Puddle Jump Prep!

Written March 7th, 2018

Preparing to Jump: Packing, Provisioning, and Last Minute Projects

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Our month of February went fast. I knew it would. We’ve have three individual family visits, saying bon voyage to both sets of parents and Clif’s Aunt, and we’ve managed to squeeze in some last minute (oh S@!%, wasn’t expecting that…) projects at the service dock in Marina La Cruz. Clif loves to quote the movie Captain Ron, “If it’s gonna happen, it’ll happen out there!” But it just seems to keep “happening” in here, and so the project list grows… Thankfully, all the projects have been fixable and nothing major, just routine maintenance on a 32-year-old sailing vessel. These words will continue to ring true in our lives for the year: 

Cruising is working on your boat in exotic ports.

One Morning, two weeks ago, right before my parents arrived, Clif went into the head, used it, and came out into the cabin, greeted by a surprising odor. Our sewage holding tank was full, and had completely rusted out a 1-inch hole in the front part of the tank. We were smelling the contents of our sewage pour into our bilge. Oh shit. Literally.

After an initial stinky clean up and investigation, we thanked our lucky stars that this had happened to us before the passage, AND while still in Mexico (land of cheap boat labor). We brought Sedna into the service dock the following day, got a quote from the service yard workers, and began the process of pulling out the tank— which took several guys, including a carpenter, who had to remove part of our floor and dresser drawers. It took an entire day for that crew to pull the sewage tank. They had to move one of our water tanks, and our sewage tank pump to make the feat feasible.

Right before the work was completed, I got sick with a terrible 24-hour bacterial infection (shocker!), and was totally out for three solid days— recovering only fully after five days. Being sick sucks, especially when your parents are visiting, your holding tank is not functioning, and your still trying to wrap your head around ocean crossings. But, I recovered, and can now devote all my energy on final preparations, provisions and otherwise!!

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A word about provisioning…

I have been mentally preparing myself and physically preparing the boat for this ocean crossing since we purchased Sedna. I have actively been thinking about provisions since last September. During the end of the salmon season in Alaska, we were canning salmon with dreams of eating in by the jar-full at sea. I continued to can different items through September, October, AND do some initial provisioning with our truck in Phoenix. The food stashing on this boat has been a slow process. I did eventually create a spreadsheet documenting all of our dry-goods, and I have a fairly good idea of the fruits and veggies I will be purchasing later this week before the passage begins… but please, rest assured, we will not starve. We might be eating off of our canned salmon for a while— and probably using it as gifts/trading goods in the islands.

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There has been a huge hustle and bustle over provisioning in the La Cruz area. Everyone wants to know what your meal planning is entailing, what you rely on for proteins, easy meals to pre-packages… etc. After getting myself worried about the task of feeding the crew, I had to remind myself, I’m feeding Clif. I know better than anyone else what we eat, what’s easy to quickly consume, and my husband is one of the least picky eaters on the planet! I did have my Mom bring down some US treats from the states for the passage including Luna Bars, Rx Bars, Costco-sized Almond Butter.

Some fun items I have added recently to our already grandiose dry-storage:

    - 120 Farm Fresh eggs

    - Locally-made salamis, pork jerky and cured ham slices- Vacuum-sealed

    - Hard Cheeses, vacuum-sealed

    - Canned Pineapple with Boxed Pineapple-Upside-Down Cake Mix for a special treat

    - 4 tubs of Nutella

    - 2 large jars of Almond Butter

    - Mae Ploy Curry Paste (Green and Red — I actually got these in L.A. this past fall), Palm Sugar    and Fish Sauce for Thai Curries

    - 44 Packages of Top Ramen 

    - Sushi Rice and Seaweed Papers

    - Canned Ginger Beets (I made these with fresh beets and ginger from local market)

    - Local Machaca (dried, shredded meat) from Guaymas, Sonora.

Fruits and Veggies (Added March 9th)

Half of the fun if provisioning is not the actual SHOPPING, but the STORING of the fruits and veggies. I have been trying to stuff my head with knowledge on what kind of vegetables can be next to each other in storage and what can't, how to protect certain produce from bruising or rotting prematurely, and how to keep fruits and veggies green and crisp for longer period of time. The pullman berth has not become a large storage for our water toys, extra sails, and the produce. With the recommendation of other fellow cruisers, I purchases some plastic baskets for some, and used some larger plastic crates to store the higher quantities of produce (example: potatoes and onions). Just as an example of what I've purchased, we have...

35 large potatoes, 30 onions (red and white), 20 large carrots, 25 green/red tomatoes, 25 apples, 10 oranges, 3 green pineapples, 5 different types of small melons, 3 large head of cabbage, chiles, beets, garlic, 4 monster jicama, cucumbers, and much more...

I have recently been reading through Lin Pardey’s book, an oldie but a goodie, “Care and Feeding of Crew.” Some of the ideas I skimmed out of her book included storing softer cheeses in jars of olive oil, garlic and rosemary. I’m hoping that we can open these after the hard cheese runs out. Her salt-water bread recipe works great for two small loaf pans, I’ve had success with that, as well as some good information on keeping eggs. Several friends have made me paranoid of hatching actual chickens during the passage, if that is the case, I most definitely would keep at least one… and that would make for a very exciting daily check-in.

RIP the Old Mainsail… 

We have been babying our old tanbark mainsail, hoping that it could make it through the sun and the heat of the long Pacific Passage. We have a brand new tanbark sail that has been waiting patiently in the wings. Well, yesterday, during a day sail with Clif’s Aunt Dana, Clif hoisted the sail, loosening it out of it’s first reef, and heard a rip. Actually, he didn’t hear a rip— Dana and I heard a rip, while he continued hoisting. The sail was caught on a line that was holding the bottom section of the sail against the boom while we were reefed, and the sail split in half very smoothly and easily. A clean, long tear. It’s terrible sight. My only solace was that we had a new sail, ready to fly, AND thank goodness we didn’t have the change the entire mainsail out on the ocean!! It was difficult just to remove the sail while out in Banderas Bay.

So, we’re starting out our passage, and our cruising season in the South Pacific with a brand, spanking new mainsail.

Shoving Off...

  Clif doing a rig inspection on Friday morning. And, look at our new burgee!!

Clif doing a rig inspection on Friday morning. And, look at our new burgee!!

Everyone has been asking about our shove off date, which is hard to narrow down until we’re feeling ready, but we have been urged on by the first wave of Puddle Jumpers checking out and sailing across. The couple that left first are two weeks out, and already half-way across! Two boats we became close with left several days ago— so the fire is under our feet. We brought Sedna into the marina again today for final provisioning (fruits/veggies/perishables), cleaning and stowing the dinghy, switching bunks and re-organizing storage…etc. We're planning on untying the dock lines Sunday or Monday (March 11th or 12th), and heading straight out to the Socorro Islands from there (which is a three day hop)… seems like an itty, bitty hop when you’re planning on sailing 2,500 miles after that. But it’s time to go! We’re scheduled to hit the weather window just write, maybe leave a couple days prior to a large group of “mid-March” jumpers. Beat the rush to Fatu Hiva and Hiva Oa— Because there actually is a rush! The anchorages get crowded in a month or so… I’ve never been more excited to reach a crowded anchorage, and we haven’t evened checked out yet!

Won’t be updating the blog for at least a month after this post. Looking forward to publishing my passage thoughts from a tiny shack in the Marquesas. Bon Voyage.

Giselle Miller