Sunday, September 9, 2012

Provisioning review - 6 months out

It is about 6 months since we left Mexico and I would like to put down a few thoughts about how our initial planning worked out.

We laid in a huge amount of dried goods, cans, and bottles when in Mexico - enough for 6 months of cruising. The conventional wisdom is that such things are scarce in this part of the world and very expensive in French Polynesia. Well - this is not entirely true. Yes - some things are very expensive in French Polynesia, but many things are quite reasonable, especially once you reach the Society Islands. If you are following in our footsteps, I would suggest you lay in about three months worth of staples, rather than six months because you can resupply at fair prices in Papeete or on Moorea. We have heard that Raiatea is also a good spot to reprovision.

The advantages of just buying 3 months of supplies are that you are more likely to make less mistakes in your estimating, you will have more space left on the boat for other things, and there will be less spoilage if you get things wet on passage . Also, you will have less money tied up and it is quite fun to reprovision in a foreign place because of all the different things people eat - such as tinned pate and superb cheeses that we found in French Polynesia.

We over-bought in the following areas: Oatmeal, granola, and bran flakes - ingredients for my morning cereal. For various reasons we eat far less cereal now than when I was in Mexico. I put this down to really good French breads and the fact that we discovered crepes, which I now make every few days. Butter - I think we still have a few pounds of Mexican butter going rancid in the fridge. Canned butter is reasonable and plentiful in Polynesia. Cheese - We still have a couple of kilos of Mexican cheese, which I could happily have replaced in Papeete with nice Ementals, Camenberts, or Bries. Rice and lentils - available here at good prices. Canned goods - we ended up cooking mainly with long lived vegetables and have used very few cans. Beans - we have enough dried beans for another year.

There is now a general panic in the fleet because most people are worried that when hey reach New Zealand in November, they will lose things such as beans, dried fruit, canned and fresh meat, and anything that can sprout I suspect a lot of stuff will be given away in Tonga or confiscated and destroyed by the reputedly strict quarantine officers in New Zealand - waste that could be avoided with some foresight.

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