Planning for a different world

Mon 1 Jun 2009 19:07

Planning for a different world

33:47.21S 18:27.35E

Sure, when we are actually out in that world we intend entering, we will find so many notable differences that it will be impossible to describe them. But in our preparations to get going, there are a couple of things that hit us every day (time and again!) that are notable for having been left behind in Pretoria: space and control. Thinking back on our lives there, space was never a consideration if we wanted to buy something (as in “shall we buy that tin of tuna? Well, no, because… there is NO SPACE for another tin”) and we seemed, in the main, to be in control of our lives (as in: “what shall we do tomorrow?” and we were generally able to make it happen). How these things have changed…


We decided to prepare a plan for up to 6 months away, assuming little opportunity to replenish many stores (but assuming… and desperately hoping for… many chances to get fresh foods): what a challenge! While there are articles on the web where others have given guidelines, at the end of the day it all comes down to personal choice and needs, and other peoples’ articles give opportunity to scan through and hit the alarms when you see an item you have forgotten about. This is how we set about doing it… First, we listed everything in our (Pretoria) house and used that as a base to draw up a list of home-type things required to equip our home-on-the-sea. Next, we learned how to sail, in the process learning from how we ate on the boat and finding out what technical stuff is required peculiar to this industry (from extra large sponges for the bilges to electronic chart-plotters to lists of boat spares….) then we did extensive research to find the best type of thingie for the job and what other things sailors recommend as necessary.

A recent monitoring of our consumption gave us an idea of what quantity of muesli / toilet rolls/ cleaning products we use monthly (which produced some scary numbers); this was expanded to a spreadsheet for foods and another for general consumables on a monthly basis which then provided a base for the “what to buy for 6 months” column.

The resulting list of only kitchen-type stuff is 100 plus, from aprons through egg-boxes (when you buy eggs up north you must take your own carriers) to water filters.

The list of yacht-specific things contains another 100 plus items. Then there is bedding, linen, towels etc.

The food / drink list has about 180 items on it (including spices, sauces….. anything and everything else that gets consumed). The meats are only 3 items of this (different cuts grouped together)…. and no, the drinks list is NOT the big contributor (see, we KNOW what our “friends” and family are thinking!!!).

The consumables list has 42 items, from batteries to windolene, and that excludes personal toiletries.

The meds lists look like this: 129 different meds (of which we hope to use zero…. except maybe panado for hangover…!), a 21-strong “general” list (from cervical collar to thermometer, and including suture materials and drips and malaria tests) and 22 types of bandage / plaster. Now to find storage space for these… and a sensible stowage and referencing system so that if (when) all the labels come off we know what they are, how much to use…. and what to do!

So how much space do we have for this?

DSC06070 - Copy (2)

Looking at the photo, our home (the yacht – no longer the car and trailer!) is pretty big compared with our car, so there should be PLENTY of space….. but although there are lots of lockers (big ones, too) there is lots more to store…

We have allocated wet lockers (for things like the second dinghy, second anchor, dive cylinders, drogue, part of grab-bag, spare lines, fenders, foul-weather gear, dive bags …. 25 things in total), other lockers for fishing stuff, day packs, lifejackets, tools, spares, books, clothes, computers, games, binoculars …. and then we must find space for the meds, food and consumables, kitchen appliances, crockery etc.

So now the foodstuff has been restricted to catering for 3 months only, beer will be purchased locally and only whiskey will be kept at 6 months (some re-classified under ‘medical’) …. and we hope there will be space for the rest!


Reflecting on a (likely scenario for a) regular morning at anchor somewhere…. First consider the sea state, the wind, the boat’s needs, your health, officialdom, fishing or diving conditions and the on-shore possibilities on offer (assuming there is some way to find out what these are)…. Now plan your day. Not a lot of pre-planning advised, unless you have learned to cope with plans being shot up (oops, bad wording…. Not referring to the pirates here, ok!?) and dealing with alternatives.

My, but this is different from our previous experiences… and something that is really going to be interesting to deal with! On the other hand, 2009 has been preparing us for this, in that 2009 has exposed us to the yachting industry and as a necessary consequence, the fact that absolutely nothing goes according to plan and there is relatively little that you can do about it except adapt! 

The industry anthem is along the lines of “this is yachting …. what can possibly go wrong?”  Depending on the tone used and the _expression_ on the speaker’s face, this sentiment appears to cover most situations!

Current Status?

Yet again, we report that there is no firm launch date (long stories, many reasons, many excuses, ho hum) so have renewed our lease on this little place… to find that we may not renew it again after this lease expires (16 June) as the owners are coming to stay. So … it appears we are learning some more about ‘control’ and ‘space’, or lack thereof!

DSC06052 - CopyDSC06017 - CopyHowever, we sit back and discuss these things and learn to go with the flow. The mountain is wonderfully calming as are the sunsets (this one from the water on a yacht delivery we helped with recently).

 The pirates’ ongoing operations as far south as Seychelles is interesting and at present it appears to be a score in the ratio of Pirates 4: Authorities 1 (sailing is banned in the Seychelles at the moment, due to the piracy).  Of course these developments coincided with Rolf having to hand in his various firearms in terms of the new gun license laws.  This loss of control of another aspect of life caused Irene to have to endure a medium sized rant and tirade against authorities in general, but on the other hand, playing Rambo against a couple of boatloads of AK47 wielding pirates was never going to end well!

We are spending time getting to know passage planning software and chartplotting software; reading all the pilot guides and books about the Indian Ocean islands, Madagascar and Mozambique and planning where to go….. and more specifically, how to do it in terms of the sea / wind states at that time of year (which time of year? Not sure yet). The islands off the north-west of Madagascar (Nosy Be etc) and the Pemba / Querimba Archipelago / St Lazarus Banks of northern Mozambique are the current focus (and a couple of days at the Bassas da India atoll so that Rolf can catch at least one fish!).