Saturday, July 12, 2008

July 12, 2008 - Darwin Dash, Days 14 and 15

Around lunchtime yesterday, we passed Cape Wessel, marking our transition from the Gulf of Carpentaria into the Arafura Sea proper. Behind the shelter of the Cape, the waters smoothed out a bit and the motion of the boat became much more comfortable. There is a huge difference between the chop created by 300 miles of fetch and that created by a 50 mile fetch. One thing we like about the Arafura is the color of the water. We're still in less than 200 feet of water (which is a bit disconcerting - usually offshore the water is so deep that our depth sounder doesn't give us a reading). In such shallow water, the refraction of the light through the water gives it a beautiful turquoise tone.

When we left New Zealand, I thought that I had over provisioned us for the coming months. But cooking practically every meal on board these past two and a half months has made a big dent in our stores. Still, when we did the final market run three weeks ago in Luganville, I didn't realize how short we were on some staple items. Two days ago we ran out of UHT milk. We primarily use milk in our coffee and in breakfast foods, like eggs, pancakes or on top of oatmeal. So I mixed up a batch of powdered milk to use in cooking. When it was done, I held it up to Sten and asked "Why is it yellow?" He took one look at it and decided to try to use soy milk in our coffee. Can't say we recommend that either. So this morning, he whipped out the container of CoffeeMate that he insisted on buying for some exhorbenent amount of money in Papeete, for just such an emergency as this. I don't understand why corn syrup solids taste more like milk than powdered milk, but we're sticking with the CoffeeMate.

We're almost out of vegetables. Yesterday we used the last clove of garlic. This morning we ate the last three little plum tomatoes. Now the only fresh vegetables we have left on board tonight are three small onions and three sweet potatoes. Unfortunately, neither of us knows what to do with a sweet potato.

Our real problem is that we've run out of snack food. Over the past few days we've eaten the last packets of crackers, and the last two bags of potato chips. And as of this morning, we're officially out of chocolate. Thank god we have four cans of Diet Coke left. I can make it through night watch without chocolate (barely), but take away the DC and we both cease to function.

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