Weather Helmed

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Weather Helmed

Prepping for the South Pacific & Pacific Crossing – Provisioning Pt.1

April 8th, 2010 · 10 Comments · About Money, Life on the Boat, Mexico, Passages

I still plan to add some more stuff about our spring break down in Tenacatita, but right now, getting ready for our Pacific Crossing is making me really really excited, so that’s what I’m going to write about….

While in La Cruz, we met an awesome younger couple – Mike & Hyo – aboard IO.  They left for the South Pacific last Sunday evening (you can read about their experiences on their blog).  Another group of new friends left soon after that.  Since then, we’ve been tracking them all via SSB radio nets, when boats can “check in” with each other and get updates on weather and everyone’s progress.  And, can I just say that everytime we hear one of them call in, Matt and I both get a little giddy.

“It’s IO! There’s Totem! Hey! It’s Capaz! Ah! I heard Mulan! Where are they???”

We quickly open our google earth charts and add a new marker to show where they are today as opposed to a few days ago.  It’s exciting to follow them across the Pacific.  Unfortunately, for all of you who care to know where WE will be, you won’t have the option of listening to us on the SSB or checking our blogs for updates, you’ll just have to cross your fingers, hope for the best, and patiently await our arrival in the Marquesas when we will flood our blog with updates from our passage.

One of the things you can be CERTAIN of, though, is that we are not going to starve.  Along with the $740 worth of food we bought at Costco back in the US, I just added to that stash several hundred dollars more of goods from another Costco run.

Tonight, I’m headed to a local bulk produce store to stock up on potatoes and onions and maybe some other stuff that should last us for a while.  Tomorrow, I head to Walmart for the things I couldn’t get at Costco, and Saturday or Sunday, I’ll head to Mega, a Mexican supermarket, for those things I can’t get at Walmart.  Sunday night, I’ll head to the bulk produce store again for the more sensitive fruits and veggies we’ll go through in the first couple of weeks.

Provisioning for something like this is a huge and intimidating undertaking.  No matter how many books I read about storing and caring for produce, putting together make-ahead mixes, trying to keep variety in your diet, etc., it’s still difficult to wrap my mind around buying food for two, then three (Jon joins us in June) people for 3-6 months.  Because, aside from fruits and vegetables and some snacky items, that’s what I’m aiming for.

Our meals this summer will consist almost entirely of canned foods, pasta and rice. I know, YUM.  We’re hoping that fresh sprouts (grown on the boat), fresh-baked bread, and lots of cold fruit juice (with or without rum and/or tequila) will keep things interesting.  We will, of course, indulge in some delicacies of the South Pacific, but those will be luxuries and not an everyday event.

Before moving onto the boat, I read a couple cruising books where the women kept detailed records of what they had, where it was, how much of it was left, and if they needed to get more.  I scoffed at their precise lists, declaring that I could never be so anal about our provisions.  Then we buy all this stuff and, five months later, I have no idea what we have or where it is.  Every time I cook, I have to open six cabinets and dig through three bins to figure out where I put that one can of whatever.  So, I began to understand the method to the madness.  Knowing that we will soon increase our provisions by ten-fold, I spent three hours last week going through almost all of our current provisions and made a list as to what we had, how much of it we had and where it was currently located.  Um, I’m a little embarrassed by how frequently I now refer to that list!  and I’m a little ashamed that I didn’t do it earlier.  🙂

Another thing I’ve done is gone through all the cookbooks we have on the boat (which, sadly, really aren’t that great), and created a list of things we can make with what we have.  One of the problems Matt and I ran into on our previous passage was a lack of creativity as to what to eat.  We would stare blankly into the cupboards asking each other, “what should we make? what do we eat?”  It was like we had never cooked before. We couldn’t come up with anything to make beyond pasta or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  So, I started a list that we can refer to when our brains are tired.   For those soon-to-be or currently cruising, I’ll include a few things just to help inspire you 🙂

My list includes:

– stirfry with rice & tofu

– pasta with red/alfredo sauce

– pasta salad

– potato salad

– curry chicken/turkey with rice

– turkey potpie

– lentil hummus

– quiche

– eggs with hollandaise sauce

– roast beef with bearnaise sauce and rice

– crepes

– tuna and pineapple sandwiches

– beef stroganoff

– sausage in wine sauce

– salmon loaf with lemon sauce

– tuna casserole

– blueberry/cherry pie

Of course, everything is out of a can or a box, but whatever!  On one hand, it’s not exactly thrilling to think that we’ll be eating canned foods for the next couple of months, but at the same time, it certainly encourages creativity.  I am sort of looking forward to the challenge of making something new and delicious out of the same ingredients we’ve been eating for weeks…

BUT, if anyone has good recipes for canned chicken, canned roast beef, canned turkey, canned beans, canned vegetables, canned tuna, canned salmon, canned chipotle pork, canned tomatoes, or canned fruits, I’d appreciate some additional inspiration as to what to do with them. I have the “usual” recipes: pastas, casseroles, sandwiches, etc., but if you have something different and yummy, please please please share!!!!

I hope, too, that we can catch some fish while we’re out there to add some real excitement, but so far we haven’t had any luck and, honestly, I’m still not entirely sure I’m ok with bludgeoning a fish to death and then bleeding it over the side of the boat before I cut its guts out.  Matt is totally opposed to dealing with fish until they’re sushi-fied, so it’s all up to me.  Fun. I’m trying to sike myself up for it, but we’ll see.

But, all the provisioning aside, I’M GETTING REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY EXCITED.  If all goes well, we plan to leave on Tuesday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • Brenda

    You don’t have to beat the fish to death. Give it some vodka via the gills and it will die quietly.

  • Michael

    A good book that may shed some light on your culinary dilemma is: “An Embarrassment of Mangoes” by Ann Vanderhoof. She, and her husband are cruisers that discovered how to tap into local culture for interesting new recipes. The book is a good read from a cruisers perspective.

  • Mark

    Hi Karen,

    One food idea for tuna – there is this salad of garbanzo beans and tuna that seems to be ubiquitous in southern Portugal and I really like it – basically it is a lemon vinaigrette with tuna, onion and garbanzos. Here is an interwebs version that is as close as I can find though I would bag the mayo and just make a lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil salt, pepper and garlic dressing. You will probably need to substitute dry herbs for the parsley – try oregano – works great. This is also one of those dishes that is even better the second day. Only disadvantage is you need a bowl to eat it.


    3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise [not]
    1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (not regular or brown) [meh, bag this too, see notes above]
    1 teaspoon grated lemon peel [not really a requirement, unless you have fresh lemons]
    2 6-ounce can solid white tuna in spring water, drained [can also be oil packed, which I think is better anyway]
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 15- to 16-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed, drained
    1/2 cup chopped sweet onion (i.e. vidalia – cut in 1/2 if using regular onions)
    1 Tbsp capers
    1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
    olive oil salt, pepper, maybe oregano

    Whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice and lemon peel. In a separate bowl, combine tuna, garbonzo beans, chopped onion, capers and parsley. Add dressing to tuna mixture and mix well. Serve over a bed of greens for a light lunch or healthy afternoon snack.

    Number of Servings: 6

    Best of luck on the crossing – we’ll be looking for you to pop up in the south Pacific.

  • Syzygy Sailing » Provisioning: shout out to Karl P. and Philip R.

    […] and I have different priorities when it comes to provisioning.  You can read her blog post for her view on the matter.  Here is my view on the […]

  • BoatMama

    My husband has also told me he will not deal with any fish. He bought all the fishing gear and can’t wait to learn how to fish. Once someone gave us a fish (that was already dead) and he squealed like a girl at the thought of touching it.

    One of my stand by bilge meals is corn bread pie.


    1 can corn
    1 can green chillies
    1 can diced tomatoes
    1 onion, cut up
    1 can of meat or beans
    1 box corn bread mix

    Pour vegetables in dish; lay onions and meat/beans on top; pour corn bread mix over the dish. Bake at 350 degrees until bread is done.

    You can really add any other canned veggies you like and add seasonings as you wish.

  • Jen

    Hi Karen,
    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog, thanks for taking the time to write it. Here is a really easy and very good black beans recipe. The seasonings are right on and you probably have everything you need already on the boat. Just throw a can of chicken/roast beef in or make some rice/burrito/omelette/nachos thingy out of it. From recipezaar.

    Basic Black Beans Recipe #52177
    A fast easy dinner. Makes excellent leftovers. This was my “beginner vegan” recipe. I got it off the web somewhere, and we practically lived on it for the first 3 months. This goes over well at potlucks too — just mix cooked rice in with the beans before you take it.
    by Linorama

    20 min | 5 min prep

    SERVES 6

    * 4 cans black beans, drained and rinsed or 4 cup cooked black beans
    * 2 cans diced tomatoes, drained or 2 cup fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped
    * 1 tablespoon olive oil
    * 2 small onions, chopped
    * 2 tablespoons minced garlic
    * 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    * 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    * 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
    * 1/2 teaspoon oregano
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt

    1. Heat olive oil in large skillet, saute onions, garlic and spices until onions are soft but not clear.
    2. Add beans and tomatoes, cook until bubbly.
    3. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 10 minutes.
    4. Add salt if necessary.
    5. Serve over hot cooked rice or cornbread.

    © 2009 Recipezaar. All Rights Reserved.

    Have fun on your Pacific jump!

  • karen

    Brenda~ Hi! have you left SD yet? we’ve heard mixed reviews on the vodka in the gills method. But, if we ever get a fish, I’m willing to try it!

    Michael~ thanks for the recommendation. I’ve heard of that book but haven’t read it yet… maybe we’ll come across it one of these days.

    Mark~ thank you for the recipe! sounds delicious. I wouldn’t have thought about adding in garbanzo beans… will definitely try it!

    Boat Mama & Jen~ these sound fantastic!!!! can’t wait to add them to our repetoire 🙂 thank you for sending the recipes!

  • Paul T

    You should check out some cookbooks made for college kids and/or backpackers. A couple I had were designed for one pot-all canned food stuff. As bad as they sound, some were quite delicious. To add to your list of meals possible:

    Bolognaise – just cook your pasta/marinara per usual, but throw in a can or meat, mixed vegetables, and a chopped onion (if you have it) in to the sauce. Changes up the typical pasta.

    Succotash – There are ~1million recipes out there, but the common theme is cook some lima beans and throw in some other stuff like corn. Can be eaten cold or warm. Not very exciting, but its done me well.

  • Paul T

    Oh, and a favorite from my midwestern roots:
    Johnny Cake- Make cornbread in tin like a cake, and cut into squares and serve with syrup. I love this stuff, but maybe thats just because I hate pancakes.

  • Brenda

    Yes, we’re on our way north but slowly 🙂 We headed up to Newport Harbor in early March (check out our blog for what we’re doing) and have a scheduled haulout in the SF Bay area during May. So, will have to get there soon.

    Enjoy your time in Mexico.

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