Provisioning Throwback Thursday
Throwback Thursday: Let the Provisioning Begin!Thursday, May 22, 2014S.V. CAMBRIA
We spend six months of the year on the water and most of that time is in remote areas where communication with the outside world is difficult – which is exactly how we like it. And although that works well for us, it’s not particularly good for running a blog. In fact, one of the first things you learn in Blogging 101 is to post regularly. Sure. We could bite the bullet and set up a SailMail or Winlink account and transmit through our SSB, but that would only invite the outside world into our floating home and change one of the things we enjoy so much about cruising British Columbia – the solitude.
So, to get around the issue, I scheduled some of the more useful or interesting posts I wrote last year to go “live” twice a month on “Throwback Thursday” in case you missed them. This first one is from April 1, 2013 and is about provisioning for a long (or short) cruise.
We hope you enjoy!
|The first of several rounds of provisions.|
What works for me?
What’s on the list?
- Custom restrictions! Know what’s allowed and what’s not if you’ll be crossing a border.
- Buy big when you can. It can be very expensive to buy otherwise. In 2003, I saw a can of refried beans on a shelf in Tonga for NZ$11 (US$6 at the time).
- Know where you’re going. Prices vary from place to place. While it’s more expensive to provision in Canada than the US, it may not be elsewhere.
- Try not to provision any differently than you normally eat and stock up on any specialty items that you like . . . you may not be able to find them where you’re going.
- If the item isn’t marked, don’t assume parity. I spent CA$40 (US$38) last year on 12 cans of Coke and 2 pounds of hamburger before I knew it – about twice the cost in an average Canadian shop.
- Buy fruits and vegetables at various stages of ripeness.
- Spinach has a longer shelf life than iceberg or romaine lettuce (they also take up less space in the frig and are easier to store).
- In many larger ports, grocery stores will deliver to the marina or harbor. You can ask around or check your cruising guides for local information.
- If you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to ask locals for help. One of our friends was in need of alcohol for his marine stove and couldn’t find any at the local hardware store. As luck would have it, another customer in the store had two gallons sitting in her garage that she wanted to get rid of. She drove our friend to her home, gave him the alcohol (free of charge), and drove him back to the marina. It was a win-win situation for them both.
- I remove everything from its box and all dry goods go into airtight containers or Ziplock bags. Insects like to lay their eggs in boxes, which also hold moisture, and bags take up less space and are easier to stow. They’re also more compact and take up less space in the trash bin!
- Place similar items in the same area for easier access.
- Fruits and vegetables last longer if you allow air flow – hammocks are great for this and the Green Bags really work!
- Bay leaves in powdered goods like sugar and flour can help prevent weevils.
- Keep heavy items low and aft in the boat, if possible.
- Bilges are great for storing things that do better in a cooler environment but don’t need refrigeration like cheese and butter. We have a hydronic heating system aboard which carries piped hot water throughout our bilges when it’s running so, unfortunately, we can’t use them for storing any temperature sensitive items.
- If your bilges are deep and allow for a lot of movement, storage bins are a great way to keep your provisions together and dry.
- Some people remove the labels off their cans. I don’t. I’m able to store canned goods in “dry” areas rather than the bilges, so there’s no need.
- Some people date their cans. Once again, I don’t. We live aboard and will be using them within a year (as long as they’re not green beans).