Adventuring Author: logbook of a sea cook (part 1)

(This is the second post of my sea cook adventure. For the first post, please go here.)


I’m not sure what sea cooks of old planned for meals, but I’m betting it wasn’t PB&Js, pot pies, or fettucini pasta. I’m also betting sea cooks didn’t keep log books. I like to break the rules.

Day 1 aboard the A’la carte:

We spent the morning studying sea charts and looking at weather. Unfortunately, we were advised not to travel far out to sea as we’d planned because of high winds and what’s called a “confused sea” (which is code for ‘instant seasickness for the sea cook’.) The A’la carte remained in port the entire day and we slept on the boat.


The day was spent provisioning and rethinking our course. Provisioning a ship for a 2-week voyage is a lot easier in the year 2013 with a food mart down the road, but everything had to fit in a two square foot box (i.e. boat fridge.)

Sea Cook #1 (my sister) and sea cook #2 (me) impressed the men with our packing skills, though they might be less impressed when they find the loaf of bread stowed above the sink in the bathroom (we ran out of cupboard room.) As long as they get their sandwiches at noon, they shouldn’t complain.

Day 2 aboard the A’la carte:

Bon voyage, Charleston!

We set out to sea, sailing south along the coast. Though we avoided the ‘confused sea’, we still sailed (wisely) in 25-30kt winds (about 28-35mph) through 9-foot swells (aka. waves.) If you’re not sure what that means or what that’s like, imagine being on an unstable up-and-down roller-coaster all day long, tilted on one side…in a box. Now try cooking while you’re doing that. Voila! Life as a sea cook!


Okay, not quite this dramatic…

The captain continued to reassure me that, “This boat is built to cross the ocean. It’s made for this type of sailing.” Well, I’m unsure this author is meant for this type of sailing. I spent some good quality time with the toilet, but I haven’t been sick since.

Once we decided to set out, we started the 3-day, 24/7 sail to the Bahamas, staying along the Florida coast. My shift at the helm was from 10pm-midnight. It was a bit exhilarating being the only one awake, staring at the night-blackened sails and the glowing orange coastline off the horizon.


That is my log thus far. Currently, as this post is published, we are out to sea. The weather is a lot colder than we’d expected, so the bikinis just aren’t cutting it. Instead, we are wearing every layer we packed and sleeping under three blankets.

NaNoWriMo has gone out the window for me (ever tried typing on a boat?), but the inspiration is certainly flowing! I’m already planning some sort of ship scene in a future novel. For those who are not trapped on 44 feet in the Atlantic, what adventures have you embarked upon this week? How are you NaNoWriMo-ers holding up?



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About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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