Thursday, April 18, 2013

Leave a Sailor, Return a Pack Mule

When you live on a voyaging sailboat, it's widely known that when you travel home you return a pack mule.  No matter where your boat ends up, odds are that place won't be as well equipped with goods and services as your home is... and even on the off chance that it is well equipped, it's usually at a cost.  Then there's the simple fact that we all have beloved products/goodies that can only be acquired from home sweet home.  Whether it be a clothing item from your favorite local store, that to-die-for Trader Joe's snack food, or a new heat exchanger cap for your particular engine - there will be things from home that you'll want or need that you simply cannot get abroad.  So... what am I bringing back to the boat with me this time?  Here's the bulk of it:
  1. Spare engine parts.  A long time ago I got a great tip from a blog follower about Trans Atlantic Diesels.  They carry spares for many engines and generators and even have "onboard cruise kits" for Perkins engines.  This trip, I'm bringing back: an injector, a salt water pump, a fresh water pump, top and bottom gasket sets, spare engine zincs, seakamp heat exchanger caps, and o-rings.  Much of this is overkill, but we feel better having these spares on board - especially since Scott will be doing an eight day offshore passage soon (more on this later).
  2. Scone Mix.  I love this mix.  Love love LOVE it.  Yes, I could make scones from scratch - but honestly, these are so easy, I just can't give them up.  I've written about them before, and these are always on our "get from home" list.  Always.
  3. Flip flops.  We love Haviana flip flops.  They are cheap, don't absorb water, and never smell.  Unfortunately, we recently lost both pairs of ours when our dinghy was flooded by waves crashing onto the beach (my bad), sending our beloved flippies out to sea.  So naturally, I ordered us some more.
  4. Sunscreen.  We have a broad spectrum of sunscreens on our boat (pun intended) and are always in search of one we really like (no, we have not found it).  Despite the fact that applying it to ourselves and (particularly) our baby is a huge pain in the butt, we do it every day.  When you live on a boat in the tropics, you can never have too much of it.  But it's definitely a love/hate relationship.  If you want to invent something and make a million dollars, invent a sunscreen pill that you can ingest and be protected for twelve hours.  I would invest in that for SURE.
  5. Bikinis.  I'm a huge fan of Victoria's Secret bikinis.  When you live in the tropics and frequent the beach, it's nice to have more than one bikini on rotation.  With these new ones, I now have (cough, cough) ten.
  6. Wet ones.  Babies are messy.  Babies that are walking, toddling, feeding themselves and regularly picking up cigarette butts are really messy.  I carry a travel pack of wet wipes with us wherever we go for the occasional wipe down.  I'm no germaphobe, but you know your child needs a little cleaning when a local Bahamian kid tells you, "You're baby is soooo dirty...she needs to clean her hands!" (true story).
  7. Super-absorbant towels.  I learned about these MSR packtowls from a fellow boat mamma and got a couple for Isla.  They are small, super absorbant and dry extremely quickly.  I think they'll be great for the beach.
  8. Books.  I was gifted a couple more books to review on the blog (I am so behind on reading and have lots of great books to share in coming weeks, including this one!).  I also got a pocket sky atlas for Scott, and a book on how to teach your infant to swim.
  9. Kitchen utensils.  I am cooking more, so naturally I need more accouterments.  I ordered a hand mixer and potato masher to compliment my culinary tool kit.  I also ordered a small eight-inch cooking pan (not pictured).
  10. Scrubr Dish Cloths.  I have sang  The Boat Galley praise numerous times on this blog.  My friend, Carolyn, has never steered me wrong and when she suggests something, I listen.  She loves these scrubbing dishcloths, so I decided to get a couple.  They are (allegedly) quick drying, excellent at removing tough grime from dishes, and are odor-free.  I'm looking very forward to trying these out.
  11. Rescue Tape. Rescue tape is a silicone based fusing tape that will create an airtight, watertight seal in seconds.  We've never had to use this so cannot speak from experience, but I think this is good to have on hand in case we spring a leak.
  12. Water Weld.  This is another product we hope never to use, but might come in handy in a pickle.  It can plug holes above and below the water line.
  13. Zip Care.  Metal zippers get gnarly in salt water.  Zip Care will hopefully prevent the ceasing. 
  14. Diaper Rash Creme. Salt water and baby butts don't mix.  Always good to have some good diaper creme on hand to protect that little tush.
  15. Clothes.  Scott, Isla and I are getting some new threads as well.  For me: Old Navy jean shorts and a few more Lululemon pieces.  For Scott:  a couple more pairs of cargo shorts and a dry-fit button down.  For Isla: a few outfits in the 12-18 month range (not pictured)
Phew. It didn't seem like that much in the photo...

I will also be bringing back a few items for our friends.  If you travel home, you can bet your bottom dollar that other boats might need and/or want a few things as well.  It might be a simple favor like mailing a small package, or perhaps they'll need you to pick up a critical part needed to fix their engine, but it's always nice to offer. You'll never know when you need someone to do the same for you.  The boating community is all about karma and if you can help, you should.

So while some might liken me to a pack mule - others might consider me more like Santa Claus.

Either way, travelling back to the boat without goodies is no way to go.  If you're going home, pack an extra bag and fill it up!


beth said...

Have you tried the sunscreen wipes for kids? Like wet wipes only with sunscreen. I've never tried, but we know people who swear by them for their kids (and definitely not sure how they work in the tropic sun). We also LOVED Arbonne Baby Care products - sunscreen and especially diaper rash creme. No smell on the creme.

Geoff said...

I just learned about rescue tape a few months ago. It is nothing short of amazing. Works great to wrap wiring connections(rather than heat shrink). Will fix a leaky pipe. We use it to mark all manner of lines as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm a pirate, so all I need is some rum and a spare eyepatch.

Greg said... would be a good sponsor. Rebecca has Conch. Brittany should have WW. Just my $0.02.

Windtraveler said...

@Beth - thank you - I will check that out!!
@Geoff - great tip on using it to mark lines!
@Anon - I aspire to be more like you - unfortunately, I come back with a full load ;)
@Greg - while I am pretty proud of my post-baby bikini bod, I think those are a wee bit too skimpy for me ;) Those are like stripper-kinis!! But I'll take that as a compliment!

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