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


March 01, 2010
Provisioning for the Atlantic Crossing

By Liz Tosoni

I have to admit it, there was more than one night of tossing and turning. Thinking about the crossing. Thinking about feeding four people. Provisioning for Tom and me is one thing, we’ve done it so many times. We were delighted that old friends and seasoned sailors Gus Kolaric and David Allester agreed to join us for our longest passage yet, in 24 years (off and on) of cruising, but the idea of 2,700 miles translating to an equation of (approximately) 20 days X 4 people X 3 meals= 240 meals, not counting meals in port before departure and after arrival in the Barbados, was frankly, daunting! I lay awake at night agonizing over the prospect.

Las Palmas in the Canary Islands was our kick-off point for our passage to Barbados in the Caribbean, a distance of about 2,700 nautical miles and our longest in 24 years of cruising (on and off).

We’d been stocking up on certain specialty items we’d found in various countries prior to arriving in Las Palmas such as olives, olive oil, almonds and cous cous in Tunisia. We still had a huge supply of good flour in one kilo bags from Thailand, and lots of good but inexpensive coffee, UHT milk, wine and beer from mainland Spain. Our supply of some canned goods was pretty good too but we would need more. How do you decide how much of each item to carry, how many potatoes, oranges, apples, tomatoes, canned goods… how much rice, pasta, cereal, soup (and the list goes on) would be needed for four hungry sailors for 20 days at sea?

There were several good supermarkets in Las Palmas to choose from. The one that became our favorite was Hiper Dino as it was a 10 minute bicycle ride from the marina so it was easy for Tom and me to make regular runs, loading up our bicycle carts. They deliver free of charge to the marina, for the big loads, so we took advantage of that service too.

Feel Free would have to become a floating grocery store/restaurant for a period of at least three weeks and our departure date was fast approaching. It was time to get serious. No more daydreaming about it. The first step was to take an inventory of what was already on board to determine what was required. It was a surprising exercise. For example, we still had 13 cans of pineapple, 5 of cranberry sauce, 9 of spinach, all from a stocking up in Australia back in 2004!

I love this type of provisioning- a case of this, 10 packages of this, 20 of that. We love these cookies so let’s get 10 packages. Everybody fancies granola for breakfast, better get 10. We use canned tomatoes with so many recipes so another case is definitely in order. Oh, yum, nougat, gotta have a few boxes. 

The question then becomes- where to put all the goods? How can we possibly stow all this stuff? Somehow, we always manage to find a spot for everything and this time we did too.

After Gus and David arrived, we got their input to make sure we’d have their favorite foods and ingredients on board as well. Have to keep the crew happy!

As soon as Gus and David arrived they were pitching in, offering their culinary skills, cranking out delicious and exotic meals. Gus actually brought two cookbooks along and had already planned several meals he’d be preparing en route. It was a great relief to know that all crew members would be taking turns in the galley. My anxiety began to wane.

During our discussions about quantities of fresh produce, we came up with a ball park figure: assuming 20 days of passage making, and four people, we’d need one unit per person per day of many items such as oranges and apples. That meant 80 apples, 80 oranges, 80 potatoes etc. I know, that’s very unscientific, but at least it gave us a number to work with.

Las Palmas has an excellent produce Mercado and the day before departure we loaded up there. In one of the larger shops, the owner took us under her wing, guiding us to all the choice items and making sure we got the freshest stuff they had. Canaria mango- miu dulce- try, try!

Flats of eggs were packaged tidily in saran wrap. We always make sure to turn the eggs during the passage. In the past we’ve smeared the eggs in Vaseline to further ensure longevity.

Fruits and veggies were stored in plastic ventilated bins in the passageway where they would be checked regularly for bruising and spoilage.

We bought both red and green tomatoes, and green and yellow bananas. The green tomatoes were wrapped in newspaper to allow them to last longer. They, along with potatoes and onions, were placed in their own separate bins in the coolest, driest place, the bilge.

A huge block of cheese was bought, then cut into four equal portions for separate storage. We had a large amount of mosquito netting on board so decided to cut it up and use it as cheese cloth. I soaked it in vinegar, then wrapped the cheese in the soaked cloth and placed each block in its own storage unit.

Slowly but surely, the items on my “To buy” list were getting crossed off. When it finally looked like this, we were just about ready, or so we hoped!

With ship’s stores complete, rigging and systems all checked and in good order, emergency ditch kit assembled, first aid kit examined and replenished, water and diesel taken on and the crew briefed, the excitement was mounting.

All that was needed was the “bilge slaw” I always make before every long distance voyage, a good hearty meal to have the first day out, and of course, the perfect weather window.

Bilge Slaw Skye

This recipe comes from Kottie of Sky II who gave it to me many years ago. It is a mainstay aboard Feel Free before every long passage.

1 large head cabbage shredded

1 onion chopped

4 carrots grated (optional)

1 green pepper chopped (optional)

½- cup sugar, 1 cup vinegar, ½ cup oil= bring these 3 to a boil

Dry mustard, garlic, dill, caraway seeds, salt, pepper, according to taste

Pour over veggies and let stand at least overnight. Keeps for 2- 3 weeks (even without refrigeration, hence the name). Drain and add to tuna and mayo for sandwiches.

So, just to summarize, here are a few pointers about long passage provisioning you might find useful:

1) Buy dry goods like rice, flour, beans and cereal in multiple, well packaged, small units rather than in large quantities (10 or 20 lb. bags) as the chances for them to go bad are reduced, and storage is made easier.

2) If you enjoy meat, buy quantities of canned ham, chicken and beef as well as salami and pepperoni in case refrigeration fails. Refrigeration can and does fail; we know of many boats whose refrigeration went bust on passage so we always keep that in mind. In fact, we always set out with no fresh meat.

3) Preserve cheese by using vinegar soaked cheese cloth (see above).

4) Before departure, make up a large vegetable dish (like cole slaw, above) that will last a while, as well as other meals for ready use. That way, if it’s too rough to cook/prepare while under way, you don’t need to. We know cruisers (with large freezers) who package 20 meals ahead of time.

5) Turn eggs and check for spoilage regularly. Smear them with Vaseline if you want them to last even longer. Unwashed, unrefrigerated eggs last longer than washed, refrigerated ones.

6) Wrap items like tomatoes and oranges in newspaper, for better protection and longevity.

7) Carry lots of long lasting vegetables like cabbage heads, potatoes, onions, jicama and pumpkins. Check and change their positions regularly to avoid bruising and keep in ventilated bins or hammocks in a cool, dry place.

8) Buy lots of treats to enjoy on night watches. We use a wicker basket, fill it with goodies that are easily grabbed, and place it in an easily accessible spot for munching under the stars.

9) Carry a variety of fishing lures for trailing.

10) Bicycles are a must aboard Feel Free, not only for provisioning, but also for generally checking a place out and getting around to see what there is to see; so if you have room on your boat, definitely carry bikes! They can make the difference between enjoying a place or not.