Provisioning is always a dilemma, how much fresh, how much frozen, what have you got space for and how many days (adding in a large margin for safety). Add to this the uncertainty of how much will be confiscated (if any) by bio security when you enter a new country. As relative novices to this entering new country caper, we only have our New Caledonia experience to go by.
I provisioned extensively with fresh produce, meat and eggs, and they took everything except the frozen meat and fish as it was from Australia. We lost over $100 worth of produce however the check in marina was literally next door to one of the best fresh food markets ever and it was an easy stroll to restock (albeit we were still down $100 and it seemed very wasteful).
Fast forward 2 months and we are preparing to leave New Caledonia to sail to Vanuatu. A relatively easy sail of 2 days/2 nights. I pre cooked 2 lunches and 2 dinners for the passage (if it is rough I have no interest in cooking) and we can simply reheat a frozen meal, laksa, spaghetti, potato and leek soup, taco mince all head into the freezer.
I have researched bio security in Vanuatu it appears that they will take all fresh produce except frozen meats and cooked food upon arrival so I have only provisioned for a few days of fresh food.
As it turns out the passage is pretty reasonable and I cook lunch and dinner on both days keeping the frozen meals up my sleeve.
The additional complicating issue is that we are not checking into a major town rather a small island that I assume will be quite rural and have no capacity to purchase anything.
Creativity needs to step up here.
As we pull in I make up a guacamole to go with the frozen mince, and I juice all my lemons and limes into jars so that I will still be able to make cocktails (got to get my priorities right). I roast the last of the pumpkin making a delish pumpkin, pistachio and parmesan dip for later. This leaves only a few onions and garlic cloves, a couple of chillies and some spring onions. Hey, if that’s all I lose I’ll be a happy camper.
And, of course, they take …… NOTHING, all that stressing out and planning for no reason and now here we are moored in this beautiful bay, 3 days away from a store awaiting a day where we can climb the volcano. We have come to Tanna Island specifically to climb one of the worlds most active and accessible volcanoes. And we are super close to it, on the night sail in I could see the orange glow of minor eruptions (it was super cool).
Which leads me to my provisioning conundrum. I now need to get us through at least 5 days of meals with nothing fresh (well next to nothing).
Freshly baked bread is a no brainer, and that gets us two lunches. Vegemite and cheese on fresh hot bread, and then ham (from the freezer) and cheese toasted (fried) sandwiches the next day. I have eggs so a quiche is next up using a little of the left over ham, frozen corn and one of the spring onions. I’ve got mince in the freezer so I make meatballs and we have them with the frozen baguettes, gruyere cheese slices, jalapeños and a home made tomato sauce.
So far so good.
While anchored in Port Resolution we meet fellow “Lagoonies” (our boat brand) AQUILON 3. An amazing family whom quickly become our besties. Microwave friendships is what Emily (the mum) calls them. The kids are amazing to hang out with, and I get my fix of card games and Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit (I lose for the first time ever) and during one of our lengthy conversations the kids mention that they looooove butter chicken.
My brain instantly goes into stocktake mode…….do I actually have enough ingredients to make this!!! Yup, minus the fresh coriander (and mint) I do. Hannah, Abby and Bert (the kids) are over the moon. Emily and Tom (the Dad) ask what they can bring…. Veggies is my immediate request. And so the days go. Between the two boats we actually have a lot of very good food. I have more meats etc and AQUILON 3 have heaps of veggies still.
We buddy sail with AQUILON all the way to Port Vila having a lot of dinners together (they even manage to pull off a salad - some sort of voodoo going on over there).
Now off to explore a new city and new markets and shops.