, Zanne has been getting a steady Russian invasion after posting a recipe for povitica, the Croatian Easter bread that has different names and forms throughout Eastern Europe.  Judging by my traffic sources, Zanne has led the Russians onto my ship!  Zanne's reponse to the invasion was to make 'em more hungry and post a recipe for Chicken Kiev.  My response is to get 'em thirsty...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rum recipe: Kraken and water

Simple, yet poetic.  Kraken Black Spiced Rum and just enough agua to open it up.  Don't mess with rocks.  Just sip.  Somehow, pleasantly, this excellent rum is widely available in Seattle's State Liquor Stores.  The rum itself isn't as dark as blackstrap, and the spicing is a bit more mellow than Sailor Jerry.  Seek it out, before the Kraken seeks you out instead...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Float the Fleet!


The Grays Harbor Historical Seaport recently launched a fund raising contest called "Float the Fleet:  For the Next Generation."  The objective is to raise money simply to keep the ships maintained.  This starts with $168,000 to purchase wood now to restore the hull that was originally going to be funded by the State until the grant suffered the axe (so to speak) of budget cuts.  The long-term goal is to raise $3 million by 2017.

Doing good for Washington's tall ships is important enough, but here's the fun part.  "The Pirates and Privateers" contest, which ends June 20, has a fabulous grand prize:  The winning crew takes the Lady as a "prize" for a whole year, meaning official recognition and photo op's; gets 12 VIP (Very Impressive Pirate) passes good for any public sail; and may hoist their own colors on the Lady's masthead!

I have decided to captain a crew for this effort.  Now I need YOU...and anyone else you can press into service.  On the online sea, the easiest way to contribute is to go to, click on the "Donate Online Now" link at the bottom of the page, and tell 'em Blue Lou Logan sent ye where it asks "How did you hear about us?"

The Lady and the Chieftain need US.  Do it for the ship...and for the prize!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Somalia update: He said, he said

Vice Admiral Mark Fox, commander of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet patrolling Somali waters, April 18:  "I would like to see the industry side be more willing to embrace embarked security teams," he said. "There have been no ships successfully pirated with embarked security teams. So let that be its own statement."

Saturday, April 16, 2011


First it was a lovely breakfast at Luna Park Cafe with everyone from home and service from Sweetpea, Queen of Seattle Rockabilly and our good friend.  Then it was a quick trip to Byrnie Utz Hats to replace my unraveling (and too small) brown Greek fisherman's cap.  Finally, I got dropped off at the Center for Wooden Boats.  Martin had invited everyone who was maintenance crew for the Betsy D to come down for her first voyage of 2011 after weathering the winter and getting painted.  We had time.  We moved boats around.  We rigged our boat--sails, snotters, spars. Eventually, the Sail Now! Shore School even took a break, and we got a chance to get into the boat house and make coffee.

Friday, April 15, 2011

North of Dutch Harbor...

"I have a deep, depressing feeling of impending gloom."
--Captain Johnathan Hillstrand of the F/V Time Bandit.

This pretty much sets the tone for the new season of "Deadlest Catch."  After only a quick nod to Captain Phil Harris, we're right into the king crab season...and it's war.  Bad weather, bad fishing, bad relations between crew and Captain (aboard the Cornelia Marie, natch), and bad luck:  Viewers get another gripping Coast Guard helicopter rescue after a crewman on the cargo ship Ever Unique breaks his neck.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blue Lou Logan for President!

Allow me to introduce myself.  I am the pirate Blue Lou Logan, and I would like to be your next President.  I stand for the Parcel of Rogues Party.  Our platform is very simple.  We ask:  If all politicians are scoundrels, why should they pretend to be other than what they are?  Our nation's Founding Fathers--Washington, Jefferson, Franklin--fully supported privateering.  Let us honor our country's pirate heritage!

I believe that the way forward is backwards.  Our technology has brought us to the brink of environmental destruction.  The greed of our so-called "captains" of industry has led us to recession.  On a pirate ship, if the Captain can no longer serve the crew, he's voted out!  It's time for new leadership!  It's time for MUTINY!

I do not believe that our course is correct.  I argue that we must return to what we know works.  Our oceans are crying to us, "Don't cross me with diesel, cross me with sail!"  The pirate way is one of environmental sensitivity.  Let us get past our dependence on fossil fuels by going back to a resource that will always be there--the wind!

I further propose that we turn our economy by reinvesting in tradition.  Let us rebuild our collapsing country!  Let us restore our history!  Let us grow hemp!  Let us make rum!  How better can the Pursuit of Happiness be furthered but by making those things that make us merry?

It is time for us to stop patrolling the planet.  Our involvement in other countries' business brings death to our people without reward.  What good is a raid without plunder?  I argue that diplomatic withdrawal will let us focus on keeping the ship, our United States, afloat.  Fight for booty, or do not fight at all!

The pirate way will bring our country the prosperity that it deserves.  If I can't do the job, send me off the quarterdeck!  Or maybe I'll keelhaul ye...

Parcel of Rogues:  Honest scalawags in a time of dishonesty.  We're not to the Left, we're to port!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Booze and Boat Bits #1 (5 short items of interest)

1:  In the process of gathering sources for my "Under Lake Union" post, I found this recent article at Three Sheets Northwest about a couple of homebrewing liveaboards.  The article is mostly a simple introduction to homebrewing, but there are two revelations.  The first is that they named their boat the Filthy Whore.  The other is the simple fact that they're homebrewing liveaboards.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Kalakala seems OK: an eyewitness report

With little more direction than a Google Maps location, Zanne and I went in search of the Kalakala today.  First we went around on Marine View Drive, and peering around a refinery we saw where she was.  There was no good photo spot.  We backtracked and went out into the port on Taylor, thinking this was actually the way to the boat.  We were right, although we could still get no better view than a peek between buildings.

I am happy to report that--at least with the tide in--she appeared upright and on an even keel.  The news has been painfully quiet about the Kalakala lately, and since Zanne and I were already out for the opening of the Olympia Farmers Market (and a run to Sonic) we decided to go see her ourselves.  Don't call her a trashy hulk:  She's still beautiful.  And she's afloat.

By the way, if anyone knows if and how to get to the Kalakala, or at least a decent place for a picture, PLEASE leave a comment...

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Just had to share one of my favorite pictures ever.  1931:  the Monongahela is towed out of Lake Union before the George Washington Memorial Bridge, aka the Aurora Bridge, is completed.  One era ends.  Fare well ye tall ships.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Under Lake Union

The Center for Wooden Boats' Lake Union Archaeology Project has already gotten a decent amount of local press, starting with this Seattle Times article written by Three Sheets Northwest's Deborah Bach and followed by a shorter article in the Post-Intelligencer.  I can't help but tout this, though, because the underwater survey of wrecks and remains, overseen directly by the CWB's Dick Wagner, is just too interesting.  I have known a handful of underwater archaeologists during my old academic life, from the grad students at Cal Berkeley to the insane divers who helped us survey the cove at Three Saints Bay on Kodiak Island.  Fact is, the murky, 45-degree waters of Lake Union sound intense enough.  You can read all about the project at its own site (linked above), but I wanted to highlight a few wrecks and their stories.  OK, maybe this is just an excuse to write about them...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rum recipe: The Nassau Chaise

I was going through my pocket notebook, writing in my (other) Journal, and came across this cocktail recipe from a few weeks ago:
--Sailor Jerry rum.  This is second only to Cruzan Aged as my stock rum.
--Coco Solo.  This is a coconut-flavored soda that you can often find at the local Latin market. It's from Cuba, where Coco Solo is the name of a neighborhood in Havana.
--sweet lime.  This tastes almost like tangerine...a lot less tart than a regular lime, something you could actually eat raw (tho' I knew plenty Tejanos in San Antonio that ate raw limes).  It's apparently very popular in the Middle East and India, tho' it's originally from Southeast Asia.
--ginger ale, just to cut.  You could leave this out if you wanted the Coco Solo to take over, but keep in mind the Coco Solo is strong in coconut flavor.

This has a lot of flavors going on, not in the least because it's using spiced rum, and I leave it to the mixer's discretion how to proportion and which flavor you want to dominate.  I named this concoction Nassau Chaise because I was picturing this as drink in hand while reclining in the Bahamas.  I didn't know until after that a Nassau chaise is actually a style of chaise longue.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

So there was this moment...

...when the bosun, on a night when the wind it was howling and the snow was outrageous, called an order to the topmen far above and unseen in the weather, but there was no reply.  And the bosun wondered if they were there at all.

Why does no one ever comment?

Sound off, ye worthless idlers!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Somalia update: The war steps up

Last Friday...  The MV Arillah-I, a bulk freighter registered to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was attacked.  The pirates, armed with AK-47's and rocket-propelled grenades, approached in two skiffs launched from a mothership.  The crew of the ship, however, had already called for assistance and were secured in their vessel's safe room.  Instead the pirates were met by UAE Special Forces with air backing.  The ship is now on its way back to Dubai, where the pirates will be tried.  If convicted, they will face life in prison.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Toe Rails

Toe raila very low wood or metal strip that runs around the edge of the deck of a boat between the bow and the stern.

I arrived at the Center well short of 10:00, which is when it technically "opens" on a weekend.  I was the first to run the communal, much-storied coffee pot.  Yet Martin was already at work on the Betsy D.  We had already sanded.  Now it was time to paint.  First we had to mask off, so it was foot after foot of blue tape, for which I would like to offer thanks to the inventor as it makes so much more obvious where one has applied white paint and where one has not.  Martin showed me how to get marine paint the proper consistency, then we got on the gloves and got busy.  For me, painting was very relaxed, focused activity, and Martin was able to very calmly coach this newbie on how to make more out of less paint and smooth the whole thing out.  We did toe rails, we did gunwales, and we did hatches.  The weather held.  Then I used this homemade device that spins the paintbrush in the thinner to get it clean.  In spite of this clever technology, my pants still got splattered.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Galleon ahoy!

The last time I was in the boat shop at the Center, a group of people came in to look around.  A man came up to me--keep in mind I was just past orientation--and asked if we had any caulking mallets.  I knew that this kind of tool has been used since the days of tall ships to seal between planks using cotton and oakum (hemp soaked in pine tar).  The question struck me as odd, because our little shop wasn't normally in the business of repairing tall ships.  "I make them," the man said.  "I donate some to the Center's annual auction, and I was wondering if there were still some around."  I did find a drawer with caulking mallets in it, but upon inspection none turned out to be made by him.

I then learned that he and his group were on "vacation" from the San Diego Maritime Museum