For the last several weeks I have shopped at numerous stores and spent many hundreds of dollars to provision for the next five months until we return to Stuart in June. This is a monumental job, and one I avoided for as long as possible. I always tend to overbuy, which is OK except the provisions use up a lot of space on the boat and if we don’t watch carefully, expiration dates arrive before we use everything. Also, I’ve learned from bitter experience that if we don’t eat it in the States, we won’t eat it while cruising. The first year we brought numerous items we thought we’d use and ended up giving them away when we returned to the States.
I began by making a database of everything we need. The list includes food, toiletries, paper products, office items, and virtually everything we will use during this time period. Many of the items could be purchased on some of the islands we visit, but not necessarily the brands we want and certainly they would be more expensive. Below is the page one of the database, the first 16 of 190 records. (The 16 bottles of wine were what we didn’t use last year because we decided we preferred rum punch.)
After purchasing the food, I organized it by type and put it into 30 gallon Sterite plastic boxes. We removed all the bedding from the aft cabin and placed the 40 boxes on the platform for the queen size bed. The boxes are stacked three high and labeled.
So we don’t have to push all the boxes around to find what we need for a meal, we have a chart that shows where each box is located. The red is the top box, the green is the middle box and the black is the bottom box. There are four rows of boxes, five wide in the back and then four and three wide.
Of course, we have other items stored in different areas of the boat, including very large storage lockers on the foredeck where we store nonfood items, like paper towels, toilet paper, laundrey detergent, etc. We store bags of dog food and other items under one of the beds. There are a lot of cabinets in the galley and salon, including storage under the benches. Since we don’t need all three bathrooms, two are used for storage.
We have two refrigerators and a large freezer which are all full. The frozen food is all stored in Food Saver bags and organized on each shelf so we can find things without pulling everything out.
To say the least, I am sick of shopping. Every day for these two weeks I went shopping and returned with the SUV full of items which had to be loaded onto a dock cart (or two), rolled to the boat, unloaded, unpacked, and stored. I actually started some provisioning throughout the summer and fall, especially ordering items online. Food was saved for these last two weeks.
I had a good reason for doing the provisioning now because tomorrow I fly to Bethesda, Maryland, where my son Peter is having surgery to remove a benign tumor on his spine. After a week in the hospital we will fly to his house in Oceano, California, near Pismo Beach, and I’ll stay with him while he recovers. My ticket to return to Florida is on February 6, which could be changed if he needs me to stay longer. Everything on the boat should be ready to go when I get back and we’ll leave for Miami on the 8th. Mark still has a few small projects to complete but the big installations are done.