September 30, 2012
Saying Good Bye


September 15, 2012
Reflections on Our 27 Year Circumnavigation


September 01, 2012
Sea of Cortez Sailing


August 15, 2012
Back to the Sea of Cortez


August 01, 2012
After Circumnavigation: What to Take, What to Leave Behind


July 15, 2012
Mexican Booby Trap


July 01, 2012
Tackling the Tehuantepec


June 14, 2012
Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico


June 01, 2012
Sailing northern Costa Rica and Nicargua


May 15, 2012
Costa Rican Cruising


May 01, 2012
New Found Friends in Golfito, Costa Rica


April 15, 2012
It’s a Jungle Out There


April 01, 2012
Hunting and Gathering in Panama


March 15, 2012
Money.... Money.... Money


March 01, 2012
Feel Free Transits the Panama Canal


February 15, 2012
Transiting the Panama Canal


February 01, 2012
Feel Free is Back in the Pacific


January 15, 2012
Charter Skipper for a Week


January 01, 2012
Confessions of a Charter Cat Chef


December 15, 2011
Away to the Andamans Part 2


December 01, 2011
AWAY to the ANDAMANs


November 15, 2011
Sailing in a Freshwater Paradise


November 01, 2011
To Barf or not to Barf, that is the question


October 14, 2011
Remarkable Cruisers


October 03, 2011
The Sea of Cortez, Another World


September 15, 2011
Panama Canal Here We Come


September 01, 2011
Sailing for Humanity


August 15, 2011
A Hard Lesson on the Hard and Reflections on Boat Work


August 01, 2011
Here Come the Lion Fish


July 15, 2011
The Joy of Books


July 01, 2011
The Sailors of San Blas


June 15, 2011
The Good Life in Kuna Yala


June 01, 2011
The Dirt Dweller in Paradise


May 15, 2011
People of the San Blas, Then and Now


May 01, 2011
Cruising in Kuna Yala


April 15, 2011
Near Disaster in the San Blas


April 01, 2011
At Last in the San Blas


March 15, 2011
Chilling Out in Cholon


March 01, 2011
Ah, Cartagena!


February 15, 2011
Cruising the Cape Horn of the Caribbean Part 2


February 01, 2011
Cruising the Cape Horn of the Caribbean Part 1


January 14, 2011
Aruban Interlude


December 30, 2010
Hunkering Down for a Hurricane


December 15, 2010
A Day in the Life - Our Passage to Aruba


December 01, 2010
Stuck in Curacao


November 15, 2010
Stormy Night Sailing


November 01, 2010
Sailing In The Sticks


October 15, 2010
Safety, Security and Circumnavigating with some tips on how to stay safe


October 04, 2010
Feel Free Transits The Suez Canal


September 15, 2010
Red Sea Sailing


September 01, 2010
FEEL FREEs Voyage Into the Red Sea


August 15, 2010
And just a little further, to Curacao


August 01, 2010
Bonaire Diving


July 15, 2010
Then To Bonaire


July 01, 2010
Cruising Remote Venezuelan Isles


June 15, 2010
Cruising St. Vincent


June 01, 2010
Right Place, Right Time


May 15, 2010
The Spice Isle


May 01, 2010
To the Grenadines


April 15, 2010
We Be In Barbados Mon


April 01, 2010
Atlantic Passage Part II


March 15, 2010
Atlantic Passage Part 1


March 01, 2010
Provisioning for the Atlantic Crossing


February 15, 2010
Atlantic Crossing Preparations


February 01, 2010
Cruising the Canary Islands


January 15, 2010
Out Of Africa


January 01, 2010
Come With Me To The High Atlas Mountains.............


December 15, 2009
Two Years Of Mediterranean Sailing


December 01, 2009
Moving On To Morocco


November 18, 2009
Leaving The Med


November 13, 2009
Reaching The Rock Of Gibraltar Milestone


October 15, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del Sol


October 01, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del High-rise


September 15, 2009
Sailing The Spanish Isles


September 01, 2009
At Sea Or On The Hook, These Recipes Travel Well


August 15, 2009
An Interlude At Menorca


August 01, 2009
A Pleasant Passage To Menorca


July 15, 2009
The Agony And Ecstasy Of The Tunisian Coast


July 01, 2009
Tripping Around Tunisia


June 15, 2009
Tales From North Africa


June 01, 2009
Dont Freak If Your Fridge Fails


May 15, 2009
Into Africa


May 01, 2009
Meandering Around Malta, Then Off To Tunisia


April 15, 2009
Low-Tech DIY Ideas For The New Economy


April 01, 2009
The Med Set A Few Cruiser Profiles


March 15, 2009
That Sinking Feeling


March 01, 2009
Thailand to Oman: Three Passages, Three Ports


February 15, 2009
Doing Hard Time in Malta


February 01, 2009
Pirate Alley Part 2


January 15, 2009
Pirate Alley Part 1


January 02, 2009
So Many Islands, So Little Time


December 15, 2008
Cruising With The Bear


December 01, 2008
Versatile Vinegar, The Boaters Friend


November 15, 2008
What I Did In This Summer -- Dock Masters In paradise


November 01, 2008
Over The Top Of Oz


October 16, 2008
The Tumultuous Tasman


October 01, 2008
Sweet Memories Of The Splendid Surins


September 15, 2008
And Then We Were In Malta


September 01, 2008
Feel Frees Siracusan Story


August 15, 2008
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times


August 01, 2008
All Tied Up In The Ionians


July 15, 2008
A Greek Odyssey Our Journey to Ithaca


July 01, 2008
Anatomy of a Near Catastrophe


June 15, 2008
Good-bye Turkey, Hello Greece


June 01, 2008
More Winter Cruising in Turkey


May 15, 2008
Winter Cruising in Turkey


April 15, 2008
Talking Turkey: Marmaris Marina Living


April 15, 2008
The Joy Of The Side Trip


April 01, 2008
Return to Marmaris, And The Budget


March 15, 2008
Passing Time And Dodging The Meltemi


March 01, 2008
Home Sweet Home


February 15, 2008
A Little Working, A Little Cruising


February 01, 2008
Working Our Way Around The World


January 15, 2008
Welcome Aboard Feel Free


January 01, 2008
Liz Tosonis and Tom Morkins Feel Free


January 01, 2008
About Tom Morkin and Liz Tosoni


January 01, 2008
About Feel Free


January 01, 2008
Voyage Itinerary


June 01, 2009
Dont Freak If Your Fridge Fails

By Liz Tosoni

With our first boat, Hoki Mai, we lived without refrigeration for nine years. That might sound a bit ascetic, even eccentric, but it actually wasn’t bad at all. In fact, it had a lot of advantages. Now, aboard Feel Free we have a fridge and freezer and do treasure the luxury, but find that often, if the sun isn’t providing enough solar energy to keep up with the power demands, we seamlessly slip back to our old ways, no hesitation.

Aboard Feel Free we have a fridge and freezer (seen here) but we lived “fridge free” for nine years aboard our first boat. Surprising to most people, we didn’t mind it at all.


Breakdowns need to be dealt with urgently if you have a freezer full of frozen goodies waiting to go bad. Preparing to cross the Pacific from Mexico, friends packed their fridge to the gills with frozen steaks, chops, chickens, fish, even ice cream. A few days out and the disaster happened. Their fridge failed and they were forced to throw away – yes, throw away! – all that beautiful stuff!

On the other hand, another cruising friend, when we mentioned something about making an adjustment to our fridge layout, came back with, “Why would you want to bother with a fridge? There’s no need for a fridge on a boat.” He’s completely content with his fridge-free status as he sails round the world.

There’s no denying that nothing can compare with an ice-cold drink on a tropical day. If you have an energy efficient system that’s easy to maintain, life is good. But if you find yourself without, the world will not fall apart. A lot of items last a long, long time without refrigeration, for example:
Cheese – Hard cheese lasts longer than soft. Wedges of parmesan, Romano, and mozzarella can keep for months, especially if kept in vinegar-soaked cheese cloth. We’ve also preserved cheese by immersing it in oil in a jar.
Eggs – In many countries, eggs are not refrigerated in stores and markets. If they are unwashed (sometimes hard to find) they will last even longer, several weeks in fact. Another way to make them keep longer is to slather them with Vaseline (before a long passage) and turn them regularly. We carried 200 eggs from Mexico to the Marquesas and kept (almost) all of them using this method.
Butter –  Anchor butter of New Zealand comes in one-pound cans of pure creamery butter and Malaysia also carries a brand. Of late, we’ve taken to using sunflower-oil spread; it has the same texture, color, and taste of butter, but is cholesterol free and doesn’t melt in the hot climate.
Milk – We use milk in our coffee and cereal, so always carry large supplies, either in the UHT (ultra-heat treated) boxes or whole-milk powder if we can find it, which comes in cans. You can get skim and whole milk varieties of both UHT and powdered.
Condiments – Opened bottles of catsup, barbeque sauce, mustard, relish, taco sauce, salsa, jams, salad dressings, mayonnaise, and so on are good for about a month before they begin to mold, so small containers are best. Honey lasts forever. Leftover meat, fish, pasta, rice, and anything else can be left in the cooking pot and reheated the next day.
“Refrigerate after opening”  Often, this is not necessary, even if it says so on the can or jar, as long as you exercise a little extra caution. If in doubt, throw it out.
Fruits and vegetables require no refrigeration and can be purchased in various stages of ripeness to ensure a steady supply for long periods of time. Just about everywhere you go local fruit and vegetable markets have high quality in-season produce at good prices. Very often, it’s picked that very morning.


Yesterday, we visited our first Tunisian market and it was outstanding – huge heaps of asparagus, peas in pods, strawberries, dates, oranges, apples, herbs, spices, and delicacies to make you drool.

The souk (local market) in Monastir, Tunisia overflows with produce galore.

When we head out on a long passage we always carry plenty of various types of fruits and veggies in ventilated bins that allow a good flow of air circulation. We follow the “rule of hardness.” The harder it is, the longer it will last. Potatoes, onions, and heads of cabbage are kept in bins in the bilge where it’s cooler and they are checked for bruises and turned often. Smelling like a dead animal, there’s nothing worse than a rotten potato lost in some remote corner of the boat, so we make sure they are well secured in their containers.
Especially on passages, dehydrated soups are great mainstays. When it’s too rough to make fancy meals, it’s a must to have fast, easy dishes that you can serve up with little effort. The night before a passage, I always cook up a large pot of something like chili or stew so that the first day out, we don’t have to think about what we’re going to eat. “Grab and eat” foods that require no more preparation than ripping a package open are good for passages too of course, especially during night watches. Fresh and dried fruit, granola, candy bars, jerky, and nuts are some of our favorites.
Being fridge-less means that you eat less (or no) meat, so if you can’t live without meat, you definitely won’t want to be without. It also means that you inevitably change your eating habits and cooking style, looking for ways to make the meals delicious and nutritious.  You end up getting much of your protein through legumes, various types of beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, economical foods which on their own are bland and boring but with the aid of spices and herbs, and a good recipe book, can be delectable, not to mention healthy.

Diverse spices from local markets can make every meal tasty and interesting. Textured vegetable protein is a dried soya-based meat substitute that takes on the flavors of whatever meal you are making. It needs to be soaked in water before cooking. In the Marquesas Islands, we had way more bananas than we could eat, so we dried some of them in the sun to make banana chips for snacks

A great discovery for us since we began cruising is TVP or textured vegetable protein. It is soya based, dried, and serves as a meat substitute, taking on the flavors of whatever meal you are making – curry, spaghetti sauce, whatever. It comes minced or chunky, lasts forever, and is inexpensive. You can provision your boat with large quantities, taking comfort in the knowledge that you won’t run out of a protein source for months on end.

Catching your own fish is almost guaranteed in some places, like the east coast of Australia. This tuna provided some nice sashimi.

If you love fresh fish as much as Tom and I do, catching your own is best and in some places, such as the Sea of Cortez, the Red Sea, or the east coast of Australia, it was almost guaranteed on a daily basis.
When we catch one that is too big to eat all at once, we do the following: First, we have tender fillets, usually pan fried, or if it’s tuna, the first course is sashimi. (By the way, we always carry a good supply of wasabi to mix with soy sauce for our sashimi.) We take about half of what’s left and coat it with a seasoned flour mix that can include cumin, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, or whatever strikes our fancy. We fry it in oil and it’s great for another day or two as a snack, in sandwiches or with rice. The remainder (except tuna as it’s too oily) we cut into thin strips, soak in a marinade of soy, sugar, ginger, and garlic (teriyaki) for a few hours. Then we drain off all the liquid and put it in the sun to dry. Voila! We have a flavored, dry fish to eat like jerky or throw in salads or sandwiches. 

When we catch a fish that is too big to eat all at once, we cut it into thin strips, soak it in a marinade, and then dry it in the sun. The result is a delicious “fish jerky” snack.


Another way to preserve extra fish is to pickle it with any number of pickling recipes available. The fish should last a couple of weeks.
While it’s true that refrigeration does preserve food and extend the life of some items, it may be somewhat overrated. We’re always astounded at the lengths to which people go to for the sake of their refrigerators. One couple we traveled with in the Maldives en route to the Red Sea backtracked 400 miles to windward in order to affect repairs and pick up parts. It meant that they ended up being well behind schedule for their Red Sea passage, and of course it also cost them all that extra effort as well as money. In the (humble) point of view of the crew of Feel Free, the refrigerator’s main contribution is cold drinks, though admittedly that’s an awfully good one.