Category Archives: Provisioning

Sint Maarten – Simpson Bay Lagoon

When moored or docked in Simpson Bay Lagoon, the dinghy is your car– most of the services were across the bay from our dock.  We went to dinner, made daily visits to the ATM, ran errands, dropped off laundry, provisioned lightly, had lunch at the St. Maarten Y.C.  – all in the dink. But at a certain point, we needed to head further afield, so we rented a car for a couple of days to pick up the new main in Oyster Pond, see a little more of SXM – mainly the bigger stores looking for household items, a multifunction printer, tools, and to do the major provisioning for the trip. Rentals are reasonable and they pick up and deliver (but don’t expect 2013 cars). They also seem to come with the floors covered in newspaper, we assume to keep them clean. We also discovered that the wrong main had been delivered from Tortola so, after much discussion, the right one would be sent overnight and was to be delivered to us on Saturday.


Sint Maarten is, without doubt, the place to provision in the Lesser Antilles.  A half mile walk from the dinghy dock at Yacht Club Port de Plaisance marina in Simpson Bay Lagoon, there is a big, bright wonderful Le Grande Marche near the entrance to the Princess Casino driveway. We were planning to dinghy and have them deliver, but we had the car and that seemed just easier.  I spent almost three hours and about $800 (with just a week’s worth of wine and beer). The prices are very reasonable (not necessarily stateside reasonable but certainly for the Caribbean) and the variety is not matched anywhere. It’s an unbeatable combination But be sure to go to either this Le Grande Marche or the one in Philipsburg; the others are small and disappointing. The produce was fresh and reasonable so we bought more than enough for six of us for the first week (it lasted at least another week), and the basics for most of the two-month trip – with a lot left over (the boat looked like the Island Trader with baskets of fresh fruit and unripe vegetables scattered about). Just don’t freak out at the prices on the shelves – they are in Gilders, with dollars below and Euros above (the last two in mice type). We eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet so we can’t speak to meat, fish, etc.  But we were amazed at the assortment of vegan and vegetarian products that were available. (We did stock some meat, poultry and dairy for our son and son-in-law which they declared quite good.)

For you other vegs out there, we discovered Carrot top across the lagoon with delicious, interesting plant-based wraps, salads, burgers, sandwiches, heartier entrees a swell as lots of juices and smoothies. A bit pricey but we were happy to find it.  And we had a wonderful dinner at elegant, water-side Paanland Thai restaurant that was very veg friendly – with a dinghy dock. More coverage of living plant-based in the Caribbean coming soon in my blog.


The Green Galley – Managing the Provisions


  • Post a list of the possible meals and snacks for the cruise – that way all the crew members know what the snack situation is and can pitch in and help with meals without a lot of instruction. That may be the best advice for improving the onboard environment.
  • Store the drinks in a separate cooler on deck or below. This keeps the refrigerator from being opened twenty times a day as people rummage for that special can of whatever. Reload daily and keep it iced down. In very hot weather, a wet towel over the top keeps the ice frozen longer.
  • Use fuel-friendly cookware. Woks were designed to cook quickly and spread the heat source over the surface. Small ones are galley-friendly and work wonderfully with propane and CNG units. On that same note, add a space-friendly four-quart stainless steel pressure cooker. For those who remember the temperamental, exploding pressure cookers of yore, rest assured that these new foolproof designs are safe. And they still cook fast, have tight seals that make them perfect for cooking underway, and double as a saucepan.
  • If the boat is moored locally, purchase a few identical stainless baking pans, so entrees can be frozen in them — this eliminates the issues of weak disposable aluminum pans, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, etc. Imagine removing a bubbling lasagna that was frozen in an unstable disposable aluminum pan from a gimbaled oven in a rough sea. And look at the new silicone bakeware which neither rattles nor rusts – and the Silpat liners that make everything nonstick and clean-up a breeze.

The Green Galley – Foraging



  • Identify all the possible the farmers’ markets along your route – and their schedules. A visit to one or two will net an enjoyable morning replenishing the galley stores with locally-grown and often organic produce (plus cheese, meat and fish) while affording a look into the local community.
  • Look, particularly, for local farmers’ markets that have expanded to include arts and crafts, entertainment and prepared food stands or trucks featuring local specialties – perfect for a quick lunch or a “to go” meal back on the boat.
  • Search out local farm stands that tend to be  open all week – Google “Farm Stands” or look at the ACC Marina Reports for the area that include Produce Markets as well as Farmers’ Markets.
  • Google “Food Trucks” in the harbor you are headed to – most of them have websites.  Sometimes they are a source of  very high-end food at quick and easy prices.  Local chefs often use Food Trucks to try out culinary concepts or test out new offerings planned for their brick & mortar eateries. Other Food Trucks are first steps for new businesses that tend toward authentic and ethnic. They are all, invariably, interesting and relatively inexpensive.
  • Ask about local fishermen who sell off the boat (ACC often includes this info in Marina Reports) or local fishmongers who buy right off the boat


The Green Galley – Helpful Provisioning Practices

Choosing what and how we eat affects both our environment and our personal health. Here are a few thoughts that will make it easier to live more healthfully on the boat while minimizing negative impacts on the environment. Pack a few string bags for short provisioning trips and some larger re-usables for bigger shops.  Stops at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, CostCo and/or Sam’s Club  makes provisioning easier.

  • Eat locally and seasonally – with lots of fruits and veggies. Purchase produce in varying stages of ripeness. Put the unripe produce in nets hung from the handholds and check it daily, moving the ripened fruits and veggies to the refrigerator to hold them at that stage. Clean each item as needed with a home-made or commercial veggie wash and a stiff nylon brush. (i.e. water with grapefruit seed extract or apple cider vinegar and salt). And keep an eye out for local farmers’ markets.
  • Chill down the refrigerator with a block of ice to help the always challenged on-board cooling system. If the fridge is a top-open variety, then fill it with large, lidded plastic containers to hold all the food – this will keep the contents from getting waterlogged and allow you to add ice on top. And, to make the cooks job a little easier, try to load food in reverse order of potential use.
  • If your boat is local, then freeze everything freezable before leaving home in “direct to the oven” containers. It’ll keep much longer as it slowly defrosts and may actually assist the boat’s cooling system.
  • Stock the pantry with quick cooking whole grains (bulgar, whole wheat couscous, quinoa, par-boiled, seasoned rice, farro, barley), whole wheat pastas, legumes like red, green and brown lentils, and canned beans (garbanzo, black, red kidney). If you are cruising for a while, put bay leaves in all of the grains to thwart pantry flies.
  •  Think about multi-purpose foods that can also be used as home remedies and cleaning supplies. Ginger and umeboshi plums for seasickness, vanilla for deodorizing, oatmeal for “cream” soups and compresses, Worcestershire sauce (to clean brass) and cream of tarter (for aluminum).
  • Consider embracing a whole-foods, plant-based diet  – during your entire cruise,  or for just half or a third of the days, or just when you are eating onboard.  Whatever you choose, the impact on both the planet and your body will be meaningful.
  • Be flexible. Move meals around to accommodate weather, time, crew needs and the fatigue level of the cook. Be open to what’s available locally – you never know when fresh fish will appear on the deck or a local fisherman will happen by with too large a catch. Or an upland tour will wind past a bakery when the whole grain baguettes are just coming out of the oven.