Galley Wench Tales

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

cruiser sailboat
Incommunicado, a Pearson 365 in the Willis’ back yard — for now.
Actually, in our experience, Allen and Michelle Willis’ boat name is a misnomer, at least when they’re in town.  Another fellow Pearson 365 owner (click here to read about another awesome encounter with another Pearson owner, and click here to read about our connecting in the Caribbean with Journey’s former owner) Allen dropped by within a few days of our Jacksonville arrival and gave us a wonderfully warm welcome.

allen willis of incommunicado
Allen in his workshop


Not only did Allen and Michelle happily share a wealth of local resources, we spent a delightful day together.  It started with a trip into St. Augustine to ogle the oddities at Sailor’s Exchange (click here to get a gander of Sailor’s Exchange). 
When we returned, we toured the Willis’s Pearson 365 sailboat, Incommunicado.  It’s on a trailer in their side yard, undergoing a loving restoration.  In particular, we envied Incommunicado‘s well-insulated, repartitioned refrigerator freezer.  Michelle wowed us with her clear mapping of all Incommunicado’s nooks and crannies, as well as her provisioning spreadsheet and her organizational approach.  Watch for a future praising Allen and Michelle prowess.
Michelle and her puppy, Bella by Incommunicado.
Then Allen and Michelle taught me how to make one of their favorite shrimp dishes, the details of which became progressively fuzzy, as we we worked our way from beer, to Michelle’s special orange-infused rum, wine, and a series of incredibly delicious intensely fruit-infused “o-cellos” that are halfway between a sweet liquer and white lightening.  Let’’s just say none of us were all that bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next day.
All that was before Wayne went on graveyard shift, with a mostly 6-day work-week, with spare time in vampire hours.  That seriously cut into our social planning ability with anyone more than a stone’s throw from where we’re docked at Ortega Landing Marina.
A project conspired to bring us back together.  First, a bit of background….
pearson 365 ketch companionway with air conditioner
This air conditioner cooled our boat but straddling it
got me hot & bothered — not in a good way!
It’s not that unusual for Jacksonville reach to heat a heat index of 107F in the summer. Boats are not well insulated, so since we’re plugged into an electrical source at the marina, we placed an air conditioner (ac) in our companionway. That meant for months, I ungraciously straddled its height and width every time I got into and out of our boat.  For Wayne’s longer legs, this was not such a big deal.  However, it also meant the ac was the furthest point from where Wayne tried to sleep, during the heat of the day, due to his graveyard shift.  We wanted to move the ac over the center of our boat, but it needed a box to hold it into place, recirculate the air, and keep the rain out.
Allen, about halfway through moving our ac over Journey’s
center hatch on a sweltering Jacksonville afternoon.  Wayne
slept through the installation!
Allen generously provided materials, labor and more importantly, know-how to build a box that fit a twin to his boat.  With a few tweaks… it worked!
That didn’t surprise me. Wayne and Allen are Pearson forumregulars (Galley Wench Tales is one of the blogs Allen follows).  When asked for blog feedback, Allen begged for more mechanical and technical posts from Wayne on the blog; alas Allen thus far appears to be the only survey respondent requesting that (click here give your input to the survey to improve GalleyWenchTales blog).  Sorry Allen.
Happily, the ac project got us around to coordinating a time to meet up again.  This time, Allen and Michelle taught me how to cook cracked conch (pound the s— out of it first), which had languished in our freezer.  It was delish!  Well worth making an “I never eat fried foods” exception.

We’re hoping we’ll cruise together this coming year in the Bahamas.  We can hardly wait, even though we’re still trying to figure out how to repay Allen and Michelle for all their generosity.