An offseason kayaking trip to Henry Island pairs well with some delicious dishes.

Splish, splash, splish, splash is the recurring rhythmic sound emanating from my paddle blade as it dips into the cool water. I pull the blade along the side of the kayak and feel the muscles in my shoulders work a little too hard, so I remind myself to also push with my upper hand. It’s really not about how fast I’m paddling, but the time spent enjoying the moment.

Well, perhaps we’re racing. We departed Roche Harbor late in the afternoon and, without headlamps, we don’t want to be caught out in the dark. The tide is in our favor as we pass close by the banks of Bazalgette Point before we head across Mosquito Pass to then glide through the narrow inside channel between Pole Island and the gravel spit. Having navigated the trickiest section of our excursion, I take a leisurely cruise along the west side of Henry Island on the lookout for a couple of otters I’d spotted loping along the beach last week.

Henry Island is two islands. Big Henry to the west and Little Henry to the east, connected by a saltwater marsh to create the letter “H”. The isthmus was folded into San Juan Preservation Trusts preserve system in 2015 and is called Henry Island Preserve. Small watercraft landings are permitted on the beach at Mosquito Pass, and Open Bay on the south side of the isthmus. We’d enjoyed anchoring in Open Bay during our summer expeditions and, although the bay is open to the south, it offered good holding and a great departure point for our exits out the strait to the ocean. With too little time to kayak there today, I’m hoping we can hike the trail from our beach landing at Mosquito Pass to its delightful rocky beach. We’ve got some tasty and exotic fare to heat up in our portable “galley” which would make a splendid meal on any beach!

Landing on the beach at Mosquito Pass on Henry Island.


Earlier in the week I’d had a craving for something nutritious and soul warming with a hint of exotic, and a combination of lentils, brown rice, and barley fit the call. Lentils have a lot going for them and they’re right up there with their legume cousins of black beans and chickpeas for being one my favorite plant-based sources of protein. They pair well with chewy nutty brown rice and the widely versatile ancient cereal grain barley so I’d chosen to cook a double batch of Middle Eastern Lentil Stew, as this recipe works well as a base for a variety of meals.

3 cups water

½ cup barley

½ cup lentils

½ cup brown rice

½ cup raisins or currants

½ cup mint – chopped

2 onions – chopped

2 garlic cloves – chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 teaspoon cumin

2 t sugar

½ teaspoon cardamom

salt and pepper

Sauté onions and garlic, add remaining ingredients except raisins, mint and salt and pepper. Pressure cook 15 minutes or simmer 40 minutes. Add raisins and mint, season to taste.


Whether you spell it kefta, köfte or kufte or some other variation, these tasty meatballs create a great team with Middle Eastern Lentil Stew to offer a hearty meal. 

1 large egg

½ cup panko 

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

2 tablespoons plus ½ cup olive oil

1½ teaspoons salt

1 garlic clove – crushed

1 lb. ground lamb

Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425°F. In a large bowl add all the ingredients then using your hands, mash the mixture together until evenly combined. Gently roll lamb mixture into 1½-inch diameter balls (golf ball size to makes about 20). Place on a rimmed baking sheet, spacing evenly apart. Bake, turning once, until browned and cooked through, 12 minutes.


This quick-to-pull-together healthy slaw provides a refreshing irresistible tangy crunch for a light lunch or side dish.

1 lb fresh broccoli 

1 apple – diced

1 cup golden raisins

¾ cups walnuts – toasted

1/3 cup purple onion – diced

1/3 cup yogurt

1/3 cup nut milk 

2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon maple syrup

½ teaspoon sea salt

Slice the broccoli florets into bite size pieces, then dice the stalks into smaller pieces. Add apple, raisins, walnuts and onion. In a small mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients to create a dressing. Combine dressing with salad.

Dinner is ready to start but we’d best first read the stove directions.


2020 has been the year of the staycation but there’s a never-ending allure to adventure. I could have heated up our dinner at home and brought it to the beach in a thermos but the act of bringing our MSR Windboiler stove meant that we were on a mission…even if it was only to refresh our memory on how to light the stove; thankfully we’d bought the directions. Dinner was a success, and a slice of scrumptious sultana cake highlighted the outing. 

Sultana cake and fruitcakes have always had a strong tie to my sailing adventures. Summer holidays Down Under revolve around Christmas and a sailing trip or Sydney-Hobart Race wouldn’t be complete without leftover Christmas cake stashed away in a locker ready to be served with a cuppa. While in Fremantle during the Whitbread Race on Maiden, Christmas cakes came flooding down to the boat as folks felt sorry we’d be spending Christmas at sea. So generous were the bakers of these cakes that we made a news announcement that we couldn’t possibly accept any more. And when Mike, our first Kiwi expedition member, joined Mahina Tiare for the passage from Hawaii to Seattle he came toting a sultana cake his wife Karen had made for the passage. What a sport! I reckon sultana cake is as symbolic to us Kiwis as brownies are to Americans.

2 ½ cups flour

2 ¼ cups sultanas, raisins, and dried cranberries

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup butter – softened

3 eggs

2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

Boil sultanas in water, then simmer 7 minutes, strain, add butter and almond extract, then cool. Beat sugar and eggs together. Sift flour and baking powder into sultanas, add to eggs. Bake 75 minutes at 300°F. Keeps for 1 month wrapped wax paper then newspaper.

Passing the gravel spit at Pole Island.