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).
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.
We are preparing for our next passage to the Philippines, which means we’ve been doing lots of schlepping of provisions. It’s not that I am worried about finding good provisions in PI, it’s just that I know there are somethings I may not be able to find. For me part of the excitement of sailing to somewhere new is the prospect of all the exciting flavours we get to explore, but there are still a few items that we would rather not live without; good tea, pasta without weevils, and, of course, all natural, no added sugar peanut butter.
I am a bit of a PB addict – in fact in certain circles I am known as the Peanut Butter Princess. Everywhere we sail I search for good PB but rarely find it, which is why when I do find it I stock up – as seen above!
On Kate PB isn’t just for breakfast and it isn’t just a sweet. Featured in the March issue of Cruising World magazine was my recipe for Beef Satay, a savory, spicy peanut sauce made from peanut butter. If you missed the issue here’s the story behind the moniker and the Beef Satay recipe.
Within the first week of arriving in Palau a friend asked me how life was closer to land. I blurted out the phrase “Conveniently Inconvenient” and then wondered if I was making a snap judgement about the place.
I try and reserve my first impressions for at least a week when we arrive at a new destination. A week gives me time to kinda get to know the place, to work out what are it’s short comings and what are my own. And so we been here for close to close to 3 weeks now I haven’t said much about Palau other than “We are here.”
Amidst the unfamiliar countries and uneasiness of travel the markets are where I find a connection to the people, to the landscape. Although I have a deep and passionate relationship with food this is not why I seek out these places. It is the everyday-ness of the market that I crave.
Disconnected from family, country, home and all that is familiar the markets are a constant in our travels. The world over people grow food and make goods and sell them in a common space. The produce sold, the faces smiling back at me and the colour of the money changes but the routine is always the same. People coming together to sell food, buy supplies and socialize. Unlike the tourist I am not looking for the exotic, I am searching for the familiar.
On the remote island of Nuku Hiva in French Polynesia I would wake at 5am, before the dawn, and dinghy across the harbour to go to the Wednesday morning market. You had to get up that early, at 9 degrees south business is done before the wilting heat of the sun brings island life to a halt. After weeks of long passages and limited fresh vegetables I was excited by what might be there to buy.
When we left San Diego our destination was all points south and west. We had given ourselves a time line of about 18 months to reach Australia (we obviously didn’t quite make it as it is almost 8 years later and we’ve yet to touch Aussie waters) and knew our jump off point into the South Pacific would probably be Panama, but other than that we were leaving things open.
It had originally been our plan to depart in November but an accident that resulted in Steve breaking his leg meant we didn’t push off the dock until February. This gave me ample opportunity to obsess about things, especially all things food related; what would we find outside the USA? What should we buy now? How long will things last? What new exciting food stuffs would we encounter? Is the meat going to be any good? How much will things cost?
Although I had experience with provisioning (that’s boat talk for grocery shopping) for a long trip before, I had never sailed the Pacific so I had no idea what to expect. So I did what almost every rookie sailor does but few will admit. I provisioned like the zombie apocalypse was coming. Continue reading →