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It pays to have good friends. And it pays even more to have good friends with a car and a membership to Sam’s Club. But a several-hour shopping trip to Sam’s was only one of the things on our to-do list yesterday. First thing on our list was attempting to find a length of chain to replace that which was lost the other day. Unfortunately, we can’t just replace the small amount that we cut off. To do so would require using special links to join the chain in the middle and they would literally be the “weak link” in the chain. No, we were in search of 100′. It also needs to be exactly the same size/kind of chain to fit properly in our windlass. You’d think that wouldn’t be too hard, right? Think again. We found only one place that had 5/16″ G4 chain in stock and they wanted $4.55 per foot! Yes, you read that right. Forget that! I can’t remember what we paid for the chain initially but we’ll live with the 62′ we have before spending anywhere near that much. As it turns out, after being ferried around from store to store by our friends’ friend Hector, in his beautiful BMW I might add, we heard that our sailing buddies on the Swedish vessel Snowbird may have 100′ feet of suitable chain on their boat that they could sell us. We’ll see when we catch up with them again in Salinas.

How sad.

Second job on the list was the refrigerator and Hector arranged for a guy that he knows, Cesar, to be at the dock waiting for us. As it stands at this moment, the old evaporator is out and Cesar has both it and the new one in his possession, switching the fittings in his shop. He should be back this morning to complete the install and I really hope he does because as our friends are leaving this morning, they’re planning on giving us all of their frozen and refrigerated food. I can almost taste the cold beverages!

That just left us with the trip to Sam’s. Over the years Rebecca and I have had several memberships to Costco, our local equivalent to Sam’s back home. The truth is though that we never really took advantage of it all that well. Now, after having traveled down through the islands and witnessed first hand how expensive things can be, we took much better advantage of the values that existed there. The pics below might lead you to believe that we only purchased alcohol and although we did buy some, we stocked up on much more than that.

Here is a partial list of the stuff we walked away with:

  • 4 cases of beer (let’s start with the obvious)
  • 1 case of rum (you can’t buy this at Costco back in Canada)
  • An HP Netbook computer (we opted for this instead of the iPad 🙁 )
  • A Sony car stereo (Our boat currently has no built in music and we need to fix that)
  • A 6L pressure cooker (we’re going to give it a try)
  • An inflatable lounge chair, complete with cup holder and foot rest (no further description required I hope)
  • Lots of TP and paper towels (can’t be running out of TP now can we)
  • Tons of canned and dry food (until the fridge is repaired we can’t really buy fresh or frozen)

Total money spent at Sam’s = $955.00. Ouch!!!!!!!!

Inexpensive beer.

Relatively inexpensive rum.

So many people swear by pressure cookers that we decided to give it a go.
Like the beer and rum, this was also pretty inexpensive.

Windows. Ick!


  1. Now don’t go all Mac fanboy on us, Mike… Windows isn’t that bad! (Once you get used to it, that is. And once you replace a lot of the built-in junk- IE, Outlook Express, etc.- with better, free alternatives. And once you disable all the run-on-startup bloatware that the hardware manufacturer kindly pre-loaded for you. And once you figure out its fragmented, multi-part network connections config system. Once you’ve done all that, it’s just fine.)

  2. You will not regret buying the pressure cooker. I don’t know what I did before I had one. To get started check out the following website: Both her website and cookbook are THE bible for pressure cooking. You should find everything you need there.

    Here’s a recipe favorite of mine to get you started:

    Mexican Steak Burritos

    2 Tablespoons oil
    2 pounds sirloin steak, cut into 1 x 4 inch strips
    1 onion, halved and quartered
    2 poblano, pasilla or Anaheim chiles, seeded and cut into strips
    1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
    1 cup bottled salsa, hot or mild
    1 cup packed chopped cilantro stems and leaves
    1 Tablespoon chili power
    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    Heat the oil in the pressure cooker over medium heat. Add the meat, cook in small batches until browned on all sides, and set each batch aside on paper towels until finished. Add the onion to the cooker and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and return the meat to the cooker, along with the chiles, peppers, salsa, cilatro, chili powder and cumin, stirring to mix. Lock the lid in place. Bring to 15 psi over high heat, immediately reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting to stabilize and maintain that pressure and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and use the quick release method to depressurize. Strain, reserving the broth for soups or stews, if desired. Arrange the beef mixure on a serving platter and keep warm until ready to serve. Add meat to tortillas, add your favorite toppings.

  3. windows ick is right! but there is hope. I have a dell netbook that I placed an Apple sticker over the Dell logo (of course took a little bit more effort to boot up Mac OS X than that) This is a good site and you can check how well your HP netbook is supported, the site has a good table thats lists various netbooks and how much of the hardware is supported in OS X. I had planned on doing this so I looked at this table before I bought a netbook so I could buy one that had 100% support.

    I made my netbook a dual boot machine, it defaults to OS X, or I can boot into the Windows XP that came with it when I need to. Definitely makes a very portable full fledged OS X device.

    If your netbook is supported the install instructions are pretty easy to follow, and even if you screw it up, so what? Worst case scenario you just restore the netbook back to the way you bought it.


  4. Hi!

    I came across this website once while reading a thread on the Cruisers’ Forum for good tips, techniques and recipes for pressure cookers. It seems to be all free.

    All the best.

  5. I don’t know . . . . Live with the chain you have and buy the iPad. Sure you can’t take that ICKKY thing back? Good luck with the refrig – I cried the first time we went to the boat and the refrig didn’t work. Ended up we needed to change out our battery situation.

    Love how you just roll with whatever is thrown your way!!!


  6. Not liking to cook, we’d love to hear your thoughts (and recipes) on the pressure cooker once you try it out. Hope you get your fridge fixed in time to get all that free food from a fellow cruiser … how generous of them! We’re hoping that by the time we get ready to” take off” the i-pad will be really cheap, as well as a lot of the other electronics!

  7. But it’s pretty amazing that your shopping list included all that stuff *and a netbook* and still didn’t go over $1000!

    The very first thing I did with my new HP laptop was load Ubuntu 10.04 on it. And I peeled off the Windows sticker and stuck it on my wastebasket.


  8. Personally I don’t get all the fascination about iPads. Maybe I’d feel differently if I had one, but from a distance they appear to be a functionally restricted netbook. For example, I’d hate not having the ability to access the file structure and create my own music or photo folders as opposed to being forced to use an ‘app’ like iTunes, etc. Plus no keyboard, etc. etc.
    I think that as a DIY type you’ll be much happier with your HP, once you get rid of all the bloatwear that is. 🙂

  9. We have an iPad but ALL of our “real” computers are Windows based. We love our iPad and our iPods, but we HATE Mac computers. Give us Windows over Mac anyday!!!

  10. I nearly bought a pressure cooker but now I’m not sure what I the heck I planned on cooking in it. Please do pass on some recipes or ideas in case I do end up with one. We have weathered some pretty good blows on the hook with just 50 feet of (heavy) chain and nylon rode. If you don’t find anything soon I bet you’ll be fine.

  11. That’s the computer I have. I was going to recommend it. It has good wi-fi. If you buy a Hawking wireless extender, and extend it further with a longer wire, you might find you can piggyback wi-fi for free in certain places. It’s working for me in Japan right now, until the house whose wi-fi I am feeding off, closes their shutters at dusk. Grrrrr.

  12. The notebook will make a great anchor for your dinghy.

    Should’a gone with the iPad!

  13. Mike, the first computers I used were the old Apple IIs. It always seemed to me that the Apple OS was much more intutive than Windows. Windows was the IBM clone attempt to do as good a job of making an intuitive OS as Apple had already done. Now, however, the derth of software written for the Apple at a reasonable price has left me stuck with Windows, and worse, Wondows Vista!! Blaaah!. Hope you are able to replace both chain and refrigeration soon.

  14. Good to see the “ballast” replenished. Just came across a tip from Vida Dulce.
    Stock up on liquor in Tortola. Apparently the selection lacks between there and Granada.
    Except for rum, I suppose.

  15. andy & sonja cru-zinacatamaran - Reply

    I have to say i was a windows fan until i was shown how to use the “Intelligent mac correctly “, & all those viruses never get in to our mac & we have boot camp to run windows programs cd’s /copied charts etc so it does have some good use, & if it doesn’t work for you put it in the pressure cooker for 2 hours on slow heat 🙂 & have a Rum & coke
    As for the chain couldn’t you just attach some new good shackles along with a short peace of chain & run the line/rope down that distance as well so it is strengthen via the line incase the link broke ?

  16. I know its not my business……..I am going to ask anyways,
    you do so much and you are always purchasing so much, do you have a budget……

    ps. please continue to spend and have fun

    • Hi John
      No, we have no budget. I have just never operated that way. If we decide that we need something, we buy it. When we need money, we find it. Admittedly, we have been doing a lot of the former (buying) and not so much of the latter (finding).

  17. Discussions about what’s better are always pretty much a waste of time and a sure way to piss someone off. Never discuss politics, religion, guns on boats, computers and especially, anchors. Shocked to see you buy that much of that particular rum in the islands, you are a hop skip and a jump from great rum at cheap prices. So maybe add rum to that non discussion list as well.

  18. Day after day, day after day,
    We type, blogging in endless motion;
    As active as a video ship
    Upon a YouTube ocean.
    Netbooks, Netbooks, everywhere,
    Without a hub to link;
    Netbooks, Netbooks, everywhere,
    Corey’s iPad is on your mind I think.

  19. Hopefully the pressure cooker is stainless steel?

  20. Since I have been an IT Consultant for over 25 years, the VAST majority of my experience is with Windows. There have been some pretty crappy versions put out over the years; but with Windows7, I am very happy with the performance.

    That being said, my wife has a MacBook, my kids have iPhones, and I am about to get an iPad – I won it, not purchased 🙂 I am definitely glad to hear how others are using the iPad for charts, blogging, etc.

    BTW, I am now less than a month behind you in reading the blog. Hopefully, I will catch up before too long. Just not this weekend – I will be crewing on a Santana 20 in our 2nd Spring race.


    Gael Force

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