Posted by: rosyroadsadventures | October 16, 2011

What’s Hard to Find?

N 18° 19.8′ W 64° 56.9

Water Island, St. Thomas, USVI

Before leaving the States we filled the boat with everything we could possibly store that we thought would be hard to find along the way. While we are still dipping into our stash, we have had success getting most things we have depleted. These are some things that have been hard to find: 

  1. Grape seed oil – Absolutely love it for cooking. It has a higher smoke point than olive oil and has many healthful qualities. Just haven’t been able to find it since leaving the Publix behind in Florida. I know, poor me! Most people have survived their entire life without grape seed oil and are doing just fine. We have found lots of olive oils to choose from.

  1. Smoked fish spread – Since leaving Marathon, FL, no one seems to know what this is, and we really miss it. For those of you in St. Pete, check out the Save On Seafood fish market on 49th Street in Gulfport and enjoy their smoked fish spread for us! You might become addicted too.

  1. Liquid smoke – never used this before the trip, but we are making our own substitute smoked fish spread using canned tuna. The liquid smoke provides a reasonable approximation of the flavor. This stuff is hard to find here, but finally found some on Culébra, then cruising friend Helene gave me an extra bottle, then found more in a gourmet grocery on St. Thomas. If I don’t break a bottle we should be set for another year’s worth of fish spread as long as we keep finding tuna.

  1. Healthy prepared dog food – having switched over to the camp who believe that most commercial dog food is garbage, I feed the dogs a combination of home-made food and high quality prepared dog foods. Finding dog food along the way that has meat, not corn or grain, as the main ingredient and has none of the dreaded “byproducts” has been really tough. Finally got to a Petsmart in Puerto Rico that had some better choices. I’m not optimistic about what we will find as we head south. The good news for my spoiled dogs, and bad news for the cook, is they will probably end up with more homemade meals.

  1. Yeast – I’m not sure how they bake in Puerto Rico. Never saw yeast in the stores. And forget about the special bread machine yeast. When I ran out of my yeast stash I found some in the BVI.

  1. Different types of flour are scarce. Found white and sometimes whole wheat, but nothing more exotic like rye or buckwheat. Rice is the starch of choice in PR and the DR, and there was a huge rice selection and rice flours.

  1. Fish – unless you fish yourself or find a local fisherman bringing in his catch, it has been surprisingly hard to get fresh fish. The supermarkets along the way had mostly frozen fish from China and Indonesia, and fish markets were few and far between. When we got to the BVI and bought fish labeled “BVI Fisheries” turned out it was repackaged and had come from Chile. Shame on us for not doing our own fishing.

  2. Box wines – What a great concept for storing wine and so convenient for traveling on a boat. Seems like this packaging method is slowly catching on with some of the wineries even though it is less elegant. At home we found a couple of varieties that were good and very reasonable. Only saw a boxed wine once in PR, and it was a really tiny and expensive box.

  3. Rotella oil, single weight – Bob is partial to this brand for his oil needs on the boat. He has found it on occasion, but usually never when he needs it. Since we can only carry enough spare oil for one set of oil changes, he has ended up purchasing the multi-weight variety instead, and sometimes a different brand.

  4. Boat parts – Fortunately we have needed very few, and Bob carries a large spares inventory aboard. He forgot to purchase a spare impeller for the new Yamaha outboard dinghy motor before we left and had no success finding one along the way. He finally special ordered one from an outboard motor parts store in Puerto Rico. He was surprised that George Town, Bahamas, a cruisers haven, had an extremely limited boat parts supply. West Marine in Fajardo carried basic items, but many things needed to be special ordered and shipped from the States.

 Guess that’s not so bad?


We are still hanging out in St. Thomas. The Emerald Princess snuck into the harbor this morning and docked at the Crown Bay facility just across from our anchorage. For a commercial harbor, this area is pretty quiet.



After some trial and error, we found a good dinghy dock and dog walk location on Water Island.



Shady roads, beautiful views, small guest villas, pretty beach & beach bar on Water Island


You know you are in a cruiser-friendly place when you spot the open air book exchange. Take one, leave one. This one at the Water Island ferry dock.




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