Pacific Crossing Series: A Life of Food

Food tastes better when sailing! There’s something about being on a boat that seems to make all food taste incredible- at times, even something that is simple is suddenly an amazing dish. Maybe it’s due to the challenges of cooking at sea- maybe it’s that salty air- but come dinnertime…life is good!

Cooking at sea requires planning- and, depending on how far from shore, this may be a month or more in advance. Leaving from Mexico, our meals were carefully planned out for 30 days and all provisions were purchased, sorted and packed away in every available space. Great care went into where items were kept and maps were drawn to be able to find them! The freezer was loaded based on the menu; from Day 1, we would work our way from the top to the bottom to keep from having to search for frozen items. This was serious strategic packing!

Keeping fruits and vegetables as fresh as possible while underway became a daily chore. Everything was checked and rotated daily to ensure that nothing would spoil. Containers with air holes, small hammocks, and hanging baskets helped this process. So, at this point, we had great food available…the rest was up to the cook!

The art of cooking is just that- an art. As an ocean bound vessel, the heel of the boat and swell created challenges that those cooking on land don’t encounter. We spent the first four days at sea walking on the walls with winds up to 24 knots- it put a new twist on life’s simple tasks…especially cooking. On our 43-foot monohull, it generally required the cook to wear a harness in order to stay in contact with the work surface. I was very thankful every day that this was not my task. Deb, co-owner of the boat and self-appointed cooking goddess, took on the role beautifully! She managed in the tiny galley in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to bake fresh breads, make pizzas, chicken stir-fry’s, hand-made tortillas for tacos, and lasagna- not to mention the coffee cake or scones prepared each day. So, rather than dropping the 10 pounds everyone says they lose on the crossing…I was thankful to have only gained 10 upon reaching land!

Fortunately, the acrobatic challenges experienced on an ocean bound vessel are (almost) non-existent for chefs on charter yachts. As well, they provision just before the charter and can replenish supplies while visiting different islands. But, one thing is the same…the food is AMAZING! In fact, it’s even better of charters!

So, whether it’s the Spicy BBQ Mahi Mahi Filet with a Yellow Pepper Cilantro Pesto on Anastasia in the USVI/BVI; the Golden and Purple beet and goat cheese tower salad on Santa Ana in the USVI/BVI; the Pasta with mussels in a Red Wine sauce with Feta and Parmesan on Tiziano in Greece; or Fresh Conch Ceviche on Tranquilo in Belize- you’ll quickly learn that food is absolutely amazing at sea! Experience for yourself!

**All photos are of charter dishes…while our meals on our crossing were delicious, they were certainly not to the standards of charter chefs!