In a way, we have been provisioning for our time in the Pacific since San Francisco. I began tucking away fun treats from the Trader Joe’s there to pull out some day when we needed something new. Then we made a mega Whole Food’s run in Long Beach thanks to Steve on our sistership Desolina. And we bought an enormous amount of canned chicken while sharing a taxi to the San Diego Costco with Bella Star. In the La Paz area we rented a car for two days for a preliminary trip to La Ventana and did a huge Walmart and Sam’s Club run while we had it. Later in La Paz we ended up with the loan of a car occasionally from friends we met here (thank you Pyxis!!!) and we continued to buy bags of extra goods each time we went to the store. We might buy 10 bags of oats that trip, a dozen cans of salsa or stock up on lentils. Recently, we made the drive down to the Costco in Cabo San Lucas, partially because we wanted to see Todos Santos and some of the scenery and partially because the idea of stocking up on Kirkland brand pre-cooked bacon was just too difficult to pass up (see video). Tip: after we convinced Costco Cabo we had a good reason not to purchase a membership, they gave us a day pass for free
Our general strategy: In general our strategy is to never walk past a grocery on our way home without buying a bag and to never pass up an opportunity to buy heavy things like liquids (juice, wine, beer, vinegar) when we are lucky enough to not have to carry them (car, bikes, etc). With regard to our Pacific voyage, we aren’t the type of people who want to keep up with food consumption via a spreadsheet. A great idea that will never work for our personalities. We aren’t very worried about running out of particular items as long as we have enough food generally (except coffee – more on that). Our main goal with the huge amounts of provisioning we’ve been doing is to save money when things are more expensive in the islands, to minimize the amount of time we spend searching for food there, and to take advantage of having a vehicle and not carrying loads of provisions on our back.
What we did: Over the years we have re-organized our stores again and again. The end result is that the areas we have for food in the boat are separated by types of food and the size of the area is approximately proportional to the amount of that type of food we eat. There are some exceptions of course. Bulky items like toilet paper and chips are consumed faster than the amount of storage for them. In the case of the former, we just buy it more frequently and in the case of the latter we switch to popcorn when we run out. So, because the proportions of storage already approximate the proportions of what we eat, what we did was to provision in a gradual way focusing on important items. I opened the “snack cubby” and thought about what we most wanted in there (salsa, crackers, spreads, olives). Then I bought a bunch of those and stowed them. Then I evaluated how much more we could fit in that cubby and bought that much more snacks. Same with canned goods. Same with the “pasta/soup/tea” cubby, etc. Once each area was packed to the gills, we were done.
Exceptions: Everyone has something that they are afraid to do without. For us, good coffee is something we want to have aboard. It may be available in the next port but we don’t want to leave a port without a large supply. We’ve found a good roastery in La Paz and will be buying beans there (La Choya). Second, we did overbuy long life meats and cheeses because those allow us to stretch our supplies with what we can find in expensive or low stocked areas. Also, although I said we aren’t interested in spreadsheets, we did calculate consumption for a few items. We planned on two cans of chicken a week for 6 months (48), estimated our coffee intake and if something had an expiration, we estimated how much of it we would use per month and multiplied that by months until expiration (1 package per month * expires in 7 months = 7 packs of bacon in the bottom of the fridge). The final exception is booze. Apparently astronomically expensive in the South Pacific and so the advice we had been given was to load up on whatever you can safely carry and be prepared to have it bonded (sealed) somewhere in your boat if customs wants.
So…we’ll see how this works and report back in a year!