Day 90: Custard ahead…

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.

Chocolate at any time of the day or night is always welcome

Chocolate at any time of the day or night is always welcome

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.

Oatcakes - one of the more delicious foods onboard

Oatcakes – one of the more delicious foods onboard

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.

Dried food.... useful but loses its charm quickly

Dried food…. useful but loses its charm quickly

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.

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11 Responses to Day 90: Custard ahead…

  1. Tari says:

    Mouse, I guess you didn’t get to try all the dried foods you’ve packed up into Happy Socks. What a shame! Thinking that all the space could’ve been replaced by chocolates!!! Or OrangePot cookies!
    I’m still happily munching the extra Mars Bars I’ve ‘rescued’ from the “can’t be taken to sea” pile in Choshi. Thank you, by the way, am planning to make some mars bars cookies soon.

    In any case, happy to hear that you still have loads of foods on board. Otherwise those jumping squid is always an option. 🙂

  2. h says:

    It’s funny, I can’t stand scrambled eggs (or prepared eggs in any form, other than when used in baking), but when I was a kid, those little globs of scrambled eggs were my favorite part of the pot-o-noodles cups. That said, I don’t think I’d enjoy a whole packet like you have. Perhaps you can find a way to mix the scrambled eggs in with some other meal for a higher protein packed meal without the obvious eggy non-goodness.

    We don’t have packet custard here (unless you look in the teeny tiny brit section of the grocery store). America just isn’t a custard-eating nation. Sure we have our baked custards and our flan, but custard as sauce to pour over cake or pie, or runny custard in general, isn’t something we do here. It’s a shame, it’s probably tastier than some of the other junk we eat (like jello pudding. Gross), though not in quantities that you’re carrying onboard! 🙂
    Safe travels!!

  3. I have very sympathy with you….packet scrambled egg (even just the thought of it) makes my stomach churn!

  4. Louise and Ray says:

    Oh Sarah can’t believe you are shunning custard. I have a firm culinary belief that there is nothing that can’t be rescued by a pint of custard or cheese sauce (not interchangeable)!!. How lucky to be sponsored by Walker’s shortbread – absolutely the best – as are their oatcakes. When I did the long run I mentioned recently, I really craved a coffee (they had said there would be hot drinks at the pit stops but, in fact, there weren’t on day one – all ok on day 2 tho’) and a sausage. Delighted to dind at the exc village pub some first rate sausages on the menu for my tea!! So…. really appreciate the importance food has for you other than it’s main function. Not sure I would be much good on a long expedition if I get cravings on day one!!
    Much love from a beautifully sunny Louth (Lincolnshire not Ireland) Lou and Ray xx

  5. Susie Hewson says:

    I made a lovely rhubarb crumble last night you would have been welcome to. Used organic ingredients, of course – you know me – SR flour, jumbo oats, ground almonds, butter, baked lovely on top of the stewed rhubarb. Offered custard but there were no takers…! Last Sunday at the end of the Great Weston ride, there were supposed to be veggie burgers – there was, but cooked on the griddle same as the meat…SO I went hungry… but it happens every year, so I don’t get my hopes up for anything and I am never disappointed cos I get nothing!!! – though there was that ice cream earlier 🙂 Exercise and food definitely identical twins. I tried that dried meal stuff ONCE when trekking, YUKYgrossmonstermeals – worse thing is, you have to carry the stuff, adding weight, for no enjoyment in return. Total waste of space… love to think of you prepping gourmet meals in Happy Socks – candelabras and the works (minus custard of course) xxx Susie

  6. Susan Scott-Ker says:

    What about custard with semi-melted twix swirls or chunks, or custard with peaches when the day comes to open the peaches…..or crumble some oat cakes on top for a peach and custard crumble!

  7. Christine & Kathleen says:

    Hi Sarah

    What a lovely report about your food stakes, it brought many smiles I can tell you. The things you don’t like you just have to pretend they are something you do, it does help a little. Glad you won’t starve though and that you are sponsored by Mars and Walkers, they do so many lovely treats.

    Keep going in the right direction and the miles are going by.

    All the salty best and happy rowing,

    Big Hug and jeep up the wonderful reports. We know only too well the days merge into one another.

    K & C

  8. Stephen King says:

    Sarah – I have just finished reading your DIP IN THE OCEAN and been inspired to follow your progress on this big trip. Wishing you all the best of favorable winds, currents and health, from all in Adelaide – South Australia.

  9. Rob Hart says:

    Hmmm, I’ve always found that Freeze dried meals at the end of a day tramping were wonderful! Must admit that dried egg doesn’t appeal but Custard is great, on occasion!

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