On-board Diary: Food

Author: Alfredo J. Sagasti
Date: May 18, 2006



The dawn has come early to Saint Margarita’s bay. The first lights arrived at about five thirty in the morning and I got up at six fifteen to make the coffee and the breakfast for the crew: cereals, cheese, jam and bread together with fruit juice was what I had planned. Little by little the crew got down to their normal jobs and at eight o’clock the operations of the day had begun. The sun has crowned the mountains from the east, while the wind from the land has given way to a slight sea breeze making the Ranger swing around the anchor, changing its position. Now it is looking out to sea.

While I start my daily ablutions, I think of this last phase of my life, which like the wind in the Mediterranean, changes without it being possible to fully understand the reasons for the chance that governs us. My roots are in a small village on the Basque coast, Mundaka. My ancestors, sailors in all the seas of the world over the last few centuries. Now, joining this enthusiastic and generous crew of Oceana, after having put an end to my professional career connected with engineering and the world of insurance, I return to remember my seagoing origins. Without a doubt there is something of a privilege in all of this.

We move. We have to fill the water tanks before we sail for diving at Punta Portofino. The morning remains sunny and a little hot. I think that maybe there might be a storm while I prepare the day’s food. Today we shall eat tomato salad with oregano, parmesan and lettuce, all of which will be dressed in a special extra virgin olive oil which we have been given. Then, spaghetti with pesto di Liguria and hot tomato sauce. I have also put on the table the remains of the marmitako that I cooked yesterday, changing the albacore for salmon, which is easier to find in these latitudes.

The first dive has taken place at a wrecked ship, the second, in the same area, a little further towards the north-west. The area has been documented and, as was planned, tomorrow remains to finish the job.

The food serves to reinforce the human bonds among us and it offers the opportunity to relax from the tense moments that are a necessary part of any voyage. There is still the dinner and I have to improvise, as I did in my tenor saxophone classes, a melody that everybody will like. I do not know whether that will be sausages or chicken and rice. We shall see.

We are approaching the anchorage where we shall spend the night. The same place as on previous days. We are sailing at low speed; I hear some music and the conversations on deck. Another day is over and I have taken advantage of it as Horace recommended in his Carpe Diem, over two thousand years ago.

There is a long season ahead of us, many opportunities that we ought to use with determination and with good sense,. I remember all those verses of Antonio Machado: He knows how to wait, he waits for the tide to flow/ so a boat on the coast, without leaving distressing you/ All those who wait know that victory is theirs …