Thanks to my dad’s midlife crisis, every two years my family tends to go on a cruising adventure so that a) we can holiday together and b) dad can feel like Captain Caruso.
We usually hire a catamaran and our journeys have included the Great Barrier Reef, Malaysia, Thailand, Greece and Croatia. And no doubt many more adventures are yet to come…
We’re a pretty organised bunch and we’re a family of pretty high-standards foodies. Our time away revolves around meals.
No matter how different a schedule people want to follow each day (someone may want to bliss out and read for hours, others may want to swim alongside the boat, others might be keen to captain – if dad is willing to relinquish command for a spell), we will all converge in the same place at the same time for food, and we will all come with high expectations.
So – how do foodies make the most of life away from land for up to five days at a time?
Get the cooking roster sorted
We are a family of foodies who love to eat as well as prepare meals. So we will usually approach the holiday by organising a bit of a cooking roster that’s divided into couples. It’s up to each couple to determine what’s going to be cooked on their scheduled day. Once this is determined, we need to make sure there’s no double up with other couples’ cooking plans, and then it’s all about drawing up a shopping list that combines everyone’s ingredients. This can be done in excel – everyone drops in their list and then someone sorts it out in alphabetical order and removes any double up (but factors in that multiple orders will be needed before removing the double up!). Then you’ve got one single master list that makes for a pretty efficient shop-up when you arrive in Port and want to spend less time looking for groceries and more time getting the boat ready for sail.
Buy before setting sail
Depending on where you are going, there are some staples that you might want to purchase and pack when you’re still at home. For example, if you are unwilling to give up porridge every morning then it makes sense to pack your oats before you leave, just in case the supermarkets don’t stock the brand you like. Bear in mind this can only be done if there are no biosecurity considerations at your destination.
Don’t just rely on fresh
Sure you have a fridge and freezer system, but you’re going to need to factor in keeping perishables in good condition for as long as possible, especially if you’re sailing in hot conditions for several days and have no intention of returning to land. Just make sure you’ve got enough ‘plan B’ food should something go wrong – like losing power.
Don’t rely on fishing skills and the fact fish are biting
Although we’re all excellent fish eaters, none of us are all that gifted when it comes to baiting fish. We’re not the sort of family that will set sail assuming we will catch our dinner for every night we’re out. That said, if we strike it lucky then we will most certainly opt for a BBQd or grilled fresh fish over anything we may have otherwise planned, but again – it’s all about having a plan B when you’re away from land for quite a while. That said we often encounter proper fishermen and women out on the water who are willing to do a bit of a contra deal – some of their fish for perhaps our beer, or our fresh fruit. Perfect!
Certainly in Asia and Europe our sailing trips were as much about visiting local islands and mainland towns as they were about enjoying the water. Whenever we did moor or anchor we’d go looking for authentic local food. Often we’d opt to simply buy the local ingredients rather than always hanging around on land and eating in a local establishment. Going up to fisherman and making them an offer is always fun, and you can strike up a great conversation and find out a lot more about a place when you’re dealing with every day locals.
There is nothing – absolutely nothing – quite like anchoring a boat near the edge of a secluded island, going for a swim, getting back to whip up some incredible meal and then watching the sun sink on the watery horizon; a glass of something chilled in hand, a plate of something sensational on lap, and total time out with people you love.