Apart from ‘Big Moments’, days merge into one another out here – I often find it hard to remember what happened a few days ago when trying to fill in my sometimes-neglected logbook. Life on the ocean is at once both timeless and driven by working towards targets of little or larger increments of the stuff.
Yesterday, (so I thought until my logbook told me it was the day before) I spent quite a few hours going right through the forward cabin and lockers in the middle of the boat cleaning, sorting, foraging for treats and assessing the food situation. Given that we still have a long way to row (some 2630 nautical miles) to reach Vancouver Island, I thought it useful to know the foody fate that awaits. The good news is I don’t think I am going to starve – both the volume of untouched food and my own still-carrying-plenty-of-extra-bulk state reassures me of this.
Anyone who knows me well or who has read my book knows that my impulsive nature makes me totally useless at rationing delicious treats. I always take satisfaction in chuckling at my own daftness when faced with a lack of a treat on account of having scoffed the lot previously. On the Indian Ocean in 2009, for example, I ran out of chocolate a few weeks before the end – not for want of chocolate (I started out with around 500 bars), just for want of will power. I bore my lot with a laugh and I know that I shall be doing the same this time as well, though perhaps not with chocolate; I have even more onboard this time and days go by when I don’t eat any at all. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t for lack of interest and I am stoked to be sponsored by Mars – but rather for being busy with other things that need eating more imminently.
Biscuits for example. On the Indy I only took about ten packets of biscuits, somehow thinking that would be plenty, without considering my capacity to eat a full packet in one sitting. So this time I not only have three times as many packets, but I am also sponsored by Walkers – the shortbread Gods – and so have (had) hundreds of snack packs of shortbread as well.
The stock take was both pleasing and a bit demoralising. Good for the confidence I won’t starve, as mentioned, and the fact there are plenty of treats in there to keep me entertained for a while yet – four big tubs of peaches for example, lots of sweets, a good few gins and still a few bottles of fizz, and plenty of wet meals, cous cous, seeds and mashed potatoes, which are all firm favourites. The demoralising bit is the dried meals, or specifically the custard, the scrambled egg breakfasts and noodle meals. There must be over one hundred packets of custard with apple and custard with berries still as I have only eaten a couple of packets so far and not been enamoured. Scrambled egg and potato meals are even more frightening than the custard. I emptied four packets overboard before thinking I ought not to tempt fate, but knowing that I would rather eat my friends the fish beneath my boat than that dried-vomit eggy stuff. And the Asian noodle meals – I love a noodle but it feels like every time I have a dried meal it is noodles.
Chatting with a friend afterwards he remarked how funny it was that life on expedition revolves around whatever you are doing and food – it is true. Certainly for me it is – I love my food and I love being interested in it and often spend time in the day deciding what I shall eat and if I can embellish it with treats or flavours. Even something as simple as cous cous with pesto and olives and seeds feels like I am cooking up a feast – the very act of preparing food is therapeutic and way more engaging than pouring boiling water into a bag of ‘Meal X’ or ‘Meal Y’. This time round I have brought many more foods which are not dried ready meals and I think I shall reduce the latter even further on the Atlantic next year as I am just not a fan. And, when you are out for months at a time on your own, food is fuel for the spirit as much as, and at times more than, the muscles.
So with that, I must go and see to the most recently stranded petrels who have ended up aboard Happy Socks. I’ve already popped three back out overboard.
Until next time,
Sarah and Happy Socks x
Replies to comments:
Cindy Gomez: I believe Ipadio are working on an app for iphones and ipads…
Virgil Funderburk: Wind and currents often take me backwards, yes. It’s all about making the best of whatever is thrown my way.