When I was the cook aboard the Sea Shepherd, I learned a lot of things very quickly:
- A satiated crew is a happy crew
- A well stocked pantry delivers infinite possibilities
- Knowing everyone’s favorite treats can turn around a bad attitude
- Always cut up the fruit if you want anyone to eat it
- Rotate your leftovers by incorporating them into a new dish
- Popcorn is a universal treat
- Cookies are magical
What I have learned so far on our boat, is what I heard repeatedly from others who cruise, but I did not heed their warning;
Do not over-provision!
Remembering that wherever there are people, there will be food. It may not be your brand or type of food, but it will be there nonetheless.
We decided that on our boat, we would mostly be plant-based (vegan). We don’t feel deprived and we never really miss anything (eggs may be the exception, and then we buy local). If we have an intense craving for anything, we eat it when we’re off the boat. Simple. Easy. Low Impact.
PRO TIP: When storing foods while the boat isn’t being used – assuming you have secured your boat from outside intruders (including blocking thru hulls with water permeable materials that keep bugs from entering), we get rid of anything canned that has high acid, tomato sauces, and flours that may hatch bugs. We also ensure everything is in vacuum bags or containers with lids, just in case we do have bugs hatching – it will help contain them. Separately, we layer bay leaves and fabric softener sheets (not in the food, obviously) throughout the boat and in all drawers and cabinets. We also use small cockroach hotels (just in case) on the floors, in cabinets and drawers. Knock wood, we’ve never had bugs.
The reason to eat mainly vegan aboard was multi-dimensional:
- It’s easier on the systems of our boat (e.g. sinks, toilets, refrigeration)
- Less waste, less spoilage, fewer odors
- Seeing first hand the alarming depletion of life in the oceans over the past 20 years as divers
- Understanding the brutality of factory farms
- Learning about impact that animals raised for food have on the environment: meat & dairy now account for 14.5% of greenhouse gases – with beef and lamb being the worst – roughly the same emissions from all the cars, trucks, airplanes and ships combined in the world today!
- It’s better for our arteries 🙂