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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

4/5/2010 - Provisioning, a nuts and bolts blog

When you live in a house, on land, you call it grocery shopping. But when you live on a boat, you call it provisioning. And actually, there is a difference. Grocery shopping is something you do to try to have the stuff you need on hand. But, if you need a quart of milk or a pound of hamburger between grocery runs, you can stop at the store and pick some up on the way home. Not so on a boat, at least once you've left the marina and also left town.

In this case, you need to have on board EVERYTHING that you're going to need until you reach the next provisioning port. EVERYTHING! Just trying to figure out what "everything" is is pretty daunting. So you'll understand when I tell you that Lulu had a serious case of denial about provisioning. There's so much to think about. What if we forget something? Where are we going to put it all?

Well, our time to leave La Paz is fast approaching. The next chance we have to provision will be at Loreto which is 120 nautical miles north of here. During a passage, that would just be an overnighter or maybe a day and a half trip. But, when cruising, there are a whole bunch of basically uninhabited anchorages between here and there. Even if we leave early next week, it'll take us at least 3 weeks to get there if we do it right. So we need to have all the food on hand that we might need between here and there. And not just food. How about toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, soap, etc? It's a lot to think about.

A lot of folks have a lot of different approaches to provisioning. Our friend Carrie on s/v Madrona is very scientific about it. She's built a spreadsheet that accounts for everything they'll need based on the meals that they will eat. Very scientific. But definitely not our style.

What we finally did was to take an inventory of all the non-refrigerated, non-fresh stuff we have on board: canned vegetables, coffee, noodles, rice, beans, etc. Then we sat down and tried to decide how much of these things we'd need to make meals for 3-4 weeks. We have no idea what those meals will be but we've both cooked enough that we feel pretty confident that we can figure something out. While brainstorming how much of the stuff on hand we'd need, we naturally came up with lots of other stuff that we'd need. The upshot was a shopping list that was pretty daunting. At the end of this blog I've included a list of our inventory from which the shopping list was created. Things like spices, unless otherwise noted, we decided that we had plenty of. Armed with our list, we hiked down to Chedraui. We managed to way overfill a shopping cart and spent over $400. But, since we're not renewing our marina rental this month and that was $400, it's kind of a wash (yeah, right). We hailed a cab for the trip back to the marina. The $50 peso fare along with the $20 peso tip to the driver for his help loading and unloading was money well spent.

We still haven't loaded up on fresh produce. We'll wait until the last minute for that. We also haven't loaded up on beer yet. That's tomorrow's mission. But, other than that, we're pretty sure we have plenty of food on board to see us through a 3-4 week period without any further additions, even if we don't catch any fish (which ain't gonna happen). I guess we'll see.

Oh yeah, where to put all this stuff. I double-decked all the crap in the "garage" (quarter berth) so we'd have enough room to stow all the paint locker stuff that used to be stowed beneath the middle settee seat. That left one fairly good-sized locker for food storage. We managed to get all the food into that locker as well as our usual food lockers located behind the settee seats. However, the toilet paper and paper towels have joined the backpacks and sleeping bag as something that lives in the v-berth during the day but is moved out to the settee at night. It;s a pain but we'll use the stuff up as we go along and everything has to be somewhere, right?

So, here's our provisioning list, such as it is:

machaca, bags: 5
chilorio, cans or bags: 4
granola, bags: 5
powdered milk. bags: 5
tuna, small cans: 10
mayo, quart: 2
cheese, lbs.: 2
bacon, pkgs.: 4
popcorn, bag or jar: 1
butter, lb.: 6
Spam, can: 5
toilet paper: 50
(the goal was actually 40 rolls but since we had 2 and they came in 24 packs...)
ultrapure milk, box: 5
club soda, case: 1
spinach, can: 5
green beans, can: 3
corn, can: 6
beets, can: 4
shampoo: 4
soap, bar: 2
deodorant: 2
sunscreen: 2
mouthwash: 2
dental floss: 3
lotion: 2
toothpaste: 4
instant potatoes, envelope: 6
salmon, canned: 3
chicken, canned: 5
(we ended up getting, unbeknownst to us, chicken salad, which was OK, too.)
black pepper: some
Pam, or similar: 2
aluminum foil, roll: 2
Ziploc bags, 2 gal., box: 2
Ramen, pkgs: 12
black olives, sliced, can: 3
green olives, can: 3
(expensive, settled for 2 cans)
beef bullion, jar: 1
chicken bullion, jar: 1
soup, mushroom: 3
soup, tomato: 4
soup, chicken, dry: 4
Italian dressing, bottle: 5
chili powder: some
(actually we didn't find "chili powder" as we know it. We settled for powdered chiles to which we will add cumin to get "chili powder")
tomato paste: 4
tomato sauce: 4
tomatoes, diced: 4
green chiles, can: 6
oats, lbs: 8
wasabi powder, can: 1
nori, pkg: 3
rice, white, lb: 5
rice, brown, lb.: 1
flour, white, lb.: 25
sugar, white, lb.: 5
sugar, brown, lb.: 2
coffee, lb.: 8
Tabasco sauce: 3
ammonia, gal: 2
bleach, gal: 0.5
beans, dried, lb.: 6
pasta, lb.: 6
charcoal briquets, lb.: 10
Gatorade powder, tubs: 5
vegetable oil, quart: 2
baking powder, pkg: 1
baking soda, pkg: 1
dish soap, btl.: 3
roach traps, ea.: 2
mustard, prepared: 2
peanut butter: 2
soy sauce, pt.: 2
parmesan cheese, can: 3
coffee, instant: 1
curry paste, can: 3
mushrooms, can: 7
clam chowder: 4
chicken soup, canned: 1
vegetable soup, canned: 3
oysters, smoked, can: 2
clams, smoked, can: 1
clams, chopped, can: 4
saltine crackers, pkg: 2
hot chocolate mix, tub: 1
jam: 2
coconut milk, can: 2
jalapeƱos, pickled, can: 1
beer as much as we can stash somewhere

snacks (quantities yet to be determined):
tortilla chips
potato chips
salted peanuts

fresh produce (quantities yet to be determined):

I know that for some of you, the lack of sizes on the packaging on this list is probably frustrating. But, there was NO WAY I was going to drag everything back out to find out. Suffice it to say that we generally bought the medium size unit unless otherwise notes. And some stuff only comes in one size.

Now, if you made it all the way down here, you deserve a little treat. On one of our jaunts into town yesterday, we stopped at a street taco vendor. He had fish, clam, and oyster tacos. We opted for a couple of fish tacos. Fish tacos generally tend to be a piece of battered, deep-fried fish on a tortilla. The size of the fish piece may change depending on the price of the taco but they're basically fish on a tortilla. It's the condiments that make the difference. Most places have a couple types of salsa, some limones, shredded cabbage, crema, some hot sauces, maybe some roasted chiles, and that's about it. This place had all that plus about 6 more things that could have stood as salads on their own: roasted peppers in cream sauce, cole slaw, grilled onion and vegetables, etc. It was a real treat. Here's just one example:

Lulu has declared this stand as her favorite restaurant in La Paz and it is mighty darn good.

Oh, yeah, if you're in La Paz and are trying to find it, it's on Degollado, where Madero runs into it, across the street from the front door of the Modatela fabric store.


Anonymous said...

Wow, what a shopping trip. I am happy you hailed a cab to get it all back to the boat. When we think of a place to winter we take into consideration shopping for groceries. We do not want to boon dog it and then have to drive 50 miles for a Safeway. Mama Papa stores are okay but very expensive and we are retirees so have to count the pennies. Good luck on your next leg of your trip. Love, Mom

SV Estrellita 5.10b said...

Our current strategy is to fill the boat and then hope for the best ;)

2ndreef said...

Impressive! And don't forget the bags to hold the garbage between stops. Bill.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes its a good idea to meet the manager of the store where you buy lots of "provisions". I got to know the manager of a store and he let me keep my stuff in his deep freezer for a couple of days. Kills the bugs so things last longer. Ken

Anonymous said...

Modatela? Sounds like a great stop to me!!!/beverly

Crazy Coyote said...

If you are not careful you will need to drag a barge behind your boat to handle all of the provisions ;-) I checked out the Islands on Google Earth and it looks like you should have some great places to rest, relax, between swimming and eating the provisios. Enjoy Yourselves and keep Jay and Judy out of trouble.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that you're finally going back to sea. I think your blog is the ultimate guide for La Paz. We're still in PV and enjoying being behind the crowd although we will miss Loreto Fest. Hope to see you up in the Sea.

Lisa n Neil
S/V Gypsy

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Glad to hear that we won't be the only ones not having a scientific approach to all this "provisioning"! We won't be doing this until the end of next year, but we do wonder where we'll put it all! Your idea of putting stuff in the v-berth and just moving it at night sounds like an idea ... whatever works!