Aboard Sengo – September 2017

Cape Leveque Lighthouse

From orange cliffs to… as far south as possible – September’s emphasis was not on exploring, but long distance travel, and anchorage stops were generally only overnight unless we got stuck in bad weather. Because of this September’s newsletter is a much shorter (and smaller) file. Enjoy Aboard Sengo September 2017.

7 thoughts on “Aboard Sengo – September 2017

  1. Hope Cilla and Tiger don’t think the herb gardens are their new litter trays. Lol. Sounds like this was a much more ínteresting’ sail. Are you aware of the ‘Aussie Backyard bird count’ on October 23-29 October? aussiebirdcount.org.au

  2. The west coast passages following the Kimberley adventure sound like very hard work. We have a question about storage of provisions and rubbish for 12 weeks… How do smaller boats with much less space than Sengo manage?

    • Hi Chris,

      Yes, the coast west of The Kimberley has been somewhat hard work at times but this is predominantly because we are so late in the season; others, having travelled earlier, whist still having to battle the odd south-west wind, did so far less frequently when the comfortable sailing gaps for heading south were more common and longer (having said that, several people (West Australian’s) did warn us about coming down the west side of the continent).

      With regard to provisioning and rubbish I think the operative word is “Planning”. We do not advocate burning plastics on shore (as a lot of yachties do) so we aim to minimise rubbish on journey and get rid of it in a bin when we can (Ordinarily I minimise my purchase of plastics where I can anyway). Organic waste is generally thrown overboard, but we are sensitive about where this happens. If amongst coral, we wait until we are in deep water away from the reef before pitching. Most of the ‘rubbish’ that had to be taken off Sengo after her trip through the Kimberley wasn’t rubbish at all, but actually ‘recycling’ – we had very little rubbish – having decanted food into reusable containers (in required portions) prior to our trip and leaving most of the original packaging in Darwin.

      Some cruisers have a diet that naturally takes less space and produces less waste (vegetarians; and those who are prepared to change their diet for a time to manage resources); we had a freezer full of meat but some boats eliminate meat altogether and therefore the need to have space (and power) to store it. And some boats have a hydroponics system set up to grow fresh vegies (mainly lettuces and herbs) to provide them with their ‘greens’ on the run so they don’t need to purchase these items prior to departure and don’t need the space to store them.

      However, having said all that, we were surprised of just how little space 12 weeks of food actually took up. Because of the import laws of fruit and vegies into Western Australia, our provisioning was based on tins. Having constructed a 12-week menu and bought our provisions we placed them week by week in each of 12 plastic boxes (for three meals daily based on the set menu) – baking provisions were stored elsewhere. A full week’s worth of food (minus meat) only took half the bottom shelf of one of my kitchen cupboards and each week was stored in a box wherever we could fit it (there were several under the beds until we needed them).

      Whilst the 12 week menu for breakfasts, lunches and dinners were all written down and followed, to a large extent, to the letter, provisioning for baking was averaged out and I made sure there was enough flour, coconut sugar, dried egg etc. to cover a couple of batches of muffins each week. We use powdered milk and we don’t carry butter – its use in baking is covered by chia which can be stored as seed until you need to make up a batch. Baking provisions often come in flexible packaging (plastic unfortunately) and unless you want to decant them to eliminate the waste before leaving port, can be shoved in all sorts of nooks and crannies.

      Any extra supplies of emergency tins of canned meat, soups and things that can be used as part of a ‘sundowners kit’ for any socialising and catching up with other boats, were kept wherever we could fit them in. (There are a lot of small hidey holes on a boat).

      Yes the waste was awkward, but we did reduce it as much as we could before departure from Darwin. We also followed the rules – To save the hassle of the very limited fresh fruit and vegies allowed across the border into WA we took none. (Many yachties ignore the rules as they are probably designed for land-based travel. Technically you could probably argue that any potential bugs/diseases would be killed in a salt water grave but I’m a stickler for being good – sometimes too good, to my detriment).

      However, I would definitely do a few things differently to save on space and waste next time. Firstly, I would consider drying my vegies (officially well-dried vegies are allowed over the border (but they must be well-dried)). The issue here would be that storage should be in a fridge (most home-dried stuff lasts up to six months in a fridge) but you have to have the fridge space. As we have a water maker, rehydrating would not be a problem. I would also plan a menu with fewer tins (this would be possible with the dried vegies). Of course if you have the space you could cook up the appropriate amount of main meals to start with and freeze them. We also had the idea of crushing our tins to reduce space – we don t have an official can crusher. This worked only to an extent. The idea was to take the bottom off them (after washing of course) and then flatten the cylinder. Unfortunately, food manufactures have got clever, and/or cheap, and not all cans can have their bottoms removed, so instead of being able to flatten all my cans, a lot of them were not and they took up more space than we hoped (trial and error in advance of the next trip to work out which cans can have their bottoms removed would be a good idea).

      Of course if you are not crossing a Western Australian border or starting your trip from WA you don’t need to worry about the restrictions we had and can start your trip with lots of fresh food – the bulk of which will disappear relatively quickly and without having to be put in a ‘rubbish bin’!

      Apologies – that was a rather long response…..

      • Very doable! The other thing to remember though, is that if your rubbish is food packaging you should wash it (and let it dry) before putting it in the rubbish bin/bag so it doesn’t smell or go rotten whilst it is stored. Most of our actual rubbish was the sachets for prescription cat food – stuff we couldn’t decant and would have been disgusting if we’d left the packages unwashed for three months. (apologies for the delay in response – we’ve been out of internet range again.) Cheers Trish

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