Provisioning for four months is a huge job. How am I supposed to know what I will want to eat in three months time? I don’t know what I want for my supper tonight!!
It’s not like you can’t buy food in the Bahamas, of course you can! However, you won’t find the type of grocery store you’re used to at home. I know of only four places in the Bahamas where you can find American type grocery stores. The rest of the stores are more similar to convenience type corner store we’d find at home in Toronto, and even then, they are not that well stocked! Many people who live here in the Bahamas tend to order their groceries ahead of time and they are then either flown in or brought to their island by the mail boat. Because of this the shops don’t carry a huge amount of stock. Because of this and the increased cost of food (transportation and the duty on goods entering the country greatly increase the price of food) boaters stock up on food before leaving the US.
Some cruisers are very accurate in their planning and count out how many dinners they will need (120 suppers for 4 months) then make a list of standard meals they like and figure out how many times they want to make each meal. We were a bit random in our planning but did workout how many times we thought we’d make spaghetti or curry or have steak over the four months and made sure we had enough canned tomatoes, curry paste and any meats that we know are hard to find or just plain expensive in the Bahamas.
Dry and canned goods are pretty easy to store on the boat, it the meat that is tricky…
Our freezer is not huge, but we’ve learned how to make the most of the space. First of all, meat with bones takes a lot of space. It’s better if chicken breasts have no bones and certainly, no whole chickens!
We hesitated on buying too much meat all at once as it doesn’t freeze efficiently if too much goes in at once and as a result we didn’t leave with as much as last year.
This is what was in the freezer when we left the states early December…
11 chicken breasts (not enough…)
1 beef stew (we had three but ate two before leaving the US)
1 country captain chicken stew (same as the beef stew, it doesn’t last long on the boat!)
7 pulled pork meals
3 pork skewer meals
2 pork chops
2 pounds ground beef (not enough!)
6 hot dogs
½ pound Havarti
3 pounds cheddar (easy to find and cheap in Bahamas)
2 pkg shredded mozzarella
3 wedges of parmesan
3 soft cheeses
5 baguettes (Pillsbury)
2 cracker cheeses (this is sliced cheese already cracker size, so easy to put out for happy hour)
We also have a mountain of canned goods and snacks for sharing on the beach with others. We brought some long life milk, but found last year it was pretty easy to find fresh milk, so just bought a couple of tetra packs for when we run out unexpectedly. Candy is also expensive, so we have dark chocolate bars and dark chocolate covered blueberries for treats. Cereal is expensive here in the Bahamas so we picked up Raisin Bran and my fav Go Lean Crunch in jumbo versions from Sam’s Club.
Since we are also traveling with our dog, Poppy, we needed to consider her food supply as well. Bags of dog food are not typically well sealed and since we don’t want to encourage any bugs on the boat we repackaged all her food for 4 months in vacuum packed bags. Tim measured out the food so that each package would fill the plastic bin we keep within easy reach for her twice a day meals.
However, one of the most important considerations in planning this trip is the booze! A case of beer in the US will cost $20 bucks (I know, it’s nothing compared to Canada!) but in the Bahamas it will cost $50 and up for 24 beers. Wine that costs $10 in the US can easily cost $20 and up here. We have at least 10 cases of beer stowed plus 15 boxes of wine in various nooks and crannies of the boat. These supplies are rounded out with some craft beer and bottle wine for special occasions. We believe this to be more than needed for a four month stay, but should we happen to run out, Rum in the islands is cheap!