Day 55, Year 5: Last of the Big Spenders
Date: Sunday, December 20, 2009
Weather: Partly Sunny Day; ENE Winds 15-20; Rain in the Evening
Location: Ao Chalong, Phuket, Thailand

For two days we have been sitting here on Windbird watching the water in the bay ruffle in the wind. Windbird bounces up and down, not bad enough to cause us any problems, but being out on the water in the dinghy is another matter. That’s what has kept us sitting still for two days. But rough harbor or not, we are heading in early in the morning to make our Christmas Skype call to Justin, Jo, and Ziggy, and then to get our rental car for the day to do a ton a shopping. We’ll have to take extra precautions to wrap things in plastic as they will surely get wet on the ride back out. I’ll take some black plastic garbage bags and just put each bag of groceries in one of those. And some things we won’t buy tomorrow. We’ll just locate the store with the best price and then rent a car on another day right after Christmas when the anchorage is not so lumpy and bumpy. This means all shopping will not be done before Christmas, but that was just a dream.

Mark spent his morning doing sewing projects. The new stack pack cover for our mainsail that Ben in Langkawi did for us is great, but he got the zippers backwards on the front cover. So this morning, I ripped them out and Mark sewed them back in the right way. Then we worked on a new mattress cover for our bed. It is an odd shape and we made a fitted mattress cover for it in New Zealand that has needed to be replaced for some time now. We had bought this fantastic wide elastic material in NZ that allowed the cover to fit snugly. The elastic was still fine, so we cut it off the old one and sewed it on a new pad that we cut to fit the odd shape. And then I was actually able to save enough of the old pad to make a pad for our starboard settee. It is so hot and we are always perspiring and it is starting to show on the microfiber. Tomorrow I will buy material to cover the pad and we will sit on that and then use it as a mattress pad when we use the starboard settee as our main bed on passages. I’ve been using beach towels, but this will be much better. And while all of this was going on, I also did a laundry. That job is never ending.

Reality set in today. I have shopped in Langkawi and shopped in Phuket, and I thought I was getting close to having most of what we need for the next few months. But that spreadsheet we have developed awakened both of us. For instance, I splurged and bought six small tubes of Ritz crackers. I thought that was a lot. But it takes one tube for each can of salmon to make salmon cakes and I have 20 cans of salmon. Duh! I need 14 more little tubes just to make salmon cakes. And if I find more salmon, I will buy it and will need even more Ritz crackers. Or let’s take pasta sauce. We eat spaghetti about once a week and we have 40 weeks in the next ten months. I bought enough tomato products to make 15 small batches of spaghetti sauce, but I need enough to make 25 more batches. Yikes! And then there is olive oil. I have one 5 liter can and one 4 liter can, plus a 2 liter bottle in the galley cabinet. But when I look at the spreadsheet, the two cans I have are just enough for making granola and bread for ten months. And the 2 liter bottle in the galley cabinet will last us until we are about half-way through our stay in the Chagos. Since there’s no place there to shop, I guess I’ll have to shell out the small fortune that olive oil costs and buy one more 5 liter can. So I thought I was all set with a number of items, but not so. Even though I have felt like I was buying way too much and spending way, way, way too much, we haven’t even made a drop in the bucket. So the last of the big spenders will venture out tomorrow and buy what’s on the spreadsheet. It is really, really hard to buy so much food at one time. But as I’ve said before, we have been told that there are few places in the Indian Ocean to buy the kind of canned goods we are looking for. In fact in the past two days we have received emails from two boats we know and love that are still waiting to round Cape Horn to get to Cape Town. Both have given gentle reminders of just how much food you have to have on board when you leave Phuket So this is the place, and tomorrow is the first of a couple of days of massive shopping.

We are still having a little power struggle. Something is just not right and Mark keeps working on tracking down the problem. Tomorrow morning we will find out if Him has been able to get our big alternator rebuilt. That won’t solve the current problem of the boat not starting when we turn the key, but it will be nice to have it back if he has been successful. Doing all of these little repairs, and watching me work on getting information to Justin to update the website, inspired Mark to write his second Captain’s Ramblings of this season. This one is a summary of all of the major projects we have undertaken to keep Windbird happy since leaving the United States. He didn’t include the price tags for each of the jobs. I don’t think you want to know!