3/10/2012 – Who’d a thunk it?

I used to get all up on my high horse about boaters that thought they needed to have a microwave oven onboard. I mean, c’mon, Joshua Slocum didn’t need a microwave did he? Nor did Bernard Moitessier, the Pardeys, or any other of a number of iconic sailors from my mass of sailing and cruising books. What the hell are they good for? You can’t use them when you’re on battery power which should be most of the time. They just take up space that could better be used for something more worthy.

Bet you’ve already guessed where this is going.

On a number of occasions over the last couple years that we’ve been living on Siempre Sabado, Lulu has mentioned in passing that a microwave would sure be handy right about now. This is usually when we’re trying to figure out how to reheat some leftovers. We could try to reheat them in the oven but what a waste of propane that is. Heat the whole oven up to reheat a couple of servings of macaroni and cheese? I don’t think so. I’ve tried just putting the leftovers in a greased pan on the stove and that sort of works but, if the leftovers are in a loaf form (like a slab of lasagna) the center never gets warm before the pan has become a sticky mess. Works OK if you break up the slab but that takes away from the aesthetic of the food as far as I’m concerned. We’ve had some luck by using a steamer basket in a saucepan. Put the leftovers on the steamer and a little water in the bottom of the pan. It takes awhile but eventually everything is pretty much heated through without burning in the saucepan. But have you ever tried cleaning melted cheese and noodle orts from the holes in the collapsible leaves in a steamer? Not fun.

Besides my prejudice against the “un-saltiness” of a microwave, where the hell would we put it? This tiny boat is already pretty darn full. We don’t have room for no stinking microwave.

But what if we did?

Sure would make reheating stuff a snap. And, whenever we’re tied to a dock, which we are about a third of the year, we have all the 120 VAC power we could ask for. And then there’s microwave popcorn. Now, nuked popcorn is definitely NOT my favorite. However, because regular popcorn is kind of a hassle, we don’t have it very often. When we do, the deal is that Lulu makes the popcorn and then I wash the pan up before we go to bed since the smell of leftover popcorn in the morning sort of turns her stomach. Well, having to wash a big ol’ greasy pot kind of takes the joy out of a bowl of popcorn so we only have it when we really want it. Compared to that, microwave popcorn tastes pretty darn good.

But still, where would we put it?

This is where small boat creativity and a “of course we can” attitude comes into its own. Lulu doesn’t ask for much and she would certainly go on living without a microwave without too much complaint for many years to come. But, if this is all it’d take to make her happy, maybe I could try to think a little outside the box. And, of course, there is that microwave popcorn to think about. So I started looking around.

There’s a bookcase mounted up above the stove which, I suppose I could take down. We could find somewhere to put the books and hang the microwave up there. Be kind of a hassle but it is doable. Or maybe relocate the SSB radio. No, wait, the opening there isn’t tall enough. We could maybe try to relocate the books in the shelf alongside Lulu’s seat at the settee. The space would be big enough but there are a lot of books to find a new home for. In a pinch, we could probably dismantle the stereo and mount the separate components elsewhere. There is definitely some wasted space there. Maybe.

We decided to go to the store, see how big the microwaves were and then see what we could figure out.

Our first stop was Mega Foods which, like most of the supermercados around here carries a lot more than groceries. The smallest microwave, about 0.7 cu.ft., looked like it could fit. It was nine hundred and some pesos which was like seventy-some dollars. Enough that we decided to look around a little more.

Next stop was Wal*Mart. Here we found a GE that was the same small size for around eighty dollars. Next to it was a Daewoo for closer to sixty dollars. Same size. We decided to get the Daewoo.

Once we got back to the boat, the fitting began. I had been keeping my ace-in-the-hole to myself until I saw how things looked. Turned out that the far and away easiest place to put the new horno de microonda was on top of our clothes locker, which is right next to the galley. There’s a 120 V plug-in right there and, although we had stuff to move, it was all relatively small and easily dividable. The old “divide and conquer” approach. Moved Lulu’s Ukulele a little, removed a never-used kerosene lamp, relocated a bunch of books and voilá.


Believe it or not, there was stuff filling pretty much every square inch of space that the microwave is now filling. And it all went someplace else. It’s sort of weird how this happens. Sort of like how Lulu can always get everything that needs to be refrigerated into the fridge, even though it was already full when she started.

I don’t feel too bad about finally caving and getting a microwave. It’ll save a lot of propane when we’re tied to the dock and, when we’re at anchor, since we end up running our generator every couple of days to supplement the solar charging, we can use the microwave even at anchor. At least every couple of days.

So, of course we had to celebrate our new purchase.


Dinner tonight was a joint effort. I made Chorizo-Stuffed Poblano Peppers and Lulu made a vegetable mixture. Lately, instead of just steaming the vegetables and then loading on the butter, salt and pepper (not that there’s anything wrong with that), she’s started sautéing the vegetables in olive oil along with mushrooms and onions. The onions get caramelized and sweet and the mushrooms lend that nice earthiness. So good.


Too bad there isn’t any left to reheat in the microwave.


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About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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23 Responses to 3/10/2012 – Who’d a thunk it?

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Congratulations! Don’t forget to use the cavity space inside the microwave. We made a clear plexiglass insert that now is our kitchen “junk” drawer and is easily pulled out when we need to nuke some popcorn or leftovers.

  2. SailVivacia says:

    Wow, Elizabeth beat me to the punch. I was going to tell you I’m glad you moved to WordPress, but I see she already replied to the post about the microwave. I think this is cool, because she is in Annapolis while I stayed here in San Diego to work on boat projects. Obviously, I won’t have to tell her about the new site.

    I’m still working on the “back issues” of the blog, but I do have to stay current as well. Your posts are always entertaining, and for those of us who can’t wait to get to Mexico, very, very informative. I’m hoping we can hook up with you in the Sea this summer.

    • sryoder says:

      Thanks for following along. We’ll be looking for you this summer. We’ll be the ones with the big bowl of popcorn and nice hot leftovers.

      -Steve

  3. rod y says:

    a couple more margaritas and you can free up some counter space.

    • sryoder says:

      Margaritas, bah! We drink our tequila straight, the way our saintly old white-haired mothers taught us to. But looking at the photo, I see what you mean.

      -Steve

      • rod y says:

        It was a happy day for me too when I discovered good tequila. But:
        2 oz tequlia
        1 1/2 oz orange liqueur
        1 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
        on the rocks (is that a problem on a boat?)
        is very refreshing (and is what I served Lulu last Summer).

      • sryoder says:

        Yeah, ice on our boat is an issue. Once in awhile we’ll buy a bag of ice and keep it in our tiny ice chest but it’s gone by the end of the evening if not before. And we don’t have a freezer so iced drinks are definitely not the norm for us.

  4. Joan/Raymond Yoder says:

    How many silver hair Mothers do you know? This one does not “do” tequila. Love, Mom

  5. Jim Coyote Dane says:

    Steve,
    It is not nice to rub your mother the wrong way. She can say it is blond and you say “how nice I love it Mom.” 😉

  6. Dani says:

    YEAH! I love popcorn…I totally can see a use for a microwave when you have shore power so often. You can also now cook baked potatoes easily.
    Dani

  7. Dave and Marj says:

    Well, I would never have thunk it, but never too surprised at anything you post that has to do with food. Can you put a molcahete in the microwave? Hope we catch up with you this summer in the Sea for some popcorn.
    Dave: S/V Kievit

  8. F eye says:

    I do not think the picture on your page represents your style and the life you live. Please change it to a more “Yoder” look. Thank you … F eye

  9. Found you! so glad you moved over to wordpress. Now maybe I can get your updates. Keep eating that popcorn and you’ll be plenty ‘salty’, microwave or not. BTW, those peppers look divine!

  10. F eye says:

    Seems to me that if the header picture included ….Different Beer Bottles…. Tequila…. Food…Rope work… Boat…. I just hate to picture you lazing in that pool like you are all retired and such…. Supermarket pic would be cool… buildings…. Ok… so I am bored for a moment… Micro was a real good idea….

    • F eye says:

      Actually the above are some good ideas!

      • sryoder says:

        Photo changed as requested. Until I can take one with cheese melting over the gunwales and beer cans hanging from macraméd nets on the lifelines, this one will have to do. It’s a little more “us” than the other photo was.

  11. F eye says:

    Now that is a cool pic. I knew I was good for something….

  12. bud elkin says:

    Nearly at the end of your blogs, but thought I might add my 2 cents to the microwave and assorted electrical appliances on a 28′ boat! Here is an article I wrote about such things.

    To keep a wife on a boat: give her the Comforts of home
    Bud elkin

    I have read many sailing blogs about a man and his wife/significant other selling out and going cruising. Some do not completely sell everything, but going cruising is there goal. I’m not sure that anyone has the perfect formula to make the jump from modern society to the cruising life, but there is no lack of articles from those who have done it.
    When I was young, the minimalist idea was never a bother. Since I am older now I can see the choice is still clear, but the methods have changed. When I was young, I would take a 19’ boat out off shore for days and think nothing of it. I intentionally sailed out into a hurricane on the east coasts of Florida just for the rush of it. So, I do qualify as being crazy enough to try anything. But, to keep a wife/significant other on a boat for any length of time, and especially keep her happy, you might consider the Comforts of Home.

    I have a wife that I have been with for 41 years, and two daughters who love to sail as well. My daughters are tough, love to sail, and have traveled the world. They have hiked the Andes, ran on the Great Wall of China, been to Antarctica, rowed down the Amazon in a dugout canoe, and have eaten piranha for lunch. They are planning to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro within the next couple of years. I taught them both to work on cars, built houses, and my wife taught them to cook, clean, sew, and any other aspect of keeping a house. I did not want to make them boys, but I never wanted them to be at the mercy of one either. Knowledge is everything.

    If you want to make a boat more female compatible, you might think about doing what I did. Although the minimalist will cringe at my ideas of comfort, I feel that cruising does not have to be a camping adventure. There is enough adventure in cruising without the need to rough it. This is not to say that some women do not like roughing it, but that they are more able to make a home out of their surroundings.

    I have an Aloha 28 with lots of storage. The Aloha was built in Canada and is more than adequate to handle the Florida waters and the Caribbean let alone tropical storms and at least one hurricane I can personally vouch for. I like the molded in keel because if I had a bolt on keel it would probably leak from all of the sandbars I tend to find. We have a Yanmar 2GM20FC diesel engine to power us, which can go forever on a gallon of fuel. I would prefer a larger boat, but due to my heart health, and the mobility of the A28, I am content with “FREE WILLY.” I didn’t name the boat!

    Some of our comforts are granite counter-tops, two burner propane stove, microwave, electric refrigerator, running water, electric flush head with a Purasan waste treatment, memory foam mattress, matching dishes and napkins with gold trimmed silverware, color coordinated boat interior, 1350 AH battery bank, 3000 WH inverter, air conditioning, solar panels, wind and water generator, autopilot, gas generator, radar and more. My current system keeps up with our electrical needs. There are more items, but my point is that your wife will stay longer if she has the comforts of home. The investment was not much. I have little to no failures after two years, and my wife has not jumped ship. I believe women are capable of much more than man thinks. For example: I have had several heart attacks, which were painful, but I could not imagine how painful childbirth is.

    I am not a minimalist as you can tell, and I anchor out. The boat takes care of its self very well while we sit back and enjoy the sunsets. I say if you are going to go for it, you might consider making it comfortable enough that you do not feel as if you are on a constant survivalist camp out. You save tons of money by not having to go to marinas for decent comforts. A block of ice is camping not cruising.

    • sryoder says:

      Thanks Bud. I think we fall somewhere in between your Aloha and the minimalist side although we are actually somewhere to the Aloha side of middle on that line. Our battery bank is only a third as large as yours (where the heck do you store that much battery power?), no air conditioning, no radar, no wind or water generator (although I sort of lust after a wind generator), or electric head. We’re pretty satisfied with what we have although more electrical storage and generation capability would be definite plusses. Thanks again for the article. Feel free to e-mail any other hints directly at theyodersatearthlinkdotnet.

      -Steve

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