Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase c onsultation.

Mahina Expeditions, Offshore Cruising Training

galley jan 2019

3/4 way toga party aboard Mahina Tiare

We celebrated last year’s New Years with relief as we’d just completed a successful Panama Canal transit. We’d chosen to visit the Las Perlas Islands and arrived to find only four sail boats anchored amongst 60 motor yachts, all from Panama City, and ready to enjoy the beach and impressive fireworks. Afterwards, back at Flamenco Marina, it was flat out preparation for a 31-day passage to Hawaii although we did sneak off for a lush retreat to Gamboa Rainforest Lodge. Situated on the Charges River it offers a forest canopy gondola ride, observation platform, boat trips and great sightings of sloths, monkeys, birds and alligators. At night we listened to tropical rain to be awakened in the morning by howler monkeys and exotic bird song.

To ensure we purchased top notch provisions and to save time navigating around Panama City we hired a local chap and managed to complete our provisioning in two van trips - the first at Price Smart and the second to the enormous Mercado de Abastos with a top up at Rey Supermarket. Thankfully on setting sail Punta Mala (bad headland in Spanish) did not live up to its name and we experienced smooth broad reaching conditions under a clear night sky. By morning the winds sadly disappeared although when Cheryl spotted a turtle we enjoyed jumping in the water for a closer look. When getting underway again we landed a large mahi and I made quick work of serving it with the following recipes.

Passion Fruit Sauce

½ cup concentrated passion fruit juice or frozen pulp
¼ cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon white rum
3 tablespoon reduced stock
1 pinch salt and ground white pepper

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer until sugar dissolves and sauce thickens; about 8 minutes. Let cool and serve over grilled fish.

Coconut Rice

2 cups long-grain white rice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons white onion - diced
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon salt

In medium saucepan sauté onion in butter until translucent. Stir in rice then remaining ingredients. Cover tightly, reduce heat to low; cook 15 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes, fluff before serving.

A fantastic beam reach occurred the following day but much of the remaining 250 miles to Cocos Island was spent motoring in drizzle as the ITCZ(Inter-tropical convergence zone) showed its true colors. Cocos, just 3 x 5 miles, was discovered by a Spanish navigator in 1526 and was used by pirates and corsairs preying on shipments of Spanish gold. The island attracted many treasure hunters until 1978 when Costa Rica proclaimed it a national park.

With clearing skies, we enjoyed a scenic and productive repair stop then, as expected, from the GRIB forecast, a calm start to the 1,400-mile passage to uninhabited Clipperton before the trades filled in an we were up and sailing. Clipperton Rock, a rough 60’ high promontory, was our first visible sight followed by the few palm trees that survive on this 1.5 x 2-mile coral atoll. We delighted in the narrow calm lee and made a brief stop for sail repairs and tasty salad before rigging the preventer on course for Hawaii, 2,750 miles to the WNW.

Roasted Ratatouille Salad

1 eggplant - cubed
1 zucchini - cubed
1 summer squash - cubed
1 red pepper - chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic - minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt and black pepper
¼ teaspoon each basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
1 head butter lettuce - coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves - sliced

Preheat oven to 375° and prepare baking sheet with parchment paper. In large bowl, toss together all the ingredients except vinegar, lettuce and basil. Roast vegies on baking sheet 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Meanwhile in small pot bring vinegar to a boil, then simmer 15 minutes until reduced. Divide lettuce leaves among four bowls and top with vegetables balsamic reduction and basil.

Next on the agenda was Cheryl’s 31st birthday and we celebrated with mole tortillas and brownies. She hails from Singapore and was very entertaining when speaking to the numerous fishing vessels in Mandarin as they’d elicit excited replies on hearing a women’s voice. Our celebrations continued with a record-setter 200-mile noon-to-noon run; our first since the same day on the same passage in 2002. With reefs in the main and poled-out headsail each watch was boasting a higher top speed - Kristi nailed it with 11.4 kts. Amazingly, the week zipped by as we continued surfing along with our crew adoring the helming action and creating multiple daily runs over 190 miles.

Mole Tortillas

Mole Tortillas

2 pounds beef chuck - cut into 3/4-inch cubes
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup water
1 cup beef stock
1/3 cup tomato paste
1oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Ancho chili pepper
½ teaspoon each chipotle chili pepper, garlic powder, oregano and cumin
¼ teaspoon salt

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a saucepan, add ½ the beef; brown on all sides. Repeat with remaining beef. Remove beef. Heat remaining oil and saute onion 3 minutes. Stir in water then beef, stock, tomato paste and spices; cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chocolate, simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes. Serve on tortillas heated with grated cheese. Makes 12 6-inch tortillas.

A rousing sing-along helped celebrate Kristi and Kevin’s 15th wedding anniversary and started a fun evening trend. I organized the half way party which proved such a hoot that Kristi and Cheryl schemed a hilarious game playing ¾ way toga party. Near the end of January, as we closed on Hawaiian waters, we sighted more birds, whales and dolphins plus caught a few tuna although our spectacular weather began changing as a trough moved in. With another week at sea we would have our work cut out for us until the watch standers reported the loom of Hilo’s lights and announced it was time to celebrate our arrival.



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