24 April 2012

About kitchens

     Some delicious meals have come out of our outdoor kitchen which is fairly typical of kitchens in remote and/or isolated areas.  These are usually small buildings with a thatch roof and sides of plastic-sheeting.  
     For cooking in these kitchens, sand is piled in a box-like platform that is built to a comfortable level. On top of the sand are cinder blocks, two or four or more depending on how large a cooking surface you want. On top of the block, pieces of metal are laid to form a kind of grill on which the pot(s) sits...usually just one pot at a time. On the sand and between the cinder blocks and under the 'grill' is an open fire.  Voila...a stove.  Some of the best bread I've tasted was cooked on a stove just like this.  
     In the old kitchen the view was great but the cooking and cleaning were time consuming and at an awkward distance from living quarters - for hauling wood and water - especially when it rained.    
     In the new kitchen the open fire is contained in a charcoal/woodburning 'cooker' that was made to order in Bluefields.  This new stove sits in a breezeway in the house right near the kitchen and the kitchen sink: all under roof.  Cooking on this stove is simpler...and it holds multiple pots!  
     Later we'll have a propane stove but for now keeping a full tank is not on the to-do list.
     Here is the original kitchen, built on the site of an early camping trip where we hung hammocks in the trees.
and inside

     Here is the new kitchen.  Opening on a breezeway of the new house, it has a large window to the south.  
Installing dog-proof doors 
Making the most of space
A bright work surface

17 April 2012

Termite fishing

     Since the trip to Cayman Roca yielded not even one fish, a trip into Smokey Lane Lagoon for termite fishing was next.
     Yeah, I wondered about that too when I first heard the term...no, you don't fish for termites; you fish with termites.  Finally something useful to do with termites (aside from burning their nests to keep the bugs away).
   The rain forest is full of termites and their huge nests are easy to see in lots of trees as the boat heads down the creek toward the lagoon.   An active nest of the right size is removed from a tree and broken into chunks...'right size' and 'chunks' seems to be determined by some previous experience with this sort of fishing.   
     Where the creek exits the forest into the lagoon, the boat traveled in a circle and chunks of the nest, loaded with crawling termites, are tossed into the water.   Sticks are cut and used to mark where the pieces went under; and if the pieces float then the stick is driven through the chunk and the stick's used to anchor the chunk to the bottom.   When the boat gets back to where the first chunk went in or under, it's time to fish.
     The inevitable result is that the termites, tossed into an unfamiliar environment, are frantic in their efforts to escape...and boy, do the fish go after those little suckers. 
        A net, thrown with the grace of a ballet dancer, scoops up the feeding fish as the boat makes the second trip around the circle stopping where each chunk had been tossed overboard.  
     The experience is not a good one for the termites, but we sure enjoyed the results of their sacrifice.

10 April 2012

Cayman Roca, the trip

     The day alternated between sunny and cloudy with wind and the fish weren't biting...but what the hell.  It was a good day to be on the water.
     These are the first close up pictures of Cayman Roca I've ever seen.

03 April 2012

Getting ready to fish at Cayman Roca

     We used to get to False Bluff by going from Bluefields out around El Bluff into the Caribbean and up the coast, offloading people and supplies onto the beach.   Once the creek was opened (see earlier posts) we traveled from Bluefields the back way: through bays and lagoons and up the creek to the pier.
     So the first order of business in preparation for a fishing trip to Cayman Roca was to move a boat from the pier, overland, and into the Caribbean...knowing the process would be reversed at the end of the fishing trip.
Moving the boat overland from the pier.
Heading to Cayman Roca...
and coming back to False Bluff.

02 April 2012

Cayman Rock, Roca Caiman, Cayman Roca

    Word is that fishing's really good around Cayman Rock/Roca Caiman/Cayman Roca which is about 2.5 miles off shore from False Bluff.   After scrutiny of Cayman Roca from ashore, two visitors decided to see just how good the fishing really was...more later on that.
     Whether sunny or overcast there always seems to be a bit of wind and chop.  The very small island is home to birds, a little green stuff, and not much else.
A tiny destination offshore