The end of March is fast approaching and with it our self-imposed get-out-of-La-Paz deadline. And, except for provisioning and last minute laundry, I think we’re pretty much ready. Siempre Sabado certainly seems ready. I’ve been running the engine every few days and she’s been firing up faithfully every time. The fridge is fixed and supplying us with nice cold cervezas. The SSB radio is doing great, even here in the marina. Well, that’s not exactly true. I’m receiving the Southbound evening net great. Better than ever. Pulling in boats from Banderas Bay, Chamela, Agua Verde, even Oxnard, California. I’ve connected to a couple of Sailmail stations for sending and receiving e-mail as well. The only thing I haven’t gotten yet is the Amigo net in the mornings. I did pull them in weakly yesterday but that’s been about it. Can’t get the Sonrisa net at all but I never have been unless I was out at anchor. Basically, I’d say so far that our new backstay antenna is working as well or better than our old pseudo-backstay antenna did. The only shipboard system that hasn’t been tested yet is the watermaker. It’s pickled right now and, once I flush it we need to use it every couple of days to avoid having to re-pickle it. Since I don’t really want to run the water here in the little bahía by the fishermen’s beach through the watermaker, I’ll wait until we’re on our way out of La Paz to flush it and then make some water our first night at anchor to test it. We’ll probably only go a few miles out of La Paz the first day so, if there’s a problem that returning to La Paz can help fix, we can do that.
Far and away the most intimidating part of this upcoming trip is provisioning. I know we’ve said in the past that provisioning is no big deal since there are a number of small tiendas along the route from La Paz to San Carlos. And that’s true if we take the “normal” route. However, in the interest of expanding our horizons, we’re opting to do it a little differently this time. Instead of going from Isla San Francisco to San Evaristo (where the first tienda is), we’re thinking about anchoring on the east side of Isla San Jose. From what I can gather from the charts (not much), three different cruising guides (absolutely nothing), Google Earth, some cruisers’ blogs, and our fly-over from Guaymas to La Paz, it looks like there’s a viable anchorage near Punta Colorada. I seem to remember that Chuck and Linda on s/v Jacaranda spent quite a bit of time there on one of their trips. Chuck, are you out there?
From there we plan to skip past Agua Verde (the next tienda stop) by stopping instead at Isla Santa Catalina and Isla Montserrat. From there, unless we really feel the need to see people and hit a store, we’ll skip Puerto Escondido and head up to (probably) Bahía Salinas on Isla Carmen, then around to Isla Coronados, skipping Loreto (the next and largest tienda stop), and then on to Punta Chivato with a stop in San Juanico. Then we plan to sit in Punta Chivato until we have just the right conditions for crossing over to San Carlos.
Now, keep in mind that every single thing I just wrote is subject to change!
But, the point is, we are planning on making it to San Carlos with no stops in “civilization”. That means that we have to provision accordingly. Our problem in the past is that we didn’t put enough detailed thought into this aspect of the trip. We’d buy things that would keep well, in quantities sufficient to see us through. Trouble is, we’d get a week or so into a trip and not be able to think of anything to make with what we had on hand. Our other problem on this trip is that, once we get to San Carlos, we’re putting the boat to bed for what could be as long as a year. That means that we don’t want to leave any food onboard. Granted, some of what we have will be transferable to the camper but there’s still no reason to way overdo it.
So, we need to pack enough food to feed us for 30 days but not so much that we have a whole bunch left over. I spent most of yesterday at the computer making lists:
1.) List of what we need for 30 breakfasts. This part was easy since Lulu and I are both happy eating the same breakfast every day. Not to say we both eat the same thing, but she’s happy with her cereal and I’m happy with my quesadillas. We’ll run out of fresh fruit for her cereal and fresh jalapeños for my quesadillas within about a week but both breakfasts are still palatable without those niceties. The only other ingredient that may not make it the whole time are my tortillas but Lulu knows how to make them so I’ll be fine.
2.) Lunch/Snacks: This ended up being a list of ideas for sandwiches, salads, and finger foods rather than a day-by-day menu. Never know what might appeal mid-day, if anything at all. All we have to do is make sure we have enough stuff on hand to make each thing on the list two or three times and we’ll be good to go.
3.) Dinner: This is where my list-making tendencies really came to the forefront. I first made a list of various main dishes we make or might want to make that are easy, fast, tasty, and use ingredients that, for the most part, don’t need refrigeration. We have enough fridge space to keep a few fresh vegetables and some meat for a little while but it won’t last all that long.
Then, from this list, I made a new list of somewhere around 30 meals, with some repeats. I put this list in order by placing the items with the most perishable ingredients early on and then not having the same thing too often in a row. There’s not a lot of difference between chicken alfredo over noodles and chicken gravy over rice for instance. Need to put a few days between these.
Once that list was made, I went through it with Lulu and we figured out what we needed for each dish. We then compiled that list into a preliminary shopping list.
Earlier in the day, I had taken our paper inventories from all three food lockers and consolidated the info on a spreadsheet. I then subtracted what we had on hand from what we needed and ended up with a final shopping list. And then added a few things I’d forgotten as I thought of them (like butter, for instance). We’ll further break the shopping list into things we can get right now (canned vegetables, rice, pasta, coffee) versus things we have to wait until the very last day to get (produce, tortillas, meat).
We also had to figure out what to do about drinks. We like to drink lots of ice cold beer but, space restrictions preclude drinking as much as we’d like to. We decided to plan on 3 beers each per day: one when the anchor is down and set and two more while watching our shows at night. But this still comes out to a LOT of beer for 30 days. However, since we’ve (mostly Lulu) been whittling away at the stores we’ve had on board for quite awhile, we’ve got more space than we sometimes have at the beginning of a trip. Still, it’ll be a challenge stowing 8 cases of beer. Not to mention the agua mineral that we like to have with our last-show-of-the-evening tequila nightcap. Need to stow 60 bottles of that (agua mineral, not tequila). And we need to drink even more than that to stay hydrated in the hot weather we’ll be sailing into. Fortunately, the watermaker makes that part pretty easy. We have Gatorade powder as well as tea bags for ice tea. It’ll be a trick to get everything stowed but, just like always, everything will end up stowed somewhere. Lulu, who does most of the stowing, may be the only one who knows where things are but still, they’ll be here somewhere.
This is dragging on way longer than I had intended but, before I quit, I just want to say that I might, MIGHT, be about ready to join the tablet (iPad mini for example) crowd. I know, everyone else has had a tablet or a smart phone for years now but I just haven’t seen a need before. Not that I haven’t tried to convince myself that I need one. I just could never do a good enough job selling myself on it. But, when I think about all the time I spent yesterday transcribing written inventories to my laptop and then ultimately printing out a shopping list which I have already had to add things to (in pencil, since I’m not going to reprint just for one new item), I’m beginning to think that maybe a tablet might be a good way to go. Should streamline the whole process. If I keep the boat inventory up-to-date on the tablet and take the tablet to the store when we go shopping, we could check it before buying another jar of salsa because we “think there’s one on the boat but there might not be”. So, I just might join the 21st century yet. I know I’m way behind on the tablet bandwagon but, hey, I just started doing Facebook a couple weeks ago!