Ham and Cheese galore: Provisioning for a long ocean passage

14 May

Our strategy for provisioning for the passage from Hawaii to Tahiti was simple: get as much ham and cheese as possible to fit in the fridge, prepackaged sliced bread, and fill the freezer with steak and bacon from my locally sourced ‘creatine dealer’ on Oahu. Supplement with fresh fruits & avocados for as long as they will last, and lots of dried foods like crackers, cookies, and these nifty little crepes that Costco started carrying recently, which were a real hit with the crew. One thing is for sure: there was no shortage of food or coconut cookies on this passage like the last one.

It turns out our fridge can carry a lot: 14 double packages of Ham and 17 double packages of Swiss Cheese from Costco, for a total of 1344 slices of ham and 1428 slices of cheese. I obviously overestimated our needs during and after the passage, and we still have about half that quantity in the fridge after more than a month. We only ate 336 slices of each during our 3 weeks at sea, and continue to make slow progress against what seems like a bottomless supply of Jarlsberg and Ham. This and the steaks came in handy once we arrived in Rangiroa – the stores there are sparsely provisioned, and the meat and cheese supplies were looking rather sad in frozen or canned form.

Fortunately the expiration dates are months into the future, and the steaks and bacon are almost fully consumed. The last slice of non-moldy bread was eaten yesterday. Overall, we were impressed with the pre-sliced Killer Dave packages, which lasted for 3 weeks in their packaging with no problems and only started developing mold in the last week. The fish in the lagoon ate well that day.

One last note is that about 10 days into the passage we decided to turn the freezer off in order to conserve power, so all frozen meats were moved to the fridge. They lasted well for the last 3 weeks, and our Rangiroa menu was filled with yummy steaks and bacon. In retrospect, we should have kept the freezer off to begin with (we should know better, the Autopilot takes so much extra power) and only taken a couple of the steaks with us to celebrate our arrival.

We’re almost in Papeete now and it will be fun to see what fresh local fish & fruit we can find at the Farmers Market. And maybe a baguette or two for those Ham and Cheese sandwiches.

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