Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

The folks from Marine Resources Council, a highly productive
Florida conservation group used this in their newsletter.

In Thanksgivings past, split shifts and distant lands made for different Thanksgivings for Wayne and me

  • Last year, on Thanksgiving day I was startled on my kayak by a ‘gator (or maybe it was a manatee — I’ll never know for sure). 
  • Three years ago, off an unpopulated Australian Island, we and our cruising friends scraped our larders and the result was Chinese. And we saw pink dolphins! We’re still in touch with those friends, who we’ve seen several times since returning to the States, on both coasts.
  • Four years ago we’d just arrived in New Zealand. A yacht club kindly hosted their best guess at a US Thanksgiving dinner, which they mostly got right. It wasn’t a family-style Thanksgiving with the usually gluttony, but we appreciated the effort and best of all, the friends we broke bread with. We’re still in touch with those friends.
  • Seven years ago, we introduced our Slovenian cruising friends to Thanksgiving in the Caribbean country of Antigua. We are still in regular contact.
  • Many years ago traveling in Australia for Thanksgiving, since I couldn’t have turkey, I ate kangaroo (yes, they are the national symbol but there’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 34 million of them and they taste a lot like London Broil and are lean, healthy meat).
  • When I first moved to the Pacific Northwest, and there was no family nearby, I joyfully embraced the tradition of “orphan’s Thanksgivings,” shared with friends. “Friends are the family you choose” is the motto displayed at a friend’s home; we whole-heartedly agree.

Multnomah Falls, less than an hour’s drive,
visited shortly after returning to roost here.

In between, our Thanksgivings have been more traditional, though sometimes started late or cut short by work obligations (retail and the airlines are serving others on Thanksgiving). Overall, there have been fewer, rather than more of those in much of my adult life.

My parents embraced the “orphan’s Thanksgiving” concept the year they invited the immigrant Russian students they taught English as a second language. I remember at the end of the meal, my Mom served Earl Gray tea. 

“This is really good! What is this?” exclaimed one of the guests. “Earl Gray tea,” my Mom replied. “I need to see the package and find out exactly where you bought it,” our guest countered.

Then, it dawned on me. I imagined this woman, likely used to meager tea options if any, going into Fred Meyers, trying to pick this particular tea out from probably 50 options. And nearly every grocery item she was shopping for would be like that. How overwhelming that must be.

And how complacent we are in this land of plenty. That is the norm for us – whatever we want, whenever we want it. And today, quite likely delivered to our doorstep.

This year, we’re spending the morning at a friend’s Thanksgiving brunch. Sometime this afternoon, we’ll join Wayne’s folks for family time, football, and of course the traditional Thanksgiving feast, with turkey and trimmings. We haven’t had cable tv for many years, so for Wayne, watching football will be a rare treat. Then we’ll return to where we’re house-sitting, to enjoy some good kitty love, and some time off our boat.

The aptly-name boat Serendipity, a boat given to our by friends. It is our home now. Earlier this year we took our home to this incredible spot, Princess Louisa Inlet.

We have much to be grateful for. We are happy, healthy. We live aboard a boat given to us. We’re able to spend the holiday with each other, friends and family. It is no longer an option to share Thanksgiving with my parents, though they are most certainly with us in spirit. 

We’ve also loved our wayward Thanksgivings. There’s something delicious about spending a holiday on the hook with fellow cruisers, making do with what’s at hand. The celebration is of a life well-lived, amongst those we love spending time with.

This Thanksgiving, we look forward to spending it with friends and family and the usual traditions.

We also trust there will be adventures ahead.

We wish you the very best Thanksgiving this year and every year, wherever and however you spend it. 

Location Location
Our boat in Jantzen Bay. We are currently house-sitting in Portland, OR.