Some holidays are not relaxing and you arrive home just grateful to have survived.
When I was a teenager some friends of my parents thought it would be a fabulous idea for us to go away with them and another family for a week on three boats we would hire from a company in Akuna Bay. I’m not sure a lot of thought went into the idea, the instigator being an Ideas Man who would act first and think later, much later.
One Saturday morning in January we met down at Akuna Bay and each family was shown aboard a boat, handed the keys and told we could take off. The problem with the boat we were given is that it was filthy and there was a terrible smell coming up from the bilges of rotten fish and diesel. My father went back to the office and brought the issues to their attention and they said, ‘Well don’t worry, we have another boat you can have, it will just be a few minutes’. So we packed up everything we had unpacked and waited for the replacement boat.
Meanwhile the other two families took off in their boats and were almost rounding the first bend when the steering broke in one of the boats. The boat ended up on the other side of the bay tangled in bushes and they had to be towed back to Akuna Bay and wait until the steering was fixed.
We were shown the replacement boat and took off to the bay where Ideas Man had told us to meet. The only problem was that by the time we arrived all the moorings had been taken so we had to anchor. The boat with the new steering quickly joined us and he also had to throw down the anchor because of the lack of moorings. Mission accomplished we hopped into the dinghies and rowed over to Ideas Man’s boat where we were enjoying a few drinks until my father noticed that the boat with the replacement steering was now drifting into the distance. There was a mad scramble to retrieve the disappearing boat and the father, (with no boating experience) rowed over to it, jumped on board, threw the engine into reverse and reversed over his dinghy.
We started out with three dinghies but now had two between 15 of us. Somehow, in all the confusion, Ideas Man lost his boat hooks so we started out with six but now only had four and they lost a camera as well and can’t explain how any of that happened.
And then it rained. And it rained for a few days.
And then one of the boats ran out of water so they had to go back to Akuna Bay for a refill and alerted the company running the hire boat business that perhaps they should re-stock the boats between occupancies.
On the last day Ideas Man thought it would be a great to leave the calm and gentle waters in the secluded bay area and head out into the open water where around a few bends there was another beach we could visit. We spent the morning there and were heading back when my father noticed the engine was ‘missing’ every now and then. We were coming around a point in very rough seas when the spluttering stopped. We had run out of petrol. And we had run out because the boat had been given to us in great haste and had not been re-fueled.
The tide was going out, the swell was increasing and there was every chance the drifting boat was going to capsize. My father threw over the anchor and somehow it managed to to reach the ocean floor and hold the boat in its precarious position. We all had to put on our life jackets and my father threw a rope into the water and told us that if it does capsize, jump overboard and hang on to the rope.
I was looking into the water and wondering if when the time came for me to jump in whether I would be eaten by a great white shark because I had a feeling that directly beneath me was where they liked to congregate to ease their appetites. And if I didn’t get mauled by a shark on my way to the Point, would I instead be smashed against the rocks?
There were no radios on board so we stayed in that position crashing up and down with each enormous wave and hanging on to the side of the boat for dear life. One of the boats in our party said they would go back to Akuna Bay and get the company to come out and rescue us. They took off and we waited and we waited and no one came. Another boat came around the point and saw us in great distress and he had a radio and called the company who said they had sent someone to get us but he was hiding around the corner as didn’t want to come any closer because ‘It’s too dangerous. The sea’s too rough’.
When we realised the company that had handed us a boat with near-empty petrol tanks had no intention of rescuing us the man in the boat with the radio called the Water Police who said they’d be there as soon as they could. This kind and caring man stayed with us, circling our boat and getting ready to perform a rescue if necessary. The Water Police did eventually arrive. They towed us to calmer waters, put some petrol in the tank and followed us back to Akuna Bay making sure we made it.
We handed in the keys to the boat and returned to our car to discover it had a flat tyre.
After a harrowing week at sea it’s wonderful to come home to a comforting home-cooked meal. Here’s a high protein meal for those who are energy drained.
Poached Chicken Salad
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: This is not a cheap family meal because free-range chicken, quality pesto and organic quinoa are not inexpensive ingredients. This salad would be cheaper if you bought processed chicken, pesto in a jar and blended it with pasta instead of quinoa.
- 1 kg chicken breasts
- 1 onion
- 20 black peppercorns
- tsp salt
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups quinoa
- 2 tbspns olive oil
- 2 tbspns lemon juice
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
- 3/4 cup pesto
- 1 handful green beans, trimmed
- 1 handful snowpeas, trimmed
In a medium sized saucepan filled with simmering water add chicken breasts, onion, peppercorns and salt and simmer for five minutes. Turn off water and allow to rest for 15-20 mins. Strain, shred chicken and keep warm. Add olive oil, lemon juice, nuts and pesto and stir to combine.
Heat chicken stock in a medium-sized saucepan until boiling. Add quinoa, simmer covered with a lid for 15 mins. Remove from heat.
In a medium-sized saucepan bring a small amount of salted water to the boil. Add beans. 3 Minutes later add snow peas. After a minute drain.
In a large mixing bowl combine quinoa, chicken mixture, pesto and peas and beans.
Serve on heated plates.
This recipe has been adapted from a recipe found in the June edition of Delicious.
Want to stay in touch? Join the fun on the Hotly Spiced Facebook page!