Note in a Bottle….

“Send more Chardonnay!”


YAY! We have wine and beer! BOO! Beer is covered in cockroaches. 🤢. Beer is currently decontaminating/floating in net bags off the stern.

Now for the question of the day….

Beer or coffee first? (Just to be clear, the beer is a wounded soldier who got punctured in the cleansing process and has to be drunk now, or wasted.)

Jim has requested that I write up a post on how we are managing to eat really well after about 3 weeks with limited access to groceries and civilization really. That is a really long story. Ignore the 1st two paragraphs if you want the shorter version.

Start back with the fact that I was pretty much “raised” by a survivalist. From age 5-ish to 10, my brother and sisters, and Dad and Mom and I would take off every summer to camp in the HIGH Sierras for two weeks with the Sierra Club. It was pretty “cush” for camping, because the Sierra Club packed in and organized all the food, but otherwise, it was high Sierra camping. Latrines, mosquitos and dirt. It taught me early (by 7 years old) to make sure I had lotion to ease chapped skin, enough toilet paper to make it through the 2 weeks, and to know where the hell my flashlight was.

Then, at 10 years old, my mom became one of the first members of the San Diego Mountain Rescue Team. Her motto was, “Always be prepared!” She would be called off on rescues in the middle of the night, so for me it meant wake up, pack her van, and take care of my little sister and brother until she got back a week or more later. We never knew when we would be left, or for how long, so we made sure we always had access to what we needed. When I was 10 that meant the maid to cook, a charge account at the grocery store, a red wagon and a page of blank signed checks in the desk drawer. To this day my purses are huge because I always have the 10 essentials with me, including matches and a knife. (You should see my son Patrick’s eye roll when his mom get pulled out of security lines for having a knife in her handbag. Priceless!)

Fast forward to living on a boat. Because of how I was raised and living within 10 miles of the San Andreas fault for most of my life, I always have the boat stocked for at least one and a half months. Food, medicine and stores, like TP, paper towels, bleach, movies, Q tips, shampoo etc.

When our friend Kim arrived in Antigua on March 10th for a 12 day visit, I had the boat stocked for 2 months, except for wine, since Jim and I were going to keep moving south to ultimately end up in the Grenadines by May 1st. The plan was that Kim, a professional chef, and I were going to stock up on French wine in a couple days at our 1st stop in the Isle Saints off Guadalupe. Then we were then going to float around the French islands for 10 days doing nothing! The first day there we did a quick recon of the fresh food and wine stores in Isle Saints and bought a bit of fresh veg, pâté and couple bottles of wine to test before we stocked up the next day. We woke up the next morning to all shops being closed down, wine stores closing down by noon, and the gendarmes “inviting us to leave.” We ended up getting the last 2 baguettes on the island, and that was it.

When we finally ended up in Barbuda on the 18th, were were in it for the long haul. We have been anchored here for 3 weeks, and with the exception of one of the locals helping us out with fresh fruit and veg, we have mostly been living off what’s in the boat and surviving really well. We’ve had pizza, pancakes with sautés apples, bacon and cheese, yogurt bowls, fresh salads when we can get veg, feta and tomato salad, scrambled eggs and stuff, meatloaf, pastas, quesadillas, mushroom risotto and more.

But the most important thing is to always be marooned with a really good friend who is an amazing chef. She came to visit for 12 days, she may be with us for 12 weeks! She made chicken, lemons, capers and chow mein into an amazing meal last night. Her ingenuity is critical because we are starting to have to improvise with local fresh ingredients. For example…

Inoch is our local “go to” guy. He owns the local beach bar, which has been closed down along with all the rest of the businesses on Barbuda. So now he is staying open to provision the 20 boats anchored off his bar. For a fee, he will go into town and pick up fresh fruit, veg, meat, propane and dingy fuel. What you order, however, is not what you always get. Last week we asked for pasta, either penne or spaghetti, some sausage and fresh fruit. What we got was 10 packages of ramen, 2 packages of chow mein noodles, 6 packages of hot dogs, 40 lemons and 3 green papayas. Ergo, Lemon Chicken Chow Mein. Kim’s green papaya salad 3 nights ago was amazing!

And when we need comic relief, Jim volunteers to cook. Jim actually can cook, so long as he has someone to answer the 19 million questions that range from, “Where are the spoons?” to “How do I fry an egg?” Last week Jim stole a recipe from our good friend JC, and made us “Spaghetti Impaled Hotdogs”. It was actually pretty good.

Improvisation and Ingenuity. Thinking outside the wine box. Back to the title of this post. The only thing we have been low on all along has been wine and beer. We were finally running super low, so Kim and I made a run to the local liquor store 2 weeks ago to try to stock up before the island went on total lock down. Turns out the liquor store on Barbuda is an island version of the Dollar Store and any wine we could buy was so sweet that we could only make it into spritzers. This would just not do long term. So I called a wine shop that caters to the super yacht crowd on Antigua, the next island over, and placed an order for enough provisions to see us through the next month. They then made arrangements to place our order on the weekly ferry to Barbuda and have Inoch pick it up and deliver it to us here off the beach. It is supposed to arrive tonight. I will keep you posted on wether we really receive our delivery!

1 Comment

  1. OMG you guys are killing me! The spaghetti impaled hot dogs takes the cake. As for the lack of booze, I understand La Cruz will not sell any booze. this is the only way they think they can keep the parties down!


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