Tag Archives: Provisioning

Provisions for the Remote Islands

We prepare to live in very remote, isolated islands with very little access to modern grocery stores.  It requires a lot of planning, shopping, organization, and storage.  This blog outlines our process to prepare the boat for the provisions.

We have a 7-page excel spreadsheet with our “normal” provisions.  It includes everything we use on a daily basis like spices, cheese, pastas, cleaning agents, beauty, oils, sauces, etc…It takes me 2 days to go through our inventory and check it against our current stock, then notate it on the spreadsheet to determine what is needed.  I pull everything out of the cabinets, pantries, and drawers to check expiration dates, quality, and stock.

Once I have my list I show it to Matt, the chef to ensure he is happy with the new shopping list.  And off we go.

Big Box Stores

We are lucky enough to have one Costco in New Zealand.  The problem is that it is located in Auckland.  So, we borrow our friend’s car and make a big run to the “city.” Strangely enough, NZ Costco does not accept US Costco members so we have to join the NZ Costco.  While we are there, we also stop at Martha’s Backyard which has a lot of American items.  We also swing by the Dive Doctor to get compressor oil, and a few other stops.

We come back to empty the car and head back out again to Pak N Save.  This will be the first of many stops to the grocery store.  But since we have a car, we decide to get the heavy items (canned goods, water bottles, etc…)

Can you tell I love to bake?  We have (3) 5lb bags of flour (to go with the 15lbs we already have on the boat), 6lbs of white sugar, 6lbs of brown sugar, tons of granola bars, and 12 bags of baking chips (to go with the 4lbs onboard).

We purchased a lot of meats at Costco.  This requires us to unwrap each package and vacu-seal the meat.  Vacu-sealing the meat helps the meat last longer, prevents freezer burn, and helps us store the meat more efficiently.  But it does take a lot of effort.

While Matt is vacu-sealing the meat, I am marking each can with its ingredients, pealing off the labels, and wrapping the bottom of the can with painters tape.  We remove the labels because “weebles/bugs” like to hide in the glue.  We tape the bottom of the can as it prevents them from rusting.  It is all a process.

Matt re-packed 48 chicken boobs, 12 packs of bacon, and 6 packs of pork shoulder (future pulled port).  We later went back and got several racks of ribs, and meat and veggie patties.

More Provisions

We ordered our beer from Countdown (Woolworth) because they deliver.  I spoke to the super helpful liquor manager and he was able to procure Matt’s beer (never stored cold).  I then ordered our Allan Scot Rose and my Malibu pre-mixed drinks from Wine.central.com and they delivered.  Much easier for us.  This should last us awhile!

And two more large provision runs…

Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind live events.  This blog post occurred in Mid-May.  We complete the final touches on Sugar Shack just before we splash.

Tahiti Marina Taina

Tahiti: The Land of Plenty

Toau was so beautiful that we did not want to leave.  However, I needed to get to Tahiti to prepare for my visit back to the States and we had a laundry list of chores to do before I left.  So, we head to Tahiti – the land of the plenty.  Tahiti is a necessary evil.  We go here to provision (with real grocery stores), obtain boat parts, bulk items (TP, paper towels, trash bags), hardware stores, and run errands (oh so many errands).  But first we have to get there.

Passage to Tahiti

The passage from Toau to Tahiti is about 250nm from pass to pass.  We estimated it to take 2 days to get there based on light winds from the NW.  Originally, we had hoped to fly the spinnaker for the first day and then switch to the working sails when the wind shifted to SE.  Unfortunately, the weather gods were playing tricks on us again.  We had winds directly on the nose at 2-4kts.  Not good for sailing so we ended up motoring for the first 20+ hours.  Finally, the wind filled in a smidge which allowed us to sail at 5-6kts.

We arrived into Point Venus, Tahiti in the middle of the night.  We know this anchorage and have been here several times before.  So, we felt comfortable coming into this very large, well-marked anchorage at night.  We dropped the hook, went to sleep and moved the boat to Papeete in the morning.

Things to do:

  • Pick up Matt’s new passport from U.S. Consulate
  • Pick up both of our new carte de sejure (long stay visas) from Tahiti Crew
  • Pick up 50L of rum from Airiki Noa Noa (Tahitian Rum)
  • Obtain a duty -free fuel certificate (saves us 40% on diesel)
  • Provisioning (Carrefor, Super U, Champion)
  • Big Box Stores (Maxi’s, Polynesian Trading, Tahiti Pas Cher, etc…)
  • Boat Parts (Sing Tung Hing, Ocean 2000)
  • (3) Hardware stores
  • Bank ($, $, $, $)
  • Shell Gas station to buy 20L of oil (for both diesel engines)
  • Errands: Electrosav, Auto Parts, Wing Chang (25kilo flour)


  • Fix outboard at Yamaha (not shifting properly)
  • Inspect and fill Dive Tanks and repair regulator
  • Get fuel (both diesel and gasoline)
  • Provision for fresh goods (fruit and veggie), frozen and cold goods

Normally, Matt and I have to make a bazillion trips to each of the stores because we don’t have a car and can only carry so much.  Typically, it is a 2+ mile walk, a bus ride, and another 0.5 mile walk to the dinghy, load the dinghy and then transfer onto Sugar Shack. 

However, we had to go to the U.S. Consulate which is well over 10 miles away with no direct bus route, and a $30+ cab ride one way.  So, we decided to rent a car last minute to get there and  then get all our heavy lifting out of the way (rental $55).  We were able to complete the top 10 items above in one day! It was one hell of a long day, but it got done!  We had to make 2 trips back to the boat to unload the car, but we got it all done. 

Fuel the hubby and the boat.  40L of beer, 50L of rum (blue drums) and 20L of oil.

Tahitian Beer and Rum

Tahitian Beer and Rum

Picked up boat and cleaning supplies.  The items in the photo came from about 8 different stores.  No such thing as a one stop shop.

Bulk stores provided great buys on American brand snacks and treats. This batch of stuff will last us 8-9 months.

My 25kilo bag of flour – yes, we do a lot of baking.  We make our own bread, pizza, dough, English muffins, focaccia, muffins, cakes, cookies, etc…

Big Bag o Flour from Tahiti

Big Bag o Flour from Tahiti

Beautiful rainbow over Marina Taina which is in Papeete, Tahiti.  We anchored outside of the marina.

Tahiti Marina Taina

Tahiti Marina Taina

Errands and Chores

We continue to work on boat chores when we are not running around.  Slowly knocking the projects off the list.  Stay tuned for the major redo of all of our exterior teak that took me well over 4 days to complete.

It is a necessary evil to be in Tahiti, the land of the plenty.  We love it because we can get a lot done and reprovision the boat.  But hate it because it is a huge city, filled with lots of people, we spend tons of money, and that boat get’s dirty from the busy anchorages.

But we got a lot done.  Matt will continue to check things off our list as I make my way back to the states.  In the meantime, life is good and we feel blessed.

Va’a Race Mo’orea to Tahiti

Shell sponsored a va’a race from Mo’orea to Tahiti with 6-man teams in each va’a.  A va’a is like a canoe with an arm out to one side, which is called an alma.  The teams of 6 members would race from Mo’orea to Marina Taina.  It as a flood of speeds boats in the channel causing all sorts of rocus.

Va'a Race Mo'orea to Tahiti

Va’a Race Mo’orea to Tahiti

As the va’a teams approached our boat, they entered a marked off area called the “transition area”.  Right in front of Sugar Shack, they changed teams in the va’a.  It was so amazing to see the hordes of boats around the transition area.  A boat would drop off 6 men/women in the water. Then their team would bring the va’a up to them.  The team in the va’a would jump in the water as the team in the water jumped in the va’a.  It took only a few seconds for the transition and then they were off again.

Va'a Teams

Va’a Teams

The 6 teams spent well over 6 hours paddling and trying to win the prize money. The top transition time was 4 seconds and the worse was when one team capsized and had to regain their loss time.

Pretty amazing event.  It takes a lot of skill and expertise to paddle these va’a’s.  Especially today as the weather was not cooperating and it was rainy and windy. They had to cross 15nm from Mo’orea to Tahiti!

Just for Fun

A few Tahiti happy hours to end the busy days.  Some of our cruiser friends.

Events from this blog post occurred during mid-June, 2021.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

French Polynesia Flag

Tahiti Madness Part II

We continue on with the Tahiti madness as we rush to get through our provisioning, shopping, and projects.  If you missed part I (click this link).  We were both up early again to try to get through all of our tasks for the day.  

Matt greased the main sail cars that take our main sail up and down the mast.  This is much easier to do when the 300lb main sail is not attached.  We wrapped up the long-stay visa paperwork and are ready to pass that off the documents to Tahiti crew next week.  Many loads of laundry, and a little boat cleaning all before 0900.  We are expecting Guillaume any minute and we wait…and wait.  We are eager to get going to run more errands, but we stand by.

Wouldn’t you know it, a down pour hits us, putting a huge kink in our day.  Guillaume posts pones the main sail pick up until the next day so we are free to work on boat chores.

I decide it’s time to wash all our blankets, bedding, and try to remove the many stains on our clothes.  Not sure what it is about boat life, but every cruiser has stains on all their clothes.  You just can’t find stain remover like in the U.S. and the washer is always on gentle cycle so there is no real friction.  Another 4 loads of laundry later and things are smelling yummy.

Guillaume comes on Thursday to pick up the main sail. We spend some time pointing out all the areas we want repaired or re-stitched and he is on his way to work his magic. (Coming up next is our blog on the main sail repair).

Tahiti Madness Continues

More errands to the post office, the marina office, the market, Maxi’s, and a few small stores downtown.  Part of the beauty of being at the dock is that we have easy access to all the stores and we can easily work on boat projects – and we have many. 

Our ceiling panels are 20-year-old corrugated PVC.  We replaced all of the ceiling panels in the salon a few years ago and a few panels in the master cabin and aft cabin. However, there are few more that need to be replaced and it is a huge job.  We start working on the port, aft cabin panel as it needs the most attention.  Bottom right photo shows the cracks in the panel.  Matt removes the panel without damaging it which is good because we need to use it as a pattern.  Then the fun process of scraping all the glue.

Using a slanted razor blade, you scrape lawyer after layer until you get down to the glue residue.  Then you use mineral spirits or acetone to get the last bit of residue off before a light sand.

Matt tries to seal up a leak while we have the ceiling panel down.  The good news: he identified where the leak is and can plug it from the outside.  The photo below shows the silicone that has given way around the pipe.

Fixing the leak

Fixing the leak

Cut your pattern out of the new smooth PVC, apply VHB double stick tape (which is amazing) and install.

Create the pattern, cut it, prep for installation

Create the pattern, cut it, prep for installation

We finish the project several weeks later with the new ceiling panel place and all looking lovely.

Sweetie is feeling deflated

Sweetie is losing air.  We woke up to a flat “Sweetie” several days in a row.  Weird.  We know we have a slow leak, but she was losing air every day for several days in a row (even after we pumped her back up).  Time to look for the new leak.

The dinghy has 3 valves that put air into the pontoons.  Each valve has two “fail safe” leak preventions.  The inner mechanism on one valve has a slow leak, but the secondary cap always prevented air from leaking out.  However, it appears that the cap is now leaking.  It was cracked either by being tightened too tight or being hit.  Bummer. 

The quick fix is to swap the cap with another cap to stop the immediate leak.  Then try to glue it.  Of course, the dinghy is 20-years old and is no longer being made.  So, trying to find a new cap is highly unlikely.

Sunday Market Days

Part of Tahiti madness is Sunday Market Days.  The local farmers host a massive market day on Sundays in the center of downtown Papeete.  There are always local farmers selling fresh produce at this center, but on Sundays it is 10 times bigger than regular days.  They start at 0300 and ends at 1000 (yep you read that right, 3am in the morning).  We got up and made it there by 0600 and it was crazy busy.

The great thing about French Polynesia is that the locals actually listen to their government and follow the set rules.  Despite the Tahiti Madness, everyone was wearing a mask and everyone was using hand sanitizer (all around the market).  Very cool.  Even with the precautions, we bought our supplies and got out quickly.

They have a section with fresh flowers, which smell devine and are stunningly beautiful.

An entire section is dedicated to chopped, flavored meats. We purchased 1 kilo of three different flavors, because why not?

Then there is an even larger selection of fresh fish, crab, and lobster.

A large assortment of pre-packaged food (posion cru, baked goods, potato mixes and more)

And then rows, and rows, and rows of fresh produce!   Just look at the beautiful colors on each table!  So vibrant and pretty calling you to buy them.

The Madness Continues

Tahiti madness seems to be a necessary evil.  Always dread being here, but it is necessary to stock up the boat with marine parts, provisions, water, electricity and more.  Plus we get many boat projects down.

We took the opportunity to replace our fire extinguishers while we were here.  We could only find 2 in the stores so I called Incendie Moz Services a local person who comes to you!  I should have called him first because his extinguishers were $10 cheaper and he took our old ones!  Oh well, at least we have 4 new ones.  We had 6 extinguishers that were well over 10 years old.  However, they all had indicators in the green (meaning they were still good).  We decided not to take any chances and just order 4 new ones.  We kept a few of the old ones, just in case.

We dump some stuff we no longer need or use or want.

We made several more trips to random stores.  Picked up long flippers for Matt to help him with free fiving (diving without oxygen or gear), a hose to replace the outboard fuel line, a courtesy flag, flex tape, and a few other odds and ends.  The lower right photo is my 2nd pantry which is full to the brim.  Love it!

At the marina we have super cheap water.  So, we took advantage and did 3 more loads of laundry, pressure washed the boat, and filled our water tanks.  Tahiti Sails delivered our main, we grabbed a quick lunch and finally left the marina.

It was a short motor to the anchorage.  We dropped the hook and began the fun process of installing the main (check out our next blog on the main sail).

Marina Taina

The anchorage is just 5 miles from Marina Papeete but it is much closer to Marina Taina where we had lots of other business.  We could have come here on the bus but we were avoiding it due to covid.    Here is a list of things we did here:

  • Tahiti Crew: dropped off original documents for our Carte de Sejure renewal in February 2021 (see “Passport and Visa Mess” blog post coming up soon)
  • Tahiti Yacht Services: picked up a new baton to replace our damaged one
  • Dropped off a ton of crap (old batteries, old fire extinguisher, unwanted cables and miscellaneous stuff we could recycle 
  • Carrefore market – huge and final grocery run

French Polynesia faces a huge crisis with covid and there are threats of another lockdown as we are wrapping up our stay in Papeete.  We decide it is best to get out of town as quickly as possible as we don’t want to be stuck in Tahiti for lockdown.

Events from this Tahiti Madness blog occurred during the last week of October 2020.  Our blog posts run 8 weeks behind our adventures.