Top 10 Weird Food Sold in a Can

As part of my “Less is More” ethos for this year I recently did a major clean out on board. Our wee closet and drawers were thinned out yet again, the cupboard in the head was decluttered and all the holds in the galley were sorted through. What I ended up with was pretty impressive rag pile, several tubes expired of sunscreen, some make-up that is embarrassingly old and enough to canned goods to survive the apocalypse, (zombie or otherwise).

Bring on the Apocalyse

I usually keep a healthy stock of canned goods on board (I write on the tops for easy indentification in my vertical storage compartment). Food in cans come in very handy when you’re sailing in more remote destinations like the Solomon’s and Papua New Guinea, where refrigeration is non-existent outside urban centres and the general population are subsistence farmers and fisherman. And to be honest there is nothing wrong with beans, lentils, tomatoes, corn, soup, mussels, pate, dolmas and tuna out of tin, just to name a few of my regularly stocked items.

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Top Ten on the Beach

We spent last weekend on the beach, but not just any beach. We spent last weekend on perhaps the busiest beach in all of the Philippines.

The island of Boracay (pronounced Bor-RA-cai) is only 9km long and 1km wide. White Beach takes up most of the western side of the island and is THE tourist hot spot, not just for locals but for the international crowd as well. With everything from hostels to exclusive resorts you can imagine that the scene on the beach is pretty interesting.

Although we did enjoying some world class people watching what caught my eye the most was the vendors, who make the rounds laden with goods, some practical, some absurd. Also, it wouldn’t be a day on the beach without some street food, or I guess beach food. So here, in no particular order, are:

The Top 10 Things You Can Buy on the Beach Continue reading

Top Ten Ways You Know You’ve Been Sailing in the South Pacific for a Long Time 

  1. You can communicate a whole range of greetings and emotions with your eyebrows alone.
  2. The smell of rancid coconuts rotting in the midday sun doesn’t bother you anymore.
  3. When you ask a local a question and they answer “YES” you know that A. that does not mean the answer is actually yes, or B. that they understood the question at all.
  4. You usually ask a local if a fish you caught is safe to eat – free of ciguatera, a highly toxic and very localized fish poisoning. And when they say “Yes” you know to see above.
  5. When provisioning or looking for hardware store items you expect to visit at least half a dozen stores and only find half of the items on your shopping list.
  6. You no longer trust the accuracy of your charts and consider sticks and rebar acceptable navigation beacons.
  7. Limes and coconuts are considered staple foods onboard.
  8. You can self-diagnose and treat fungal infections, staph infections and cellulitis and know the difference between the symptoms of dengue fever and malaria.
  9. You’ve eaten over 25 varieties of bananas, probably in 25 different ways.
  10. You consider cyclone season the perfect time to sail around the islands; better winds and a heck of a lot less boats! 

Top Ten Ways You Know You’re a Full-time Liveaboard Sailor 

  1.  You refer to the dinghy as the family car.
  2. You can shower, including washing and conditioning your hair, in only 2 liters of fresh water.
  3. When talking on the phone you say “Over” at the end of sentences.
  4. Reggae island cover tunes played at ear splitting volumes any time of day or night no longer bother you, in fact you often sing along.
  5. Sitting on the head with one foot braced against the wall and one hand gripping the countertop is standard operating procedure.
  6. You find yourself in near paralytic panic at the grocery store when faced with two different brands of any one item.
  7. Picking bugs out of the flour/rice/beans/anything edible no longer grosses you out.
  8. Your “purse” is a roll-top waterproof dry bag and in it you always carry a Leatherman and a bottle of Tropical Strength Aeroguard.
  9. Within 24hrs of arriving in port after a passage you know where the best grocery store, market and chandlery are, where you can get water, do laundry and have a hot shower, who offers free or fast WIFI and which bar has the best Happy Hour.
  10. You judge how expensive places are to visit by the cost of fuel and the price of beer.


1. PRO– We travel the world and get to sleep in our own bed every night.
CON- I have spent many a stormy night lying awake in my own bed worried we’ll drag anchor and end up on the reef, losing everything.

2. PRO- The living space is limited but you should see the pool!
CON- At any given time we share the ‘pool’ with stinging jellies, sharks and, in the Solomon Islands, crocodiles.

3. PRO- We can fish for our supper.
CON- There is a reason they call it fishing not catching.

4. PRO- As people always like to remind us, the wind is “free”.
CON- It might be free but it ain’t easy when you don’t control which direction it blows or how hard.

5. PRO- There is a great tradition in the sailing community of sharing information and helping during a crisis.
CON- It is often assumed that since we share one common interest (we both own a boat) that we share many, and therefore automatically must be best friends.

6. PRO- In the beginning it felt like we were sailing new waters, discovering new things and finally getting off the beaten track.
CON- I soon discovered that everyone has already been here, done it and screwed up the natives along the way.

7. PRO- There is no daily grind, no boss or no schedule.
CON- We are completely and fully responsible for everything that we do and do not get accomplished in a day.

8. PRO- We get to see remote, beautiful and sometimes uninhabited parts of the world.
CON- Every beach we’ve ever visited has plastic on it. I often am completely disgusted and totally discouraged about how much we have polluted the earth.

9. PRO- Living outside the parameters of what most people consider normal is exhilarating.
CON- With each passing year it becomes more difficult to live inside the parameters of what most people consider “normal”.

10. PRO- It is bikini season all the time! (in the tropics)
CON- It is bikini season ALL the time!

Top Ten Galley Myths

In no particular order, here are the Top Ten misconceptions I would like to break about cooking and eating on a small sailboat.

1.“Boat” food is different than “land” food.

It doesn’t have to be. Sure you have to think ahead, the grocery store is not just around the corner, and you may not be able to find all the ingredients you are used to. But with good planning and a little creativity we eat pretty much the same as we would on land. Food is food; please stop calling it “boat” food.
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