We’re rapidly reaching the end of the PIPERS Expedition to the Ross Sea. The cruise was planned for 66 days; in the end it looks like it may be 62 days to account for some fuel calculations and a safety margin for weather.
But that’s not all we’re reaching the end of….. In fact, we have seen the last of many of our favorite foods, which we get plenty of on land, but which don’t always last when you spend two months at sea, without a supermarket in sight. The first things to go are usually the leafy vegetables, and when they go you think, well I won’t miss you that much, because we don’t always consider salad the “best” part of the meal. That’s usually dessert, right?
Out here, things go completely upside down. It’s not uncommon to hear “what I wouldn’t give for a juicy tomato” as someone stops to pick up a slice of cheesecake in the spot where the salad bar used to be. That’s right, we miss you, salad bar! We would gladly get you back, in exchange for our banana cream pie.
It’s not that we don’t appreciate the desserts or any of the dishes that we get, but there is a variety that we’re used to on land, which doesn’t hold up out here. And PIPERS was a particularly long cruise, so we have run out of a lot of items in the past two months. Like all humans everywhere, the PIPERS participants like to talk about food, so the disappearance of one item or key ingredient, doesn’t go unnoticed for long. There was the day that we ran out of Ketchup. That caught everyone by surprise, because we were only a few weeks into the cruise. Fortunately, Chef Nena (check out more on Nena) improvised and whipped up some home made ketchup, which was actually better than the Heinz or whatever brand we had before. There was the day that Corn Flakes ran out. Actually, all the cereal except Trix ran out over the course of a week. Fortunately, Jeffrey the head Chef filled in the gaps with oatmeal, pancakes and plenty of eggs for breakfast, but no more midnight bowls of cereal. I personally breathed a sigh of lament when the raisins ran out. There was the week that rumors swirled about the yogurt dwindling to nothing – folks were starting to stockpile in their cabins in preparation for the coming famine. It turns out those were just rumors at the time, but the yogurt did eventually go a few weeks later.
All in all, we still have plenty to eat, and it’s not uncommon to put on a little extra weight when we’re at sea, ahem. They feed us three times a day and we can only go at most 300 feet in any direction, so the exercise routine slips a little. In a way, running out of certain foods just makes the prospect of reaching land that more ‘delicious’. The talk of first meals, first beverages, first activities back on land is mostly how we pass the time in the galley these days. Won’t be long now!