This page is mainly for Mel, so she can organize her useful internet info all in one place. I suppose others could use it too…
An experienced cruiser gives specifics on all of the important details in putting together the kitchen, down to what brand scrubbies to buy: The Boat Galley.
Here is a partial list of the things that we had in the States that we could and could not find at each location. The more brand-specific your favorite food item, the less likely you are to find it. Note that these were not hardships — every place has some sort of food. Pasta, rice, pasta sauce, ground beef, chicken breasts, ketchup, mustard and even bread has been universal. We have found lots of nutella, peanut butter, and honey. So far everyone has had cereal such as Life, Cheerios, and Frosted Flakes. We have found “foreign” foods such as tortillas, canned kalamata olives, shredded Parmesan, and soy sauce everywhere so far. Everyone loves sausages and hot dogs. No one seems to have Nestle butterscotch morsels, but you can usually find chocolate chips if you dig. S&B Golden Curry and Tuna Helper is nowhere, but Velveeta or Kraft mac n’cheese is everywhere. Contact lens solution for gas permeable lenses (aka Boston) is nowhere. No one has foaming hand soap. Softscrub is hard to find.
Update: As you can see, Mel lost interest in doing this. After a while, you find ways to deal with what you don’t have. The Bahamas was difficult to provision in. Besides the three separate small grocery stores on Staniel Cay, you had to load up on the smaller islands whenever you found a decent store. Fresh meat was really hard to get, but boy they loved their cake mix and frosting!
Here’s a list of things we had trouble finding when we cruised the Med in Summer 2016: decent Ziploc bags (except for Cukis in Italy), decent kitchen trash bags, tampons in Greece (not sure what Greece has against tampons), cheddar cheese (you can find it, but it’s hard), tortillas (ditto), bamboo shoots and other Asian food condiments, good jars of pasta sauce in Italy (I think they just make their own), cream of chicken and any other Campbell’s-type soup, Jif peanut bitter (They have Nutella though. Lots of Nutella.), pork shoulder, brisket or similar recognizable chunk of beef, pre-cooked and warmed rotisserie chicken (oh, we are so spoiled!), canned chicken (they have canned every other meat, though), decent bacon (see this post), foaming hand soap (it’s there but hard to find), sour cream, baking powder, baked beans in a can, bacon bits, bleu cheese dressing. Pretzels and good tortilla chips were a rare and exciting find, but Europe has potato chips coming out of its a$$.
The Consumer Reports of Sailing, which is awesome: Practical Sailor.
Anecdotal opinions on how to fix your boat, for better or worse. Would recommend only reading the first 4 answers to any question. After that, a know-it-all jerk usually jumps in to berate the person asking the question for being ignorant. Not fun. Cruisers’ Forum.
A guy who knows a lot about cruising with a cat. The “Lifestyle” menu is the best part: The Catamaran Guru.
The American Sailing Association, which taught us how to sail: ASA
Northern Breezes Sailing School, which teaches the ASA method throughout the Twin Cities area: Northern Breezes
How to sail a cat around an island like you know what you are doing: Sail magazine.
The Sailing Podcast, hosted by an enthusiastic Aussie wanna-be cruiser: The Sailing Podcast.
59 Degrees North Podcast. Andy Schell does fantastic interviews with all sorts of sailors. His Ocean Passage stuff is most helpful. Fantastic to listen to on your long commute home before you sail away!
Helpful info if you don’t want your home-schooling to focus on identifying signs of the rapture: Minnesota Council for the Gifted & Talented.
The Minnesota Homeschooler’s Alliance: MHA.
In 2015, with Allie in fourth grade and Tommy in sixth grade, our homeschool involves the following curricula. Cruisers who homeschool really need to consider the fact that, while Wi-Fi is available most places, so far we have not experienced Wi-Fi reliable enough to do internet-based programs on the boat.
We have four basic classes: Math, Science, English, and Social Studies. Then, we have “elective,” which is less formal. “Electives” include art, Spanish, sailing, philosophy, mythology, oceanography, local culture (when we tour an island), handwriting, computer programming, typing…
English: Michael Clay Thompson’s language arts series: RFP. Allie who is nine is on Level 1 and Tommy, 11, is on Level 3. In retrospect, I should have started Tommy on Level 2, but we use some of Allie’s books to supplement Tommy’s stuff, and it works. MCT is wonderful as it is nautical-themed, but boy it requires A LOT of heavy books and the schedule for implementing the books can be confusing. He has now released electronic versions of the books that would be preferable. The MCT curricula focuses on grammar and writing and does not dictate what literature to read. I have tried to do some of the Common Core books, but they are more “poppy” than what I grew up with. So we do Newberry-award winners if we are stuck. I search the web for ways to teach the book and recently have purchased literature guides by Teacher Created Resources. They are very good. I also look for free stuff on Shmoop for the high-school-level books (both kids are advanced readers.) I also supplement with Editor-In-Chief and fun writing exercises in Not Just Schoolwork by Amy Burke and Nathan Levy. Nathan Levy makes great stuff! I am also going to start the kids on the FREE McGraw-Hill National Treasures Spelling Books, that come as downloadable pdfs. They also have reading comprehension and grammar books that I haven’t explored yet.
Science. I mistakenly bought the expensive Science Fusion. Allie has the fourth-grade book and I picked out middle-school modules E, F, G, and H for Tommy. If you have snappy broadband internet and HOURS to spend organizing and planning to do science, this is for you. I was expecting a program like Harcourt Horizons (below,) which is great for homeschoolers. Science Fusion looks really sexy, with beautiful digital lessons and virtual labs and the potential to do testing online. On the contrary, Science Fusion is the most poorly-organized, frenetic, and confusing curricula we have. It is clearly for formally-trained science teachers, and those who go to an all-day conference to help them figure it out. I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating this is for me. Because our internet is crap, I have tried to manufacture a paper version as much as I can. This means I have spent hours downloading .pdf’s with tens of pages of useless “rubrics” just to get answers to quizzes. It would be logical to have a textbook, a workbook/labbook, a book of tests&quizzes, and a teacher’s answerbook. BUT NOOOOO! You have to hand-assemble those things by clicking non-intuitively named links on a slow webpage. AAAAAGH! Plus, having the textbook does not ensure that you at least have a paper copy of all of the material covered on the tests. No! Some of the tested material is in the web content ONLY. The only reason we still use it is that I already bought it and the actual CONTENT is pretty good. In fact, when I picked Science Fusion it was because the content appeared superior above everything else. But you bleed for it.
Social Studies. We use Harcourt Horizons at grade levels. It comes with a textbook, workbook, and test & quizzes. This is paper-based and supposedly secular. No web needed! The activities in the workbook are sometimes irritating to the kids, and we were surprised that in the unit on ancient history, events only described in the Bible were stated as indisputable historical fact. There a focus on geography and map-reading skills that is nice, and overall we are satisfied.
Math: We use Singapore Math. I have to say it was difficult to figure out which level the kids should be on, even with the placement tests they provide, as their method is so different. Allie is on level 3A, Tommy level 6A. Note that both were in “challenge math” before we started cruising, and the Singapore math curriculum is challenging. It requires a lot of books but is self-contained, independent of the web, and the approach is great for teaching. This does require a bit of work for the parent to understand the system, but it’s not so bad. We like it. Allie was a bit weak on rote calculations, and so we have her work some exercises out of Kumon books at the start of each lesson. This has helped a lot.
“Electives”: Our teaching sources are myriad, but I would recommend Philosophy for Kids, a Mythology Coloring Book, Kid Coder programming courses, code.org (need good Wi-Fi), Scratch, Youth Digital (pricey; look for coupons on the web–they are everywhere!) and the JASON Project Immersion Learning Oceanography for Kids. If you plan to cruise while you teach, order this stuff before you go, because shipping from the states IS EXPENSIVE!
Our curricula for 2016 is similar, described here.
Cruiser-specific info about all locations, including customs, laws, and even local crime: Noonsite.
Good info, especially if you are in the Med: World Cruising and Sailing Wiki
Another good Med reference: JimBSail
An amazing site for sailing Greece, with really good stuff on weather: Sailing Issues
An awesome DVD series, hosted by Paul and Cheryl Shard, experienced cruisers: Distant Shores.