Vacuum Packed Chicken and Pickled Cabbage

Elise, Gordon & Steve
Thanksgiving Dinner 2013, RC Louise

It’s over a month since Temptress was towed into Puerto Calero, Lanzarote and we are still here though the boat has moved all of 20 metres to the next pontoon across. It was easier to move than to try to turn Temptress round so that she is bows-to for work on the new pulpit with the bonus that access by boatyard staff on this pontoon is easier.

Repairs have got under way but it is a frustratingly slow process. At first Kevin was busy gathering insurance quotes, finding a shipping company for the rudder etc but now we have to wait for the tasks to be done. A sturdy new pulpit has appeared on the bow, but as yet no navigation lights. The mainsail has been repaired but remains on the sail loft floor, Kevin will go and assist the sailmaker to fold it again next week. Sprayhood repairs will be completed on Monday or Tuesday but the rudder has unfortunately been seriously delayed by a lack of suitable steel, we hope for good news tomorrow on that front. All in all it looks like we’ll be celebrating Christmas here.

Oud-Arn, Tracy, Susie & Kevin

In our spare time other things get done. We’ve cleaned fenders, rinsed Moroccan mud from our mooring lines, pondered over how to fix the trim round the forepeak hatch and achieved a zillion other bits and pieces. The boat inside and out looks a bit of a mess with boxes, buckets and general boat clutter strewn everywhere. We sit on bunk cushions from an aft cabin round the saloon table. In between we’ve been exploring the island, even finding the enthusiasm for some geocaching which here amongst the lava rocks is a bit like the challenges of Omani caching. Which rock? Do you remember the picture?

Fitting the new pulpit

The forward heads has become a bit of a nuisance –  it fills with seawater slowly. Fortunately the sea level outside the boat is such that the bowl never overflows but it is an inconvenience to have to pump it out before you use it. The valve seals look serviceable, Kevin took the pump apart and cleaned the components a week or so ago but after only a couple of days water began to seep in again. It has done this on and off since we left Southsea and had one replacement set of flap valves fitted already this year. A messy investigation task for the coming week.

Mainly we have been sorting out storage for the massive amount of provisions that four people will need for six weeks and beyond. Provisioning occupies our thoughts continually as we think through storage, ideas for menus, discover from other cruisers strategies for preserving fresh stuff as long as possible etc and is a welcome distraction from the repair project.

Our  trip across the pond will take three weeks or perhaps four if we spend some time in the Cape Verdes, add a contingency of at least a week and extra stores as the Caribbean can be expensive. (Did we mention that this is our revised destination as we don’t fancy the 1200 mile of headwinds the Pilot Atlas predicts to the east of Brazil late January early February?)

Food for six weeks plus is therefore required. Fresh foods like meat and veg are simply not going to last that long so Temptress has to be loaded with tins and dry stores like flour, pulses and beans. Potentially four weeks of eating meals made from canned food means variety will be key to keeping the crew happy so we are also adding tins never normally consumed like peaches – for breakfast as well as for desert and frankfurters (can you make a decent sausage casserole with these?). Utilising our hire car we’ve bought a massive amount of stuff already and have got to know what Lidl, Hiperdino and Eurospar offer. The focus has been on long term, heavy stuff like tins plus items we may not easily find “over there” like favourite coffee, shampoo and the like. More perishable items can wait until the crew arrive in January. We’ve also purchased foodstuffs that are relatively cheap here like powdered milk and washing up liquid. And edible items unique to Spain such as a vacuum packed cooked chicken (best before Feb 2014), hard cheeses (keep forever) and chorizios (also keeps for a long long time). But where to put it all?

Dry Stores & UHT Milk

Some of the bottles and jars

Surrounded by tins – we mark the contents on the top
making it easier to spot what’s what from above
Wine for drinking before we leave!

The bilges are almost full – a couple of dozen tins of tomatoes, what seems like six months worth of baked beans, corned beef and car crash (tinned sardines in tomato sauce, a sandwich favourite) plus lots of other stuff. The aft heads space under the sink is crammed with packs of loo roll in protective bin liners (trying to estimate the quantities required reduced us to some schoolboy humour). A cubbyhole under the chart table is likewise stuffed with eight kitchen rolls and three boxes of Kleenex, I was amazed just how much could be fitted in this spot which has housed only a roll of flags for many years.

Under the saloon table are currently two folding crates full of tins of veg, jars of potatoes, tetra packs of sugar and jars of Nescafe Alta Rica. Saloon lockers are beginning to fill with dry stores like pasta and rice but we know there will be more to come; flour, yeast, kidney beans (if we can find them), drinking chocolate, the provisions list is endless and the quantities measured in kilos or dozens.

One locker space Jeanneau hadn’t though of!

Other boats appear to have far more storage than Temptress with lockers behind and above the saloon seating backs as well as below the seating. It’s the price we pay for an airy open saloon. So we started looking at our boat with new space greedy eyes. Are there any “dead spaces” behind all that teak that are currently inaccessible? Well yes definitely behind the curves of the porthand sofa. With the upholstery all away being renewed we took up the challenge. Kevin drilled a thumb sized pilot hole and we eagerly peered in with the help of a torch. Both ends revealed sizeable voids. I went out for an hour or so and when I returned neat ovals had been cut. A couple of judiciously placed pieces of marine ply prevent any contents sliding beyond arms reach along the back of the sofa. Temptress has two new lockers. A length of table protector will pad the hull to prevent rattles and condensation then we can put the lockers to use. We are now wondering where else!

The ongoing debate is how/where we’ll store kilograms of potatoes which need cool and dark conditions to survive without sprouting. Usually we have a couple of kilos under the galley sink but the space is too small for much more. The cool box will be turned into the boat’s fruit and veg store and the beer in the fridge will have to give way to dairy stuff and fresh meat for the first part of the voyage. We collected plastic egg boxes in Morocco to protect four dozen eggs or so (the actually quantity is a bit of a weird number as eggs came in fifteens or dozens). Apparently eggs keep for long periods unrefrigerated (and they rarely are on Temptress) if turned every couple of days. There is space on top of the sail repair box to stow the boxes though they probably will need some padding (an alternative use for beach towels?).

The skipper nose in a good book

Remind anyone of DXB? Actually Playa Blanca

The square at Femes

Beating to windward off Punta Pechiguera

The lighthouse, Punta Pechiguera

Another distraction is planning our landfall. Which courtesy flag(s) do we need to make? Our Pilot Guide for the Lesser Antilles is over two decades old, should we buy a new one for more recent immigration/customs formalities and harbour info? We have up to date electronic charts which hopefully will show new marina developments in former anchorages so we can avoid them. And then there is deciding which island to actually head for, after all it helps setting off across the Atlantic if you know approximately the course required to reach a destination even if ultimately we make landfall elsewhere. Whatever happens the crew will not starve though they could be eating some strange combinations if the voyage takes to long; pickled cabbage and fruit cocktail anyone!