April is always an eventful month in our family. We have a few family birthdays, including mine, and it is generally when Easter occurs so we’re busy eating nearly as many chocolates as we do at Christmas!
This year was special though. The whole month was spent either preparing the boat in Panama for our Trans-Pacific crossing or onboard, during the crossing itself: 4000NM or 8000KM of nothing but ocean, for weeks on end. Three to be exact.
That is 21 ½ days, 64 meals to cook and serve to an often bored and always hungry crew. My daily entries would be too tedious to read, so I have picked the weekly highlights of this floating culinary journey of ours.
Hectic time “stocktaking” all our supplies before 2 major grocery shopping trips at Rey in Colon. Remembering to allow not only for the crossing to Marquesas (longest leg), but also beyond. Tahiti is the only place with a supermarket as we know it, and is 4 times more expensive. I have enough staples to last us to Australia, frozen meat and meals for 12 days, beer for a month (hopefully!), fresh fruits and vegetables for 10 days and 90 eggs with a use-by date of April 24th (the longest I could find!). Fingers crossed, we’ll catch fish. Not sure about the fresh produce, we’re debating whether to stop in the Galapagos or not. It is less than 1/3 of the way to the Marquesas, and an ideal place to reprovision if we must. We’ll see.
We ate out at the marina restaurant a lot, nothing worth mentioning on the menu. The aim was to save on supplies, but ended up using 3 days’ worth feeding the advisors and linehandlers during our overnight transit! Beef stew and rice for dinner, raisin bread and fruits for breakfast, smoked chicken and salad sandwiches for lunch, plus lots of chips and fruits. Thought of doing one last grocery excursion in Panama City to top up, but too much hassles. So we’re off and will have to “make do” with what we have.
Short stop in Las Perlas archipelago, which we visited 6 years ago, during our previous crossing. We expected to find clear blue waters, other family boats and lots of fish. We found none. Lots of birds though, also murky water unsuitable for the watermaker and smoke from the villages in a “slash and burn” mode. Decided to sail for the Marquesas on April 9. Resuming fresh produce daily checks and can’t believe how quickly some are going off! Soft Bananas and avocados, not even a week into the trip…I slice the bananas and freeze for later, cut up pineapple and papayas for snacks, move the oranges in the fridges so they last longer. Breadmaker is back into service. Legumes are reappearing on the menu: chickpeas this week. Experimenting with pantry cooking (AKA out of cans!)
Breakfast & snacks: banana bread*, granola bread*, yoghurt, fruit salads, fruit smoothies
Lunch: Apple and brie quiche*, coleslaw, chickpeas and tinned vegetables salad, tacos*, tortillas pizzas
Dinner: Beef curry with rice and chickpeas, hummus* and “deconstructed salad”, burger with sweet and plain potatoes wedges, smoked chicken and asparagus gratin*, CAC sandwich with tomato bread ( chicken, avocado and cheese)
Settling in. Sailed thru the Galapagos islands. We were fortunate enough to stop there in 2008 during our last passage, heard about increased cost of formalities and stricter cruising rules so decided to keep old memories and move along. My only concern is fresh produce and I would have loved to resupply, but it would have been a very expensive market shopping! I gave up trying to be conservative with the fresh stuff, better eat them when they’re still good. All the fruits are gone by the end of the week, still a few vegies left, though no more greens. Legumes of the week: red lentils. Lucky to catch fish in time for Good Friday, tried my hands at baking Hot Cross Buns and pulled out my secret stash of chocolate, pretending to have an Easter Egg Hunt on board. Who says we can’t keep traditions while at sea?
Breakfast & snacks: Croissants (frozen), Baked eggs in cream with fresh bread, fruit salads, hot cross buns*, pineapple cake*
Lunch: cheese & tomato sandwiches, tuna sushi & sashimi, tartare of tuna & mahi-mahi*, Vietnamese spring rolls with tuna pate, dried beef with eggs*, lentil soup with chicharonnes
Dinner: rice & lentils Colombian style*, seared teriyaki tuna with noodles, fish and chips, mahi-mahi with caper sauce & pumpkin and rice, chicken in mushroom mustard sauce with pasta
On we go, making good speed for a while, losing our wind for a few days, then picking up again… We’re ¾ of the way and supplies still look good: cheese, eggs, smoked chicken, ham,…Enough for quiches and omelettes. Only fresh vegetables left are pumpkin, carrots, potatoes and onions: white and orange! Other colours come from tins. Anne busy baking for Anzac Day, my birthday and any other days when she’s bored! Legumes of the week: red kidney beans. We’ve run out of frozen bread, and no one feels like Corn flakes, so experimenting with brekkie food. Plenty of fish this week: mahi-mahi and a large spearfish.
Breakfast & snacks: white bread, porridge, pancakes, scrambled eggs, chocolate pudding*, anzac biscuits, chocolate fondant
Lunch: Eggy fried rice, Mahi-Mahi sashimi, arepas with fresh tomato salsa*, artichoke and olive salad with onion bread
Dinner: grilled fish with beans and corn salsa*, turmeric fish and rice*, fish and pumpkin curry, chili beans and chorizo*, spaghetti Bolognese, ribs
No more fresh vegies and feeling it! Tired of tinned fruits already, trying to be creative as we’re eating too much carbs and sugar. Going “shopping” in the pantry, looking for something interesting to go with eggs, fish and bacon, only to find more tinned tomatoes,asparagus, corn and mushrooms…really wished I’d stocked up on frozen spinach or peas! And what I wouldn’t do for fresh lettuce and grapefruit! Unlike other crossings, Terry’s beer supplies held up though it is severely depleted. Only 24 hours to go!
Breakfast & snacks: flax seeds bread (super filling!), yoghurt, tinned fruits
Lunch: Dips and crackers, bacon and asparagus on pumpkin bread, potato, egg and tuna salad*
Dinner: Omelette and fried rice, jacket potato with bacon, pumpkin polenta with creamy bacon mushroom sauce*