2018 brought change. Most of the story isn’t relevant here but one piece is, and that is that I have a new galley. April I saw the boat for the first time, May was sea trials and surveys and 6 June she was mine.
I arrived on board fresh from a flight Sydney to Hobart at 10.30 on a winter morning, excited and nervous. I was planning to spend the next four days and nights getting to know my new home. I looked around, faced the galley and realised that all that I had on board was 6 wine glasses and 6 mugs.
I turned around and headed for the shops immediately. First I had to find the shops – I didn’t know Hobart then – and on the way I was making a mental shopping list. Tea, coffee, sugar, milk, kettle, blankets, sheets, pillows, frying pan, saucepan, cheese, beans, wine…
The first shop I found was an Indian spice shop so, of course, I bought red lentils, mungbean lentils and packs of spices. Then I found a department store and a supermarket and bought those things that were actually on my list. Back to the boat and I started to feather my new nest.
Preparing for an 8 month cruise from Panama to New Zealand involves a lot of planning and a lot of food shopping.
April to November = 244 days = 732 meals for two, plus snacks and entertaining.
I had kept a food diary for the four weeks between Margarita and Bonaire. We were sailing between the small offshore islands of Venezuela which were uninhabited other than small fishing camps and so this was an opportunity to test my provisioning skills.
I analysed the meals by ingredients and came up with the quantities of all of the staples we would need to see us through – then added contingency. It made an overwhelming list, 25 tins of tomato, 12 kg of flour, 5 jars of English mustard, 48 loo rolls.
Neither Colon or Panama City were safe places to walk around in 2002 but jumping in a taxi to the supermarket was reasonable and so that is what we did. On the way into town we would share a taxi with friends but we each needed our own taxi back to the Flamenco anchorage. Loading the taxi we didn’t need to give directions “gringos with groceries” only had one destination.
When we started cruising I made the classic mistake of anxiously provisioning for our first trip as if we would not see another shop for the next six months. It didn’t take long for us to realise that where there are people there is generally food for sale. However, some food are more ubiquitous than others.
Soy sauce, and Worcester sauce (aka Worcestershire sauce and salsa Inglesa) seemed to be available in even the most remote islands. On the other hand peanut butter, cheese and English mustard are tradeable in many places and, if they are to your taste, stock up on the Marmite and Vegemite.