Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Lobster BBQ and meeting the locals

We decided to move to a more sheltered anchorage yesterday afternoon after the wind direction shifted so we are now between the islands of Uchtupu Dummat and Uchutupu Pipigua. In the morning we'd asked some of the locals (bad Spanish and mime) if it was possible to buy some lobsters and ascertained that there would be no fisherman working today (Good Friday, of course); however the message obviously spread and, as we arrived in our new anchorage, a boat arrived alongside and we were invited to pick our lobsters from half a dozen crawling the floorboards.
So the original plan for a beach BBQ was revived and we went ashore onto Uchutupu Pipigua with our Cobb BBQ, chopping board, sharp knife and two nervous-looking lobsters. We'd consulted Rick Stein's wonderful book on how to tackle these armour-plated creatures (at least these ones didn't have the big JCB-type forward pincers) and his recommendation for painless killing was to pop them into the freezer for two hours. We don't have a freezer so Graham tackled the task, whilst Peter went back to collect Dianne, Heidi and the baked potatoes, with a stab to the head before splitting the lobsters for the grill. If you've never tried this, it is tricky work and not great fun (less so for the lobsters) but Graham had the additional pressure of one of the Kuna Indians standing beside him, watching the process with polite interest; he was delighted to take away the long front feelers (whether as a local delicacy or for use as dental picks, we don't know). Anyway, by the time the rest of the crew returned, the lobsters were ready for the BBQ, with a marinade of butter, garlic, herbs and lime and were absolutely delicious.
There are three families living on Uchutupu Pipigua (which is only 100 metres by 350 metres, completely flat and full of palm trees) and as we were cooking the meal about 8 children, from a few months old to about 15, arrived to check us out. Heidi was well prepared and had brought some little exercise books and a pack of coloured pencil so they were delighted with these. They were also keen to have their photos taken and to see the images on the cameras so we're going to take some prints ashore for them today. We got the clear impression that these islanders take great care of their home – the inevitable flotsam and jetsam on the windward coast is gathered and burned – and were happy for us to be there after we'd taken the trouble to introduce ourselves and check that it was ok. Life is incredibly simple on the island; there's a fresh water well but, apart from seafood and abundant coconuts, everything needed to live needs to be brought from the mainland or the bigger islands so we were asked by the older girls if we had any shampoo to spare (so we've searched out some little hotel bottles to take over).
All in all it was a pretty wonderful evening and the bottle of St Emilion (a birthday gift from Stromvogel) was enjoyed as the sun went down.

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