Provisioning

November 19, 2022

Katie Waters, Middlebury College

Katie, Kate and Nick preparing our produce dockside

Papeete, Tahiti

We began our day in the dark, as the alarms went off at 6:30am for our 6:45am departure to the Mo’orea ferry dock.  Half asleep on our van ride to the dock, we napped as the sun just begin to peek over the horizon through a blanket of clouds and rain.  Upon our arrival to the ferry, Jan told us we may have beaten a record—the longest we’ve spent together without talking (20 minutes).  Shocking, I know.

Though the rain poured as we stepped off the dock in Pape’ete, we trundled ourselves to the Robert C. Seamans (our new home in just a few days!) where crew members greeted us with suitcases, wagons, and grocery bags to cart over to the market.  The market, of course, being the place where we would provision pounds of peppers, bananas, coconut water, parrotfish, papayas, mangos, and beyond for our time at sea.   Sayzie, our amazing steward and superhero, sent us off first to find one thing we had never seen or eaten before that we wanted to provision for the ship’s company.  After a quick wander, Marley and I came across a fruit that looked a little too large and angular to be a lemon.  A discussion in broken French with the vendor confirmed to us that the fruit was an abiu, or star apple.  It is apparently quite sweet and jelly-like.  I felt compelled to try it, thus provisioning this vendor’s entire supply for our boat.  What will we make with these abiu, you ask?  I will let you know in a few weeks on my next blog post!

We moved a bit slower on our walk back to the Seamans, weighed down by carts of fruits, fish, and veggies.  With absolutely perfect timing, the sun finally came out again on our walk, allowing us to move forward with the next step of provisioning: drying.

Two things threaten our food supply on the boat: moisture and air.  Thus, it was essential that we get our produce dry and well wrapped in order to ensure that it will remain fresh and delicious by the time we eat it in a couple weeks.  In no time, we laid out a giant tarp and began filling it with all of our supplies.  Rows of sweet potatoes, lettuce, papayas, and cucumbers lined the ground.  A flurry of activity ensued: people flipping veggies to keep them drying, cutting up and bagging papayas, wrapping peppers in paper and storing them in carts, and many, many reminders to keep applying sunscreen. A few more runs to the market, hundreds of frantically wrapped fruits (to beat the impending rain), and several dozen Cheetos/granola bars later, we finally finished provisioning.  Sayzie then set us loose on Pape’ete to explore for a bit before our return trip to Mo’orea in the evening.

Fun fact about Pape’ete: the city closes down on Saturday afternoon.  So, rather than explore the numerous shops and markets the city has to offer, we instead wandered down rather empty streets, looking at beautiful street art and the mountains in the distance.  Kamryn and I did stumble upon one open store which housed a variety of children’s Christmas onesies and toys, including a turtle that lights up in the shape of the constellations (which I was VERY tempted to purchase), and then we found some ice-cream bars at the grocery store (it didn’t take us long to be convinced to purchase these).

Upon our return to our home at Fare Maheata on Mo’orea, Sayzie cooked us a delicious dinner of baked pasta, salad, and baguette and parsley butter.  We took our plates down to the beach and ate there, enjoying the beautiful stars and the waves lapping at our toes.

Suffice to say, we ended the day tired, happy, and excited to board our new home in just a few days.  We can’t wait to begin sending out blogs from the boat!!

Much love to all,

Katie Waters, Middlebury College

P.S. Happy almost birthday to Mom and to Nana!  I love you both dearly and can’t wait to see this Christmas J

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