Provisioning the smart way: Cargo Ship

Provisioning by Cargo Ship!

“Work smarter not harder” is a good motto. Our debacle to fly food to Tuamotus — ie. Sabrina’s supreme sherpa effort — was costly, tiring, and time consuming. It was time for something to change.

Challenges can catalyze new ideas. ‘Sometimes life gives you a good slap in the cheek in order to force you to shift gears’. That is actually the thesis of a book mentioned in the Hidden Brain podcast, called “Messy: the power of disorder to transform our lives” by Tim Harford (i think that’s the author’s name?) . He says that we try to avoid chaos & messiness in our lives because it causes inefficiency in our day-to-day (ie. screw up the day’s schedule). But sometimes that unfortunate curve-ball is just the chaotic disturbance we need to change our pre-set patterns and actually increase long term effectiveness.

That is what happened with out food provisioning situation, thanks to a series of “unfortunate curve balls”: 1. We ran out of fresh produce 2. The Maraamu winter storm prevented the cargo ship from delivering food 3. Sabrina’s mom was joining us so we were highly motivated to get fresh food 4. This opened our eyes and made us wonder, what are the other options?? How can this challenge make us better, more effective?

Instead of waiting for food to “hopefully” arrive in the store in Tuamotus, as we normally did, we decided to look into what the locals do: order directly from Tahiti. They make a bulk order every week or two, and supplement their needs at the local store when things are available. After asking locals what food suppliers they use, we called one up, setup an account, and made our first order.

“How much is 2 kilograms of carrots? Is 1/5 kilogram of parsley too much??” Sabrina asked. We were ordering food by weight, which is not very intuitive to us. We wrestled with the order for days, but once we finalized it, all we had to do is pick it up when the cargo ship arrived.

The order was paid on a Friday, shipped on Monday, and arrived by Wednesday morning. “We were wondering who this Aldebaran was” said the Cobia cargo ship attendant, as he showed us our pile of 6 boxes. Wow, here was our food! We hastily took everything back to the boat, and laid it out on the bench to “sweat out”, ie. Release condensation built up from the items being in a refrigerated hold in the ship for 48hrs. Now was the job of actually putting things away with our limited cold storage…

How much was the cost of this pile of fresh food cost, shipped 200 miles from Tahiti to Tuamotus? Submit your best guess below in the comments 🙂

8 thoughts on “Provisioning the smart way: Cargo Ship

    • As you are knowledgable about high costs in Tahiti, no doubt a good guess. I can’t top that, Adam.
      Guess I’d better stick with125.

    • YES!! The Price is Right! The winner is Adam, $250 was exactly the cost of those groceries.


  1. I guess $160.00 USD. I am now imagining the work of individually wrapping every piece of fruit as we did before the passage from the Galapagos to Pitcairn. It worked.

Comments are closed.