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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Oz: Eating Bugs with Locals

Brisbane BotanicGardens' steamy tropical conservatory.  Queensland, Australia.  Local Ozzies  Helene and Steve graciously brought Wayne and me there.  Mt Coot-tha, Brisbane, Australia.
Ok, I will admit my open-mindedness at trying unusual foods goes well beyond most.

Nonetheless - in this case the "bugs" are not fried crickets, chocolate-covered ants or even Bardi grubs (the two latter I have tried and were actually pretty tasty; admittedly, I'd be willing to try crickets, too).  

Moreton Bay "bugs"  - in yet another instance of cheeky, chronic word-shortening Ozzie lexicon, are actually little lobsters.


Moreton Bay Bugs.  Not the prettiest lobsters, but pretty darned tasty.
Gordon Yearsly photo from www.australiantropicalfoods.com website.
Only Moreton Bay bug's body under the carapace tail is edible.  Fortunately for us carnivores, these flathead lobsters (as they're also known) are mostly tail.  Like Caribbean lobsters, I found them more flavorful and less rubbery than Maine lobster, which I consider a bit bland (and rubbery -- more a vehicle for butter than a morsel tasty in its own right).  

Besides, we were in Moreton, and Wayne's much more willing to try local food when proffered by a local.






More strange than "eating bugs" is the way we met "the locals," Helene and her husband Steve....  


Steve, Helene and their grand-daughter, Arianna.  Brisbane locals
and delightful hosts.  Image pilfered from Helene's Facebook album.

When we were living aboard our boat in Jacksonville Florida over hurricane season, neighboring live-aboard "Bertie" became a good friend.  Throughout our travels, whenever we've had wifi, we keep up on Facebook.  

Shortly after arriving in Oz, Bertie asked (via Facebook messenger), "Are you near my friend, Helene?  She lives in Australia."  A bit more back-and-forth over Facebook, and Helene and Steve were willing to make the drive out our way to  at Scarborough Marina, near Brisbane.  


Steve demonstrates his distilling set-up from his "man cave" in Brisbane.
We ate dinner aboard Journey, and "the boys" quickly realized they shared a common interest in making moonshine -- errr, distilling.  Steve was more than happy to take Wayne to his neighborhood brewing supply store, which was on our checklist of Brisbane errands.  Helene and Steve generously treated us to Moreton Bay bugs and local prawns at their place for supper.  

It's impossible not to become fast friends over homebrews and a hands-on meal like lobsters and prawns.  While Wayne admired Steve's still set-up, I had the pleasure of teaching Helene the fine art of guacamole-making (aka "guac").  Guac with tortilla chips was our appetizer and a pre-introduction to Mexican food before her upcoming trip to California.

















GWT's Guacamole Recipe

ingredients
3 avocados (preferably Haas), peeled and diced
2 t lime juice
1 t clove, finely grated (or more, to taste)
1/2 t salt
1 T finely grated onion
2 T sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1/2 finely chopped fresh jalapeno pepper (optional)
1 small fresh tomato, diced (optional)
2-3 T fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional)
preparation

Combine ingredients in the order listed. 
Stir briefly after adding each ingredient.
Serve with corn tortilla chips and salsa.


Helene.  Image pilfered from Helene's Facebook album.
After visiting California, Helene will also visit Portland, Oregon, our home town, and where Wayne's folks still live.  If Helene has time -- she's chaperoning a group of schoolkids -- she'll get a chance to meet with Wayne's folks when she's there.  She's also coming equipped with a full itinerary of options of fun stuff to do in the Portland area, beyond the already cool options her tour already includes.

"Funny," Bertie mused, via Facebook messenger.  "You've met my friend before I have!"




Bugs and prawns.  Classic Moreton Bay seafood.  Brisbane, Australia.




It's a strange yet wonderful world we live in - where Facebook friends lead to face-to-face ones, half a world away.  Thanks, Bertie.  And thanks, Helene and Steve.




Oh, and the "bugs" (and prawns) were delish and devoured by all with great relish.  We ate our with a squeeze of lemon and spicy cocktail sauce.  And a lot of paper towels.

Bertie, talented in all things creative, and
an all-around good friend.  Jacksonville, Florida.
Location Location
This is a relatively recent retrospective of our time at Scarborough Marina (S27.11.606 E153.06.370), Brisbane, Queensland territory, Australia, November 28-30, 2016.

We are currently at Camden Haven (S31.30.080 E152.48.094), New South Wales territory, a tuck-in due to stronger winds than we like sailing in on our way to Pittwater










Cruising By the Numbers
  • Our November 2016 sail from New Caledonia to Australia, 790 miles
  • Our September 2016 sail from Vanuatu to New Caledonia, 305 miles.
  • Our August 2016 sail from Fiji to Vanuatu, 525 miles.
  • We cruised just under 440 miles in Fiji, between late May and early August.  
  • Our May 2016 sail from New Zealand to Fiji, 1090 miles.
  • December 2015 - May 2016 if we weren't cruising New Zealand or hunkering, we were making massive road trips from New Zealand's tip to its tail.
  • From December 2014 - November 2015 we sailed from Northern Florida's Atlantic side to New Zealand, over 10,000 miles, with more than a few stops in between.
  • December 2013 - May 2014 we sailed 1792  miles from Jacksonville Florida to the Bahamas and back.
  • March 2012 we bought Journey in St. Lucia.  September 2012 we moved aboard, did some boat work, then sailed her to Jacksonville Florida by June 2013, 3762 miles.

Up Next
We’re on our way to Pittwater, near Sydney  for pre-sale boat work, ~122 nautical miles left. Weather -- or the lure of Port Stephens, may prompt us to stop along the way.