September 27, 2011

Eat It or Australia Will Take It

We’re starting our second week at anchor in Denarua, Fiji. For such a long period of time out of a relatively short country visit you might assume Denarau is cool (hmmm, only if the Hard Rock Café and shopping is your thing…) or we have friends here (well we did—WGD arrived, then flew out this AM to spend the Jewish New Year in NZ and Connect 4 was here but headed off in search of a fire walker). Which leaves projects. Although Nadi (pronounced Nandi) is a very cool city.

Our gorgeous new Island Planet sail is on (but not yet tested) the fancy new spectra rigging is installed (and awesome) and our new dagger board (one broke back in Tahiti and was cheaper to repair in Fiji that Oz) is nearly finished. And we’ve also been using the time (and decent internet) to catch up on the news (eek!) earn money and get ready to go to Australia.

Along with most of the boats we know, we're joining the Bundaberg Port2Port rally. For $200 we get:
Met on arrival by BCYC ambassador
2 Tickets to Welcome/End of Passage Dinners.
2 P2P Tee shirts
And a BCYC/P2P Burgee
Actually despite the fact Bundaberg is supposed to be lovely the real draw is the fact they refund our arrival fees ($330) and provide weather routing for the passage. They also provide really detailed information about what we need to do to the boat before clearing into Australia.

Preparing for the Pacific is a balancing act when it comes to provisioning. You want to buy enough in advance so that you are not caught out having to buy an $8 package of spaghetti or $16 box of Cheerios. But you don’t want to overbuy—otherwise when you get to Australia you’ll be saying goodbye to your hard won provisions.

So far it looks like we did it just about right. But we are having to make a point of eating a few things and we did run out of others.

What we over bought:
Canned meat. I used Behan’s (Totem) spreadsheet from last year then cut way down. I think we had a dozen beef, a dozen chicken, a dozen chilorio and two dozen tuna. We still have about 1/3 of each. We just didn’t eat it. It wasn’t that there was a ton of fresh stuff to be had it’s just that our family easily reverts to vegetarian meals. And because we were traveling with vegetarians (and a family that keeps kosher) it didn’t go into potluck meals either. We did find the beef and chicken worked well in soups and stews though. We also overbought pate in French Poly—it wasn’t as fun to eat when we left behind the land of baguettes. We need to eat it now though—Australia will take it.

Canned Veggies. I still don’t know where I went wrong here. We typically go through tons of diced and pureed tomatoes but I think the cases I bought are procreating in the bilge—because the size of the pile never changes. The other stuff I bought—corn, mixed veggies and mushrooms were used in moments of desperation and are just about gone. These are supposedly okay to bring in though.

Brownie mixes. Yup, seriously. Who knew that eight would be too many? We still have four. And because they have dried eggs in the mix we need to eat them.

Iced Tea mix. We drank water and got used to it. And it doesn’t mix with alcohol. Loads left and not even the Aussies want it.

Refried beans. Once we left Mexico they left our plate. Not sure why. For 14 months they were a food group—then poof. Apparently they need to go, but then again maybe not.

The funny thing is there is some stuff that we should have stocked up on in French Poly:

All dairy. (This does need to go before we hit Oz—unless it’s from NZ like the milk and butter). UHT milk is really hard to get in Fiji (we haven’t had any fresh milk since one time in Tahiti) and cheese and butter are expensive. We should have bought more NZ tinned butter, UHT milk and hard cheese.

Pasta. The jury is out on whether we’d lose this or not (it will be inspected). But we hardly have any left. So it doesn’t matter.

Breakfast cereal. We don’t eat a ton but at $16 fj a box we’re currently not eating any.

AQIS may also confiscate all fresh, frozen and dried fruit, vegies and meat. Fish is okay—except some tinned tuna from some places. They could also take our rice, popcorn, garlic, dried beans, eggs, flour, honey, tea, coffee, herbs and other stuff. Basically I think we’ll just eat it all.

We’ll also be preparing by dousing the boat with insecticides. The advice is to put all woven, wooden, shell and paper goods in large plastic bags, spray in a generous amount of aerosol insecticide and seal the bags until after your arrival.  This kills any insects that the items may carry. Quarantine won’t confiscate them if they are bug free.


Brodi said...

What about Charlie the Cat? I've heard Australian customs is tough on incoming animals...

Diane, Evan and Maia said...

Hi Brodi--Charlie the Cat went home to Canada from Mexico. He's been doing his quarantine prep there and will fly to Oz to join us. That way his quarantine stay is much shorter. It's actually cheaper to do it this way then to bring him in by boat...