Tuesday, February 5, 2013


New York

With only one week left in New York, and a few weeks before we cross to the Bahamas (the boat is in Florida), my thoughts have turned to provisioning -- or at least a provisioning list. Buying food to last for five months can be daunting.

My first job back on Cara Mia next week will be a thorough inventory followed by filling some shopping carts!

Looking back at my own thoughts on provisions, I welcome the chance to revisit my thriftiness and ultimately my appreciation of Food by spending a few months away from the total food glut of our culture -- but not before a few more indulgences here in New York (more on that later).

As I remember how confounding it was to provision as a new cruiser, I think of my soon-to-be-cruiser readers. My best advice is don't fret. You won't starve. However, there are two reasons to stock up: you'll save money, and you're buying freedom to hang out in remote spots without worrying about food. But what to buy???

The Boat Galley is a great site, and check out their provisioning resources.
Southern Boating has more general but helpful tips: Southern Boating
Moondance and Commuter Cruiser have spreadsheets listing exactly what they stock. (My method is less spreadsheet and more flow chart, as in flowing through the store and guessing what to buy.)

If you have the luxury of time, provision slowly to take advantage of sale items. This does require some inventory tracking so you won't have too much of a good thing, but it will save you a lot of money. As others have reported: Taste it before you buy a lot of it!

Things available in the Bahamas: butter that's better and cheaper than in the U.S., yummy English cookies, yogurt, onions, potatoes, peppers, basic canned goods, RUM, yellow cheese that's not cheddar but not bad, eggs.

Things I regretted not stocking more of: dried meats (pepperoni and salami sticks), olives (never found good ones), dark chocolate.

My list-in-progress looks like this:

rice cakes (have you seen the new flat ones?)
peanut butter
dried meats
dried beans pinto, garbanzo, white, black
powdered milk -- LOVE Nido brand, whole milk
canned cream -- make sour cream from this
canned beets
pasta sauce -- some good ones in soft boxes now
tofu -- also in soft boxes!
coffee (not many good options in Bahamas)
chocolate -- NO dark chocolate over there
coconut milk
seltzer water
granola bars
ginger ale
almond milk -- almond or soy in boxes keep nicely and are hard to find in the Bahamas. When available, they are expensive.
dried fruit
pringles (easily stowed -- bags of chips take up copious amounts of precious space)

Already onboard:
baking supplies
tomato sauce
olive oil

Perishables we'll buy at the last minute:
fresh vegetables and fruit

Things we'll make instead of buy:

Questions? Ask me.

who are these people? me | chip | cara mia | our very long timeline


  1. You should get a Easiyo and make your own yogurt!

    1. Actually, I'm just going to make it in a bowl. It's pretty easy with powdered milk and starter yogurt. Unless we get lazy and buy it! :-)

  2. I'm getting ready to do this as well! It will be my first time provisioning, so I am a little nervous. I guess I should get started as we're headed to the Bahamas from Cape Canaveral in just a few short weeks as well! Having a wine guy on board, how much do you keep stocked?

    1. You know, the first year, we had a couple of cases but learned quickly how impractical it is to carry wine bottles. We now tend to have mixed drinks, since liquor goes a lot farther for the space it takes up, and it's cheap and readily available in the Bahamas.

      I also have found a few box wines I like. They last up to 30 days after opening, and if you take the bag out of the box, it conforms to any space. We reserve wine space for special occasion bottles.

  3. I really need to get to work with Sheeps on that grill-friendly coffee roaster.

  4. I don't like the powder mixes and prefer to use yogurt as starter, but I guess it's easier to have on a boat. I'm fascinated with the whole process of filling the fridge and or freezers on boats. Our daughter has worked as first mate, mate, and stewardess on many private yachts and sailboats. Her ability to stock a pantry and lay in goods in a freezer or fridge is awesome. I love it when she comes home to reorganize my kitchen.