Vegemite - pride of Australia!

My Number One FAQ is “What do you eat?” Yesterday I was asked this three times. Other days it’s even more. In the last 5 years I must have answered this question about a thousand times. I should start charging for the answer.

So, in the (probably vain) hope that I can pre-empt the question at least until I launch, I have decided to post a blog about it.

Of course, food is important at sea, as it is anywhere else, come to that! I do like good food, and during my rowing adventures it acquires even greater importance, as a welcome break from rowing and a highlight of the day. A good dinner can restore flagging morale like nothing else. Over the years I have put much thought into what to take.

First, it has to meet certain criteria:

– last for up to 4 months without refrigeration

– not take up too much space

– not get crushed too easily

– be resistant to damage by heat or damp

– be quick and easy to prepare

– be nutritious enough to sustain prolonged physical exertion


Then there are my personal additional criteria. In a perfect world, my rations would also be:

– organic

– sustainable

– local

– mostly vegan or vegetarian (although somewhat flexible on this)

– in biodegradable packaging

– ideally donated free of charge by sponsors

– and, of course, taste good!


It’s almost impossible to meet all of these criteria, all of the time, but over the years I have managed to get pretty close. So this year I will be taking with me:


Loads of lovely Larabars!

From Larabar of Colorado, 432 raw fruit and nut bars:

32 x Ginger Snap

32 x Apple Pie

48 x Banana Bread

48 x Cinnamon Roll

48 x Pecan Pie

60 x Peanut Butter Cookie

60 x PBJ

60 x Jocolat – Chocolate

60 x Jocolat – Chocolate Coffee


From Wilderness Family Naturals of Minnesota:

6 jars Chocolate syrup (yum!)

6 x 1 lb Coconut powder (awesome when added to Thai curry!)

8 x 8oz Macadamia nuts

8 x 5.8oz Pecan nuts

8 x 6oz Almonds

8 x 8oz Brazils

8 x 4.5oz Walnuts

8 x 5.8oz Cashews

8 x 5oz Mixed nuts

8 x 8oz Pumpkin seeds

8 x 8oz Sunflower seeds

2 x Himalayan pink sea salt

8 x hot chocolate mix

4 x coconut spread

4 x freeze dried bananas

4 x freeze dried blueberries

4 x freeze dried raspberries


And plenty of good food from down under, too…..


Back Country Cuisine freeze-dried dinners from New Zealand. With all the stuff I add to it, one dinner lasts me for two nights. This is where the veggie side falls down a bit, but it really is nice to be able to have a hot dinner with some protein after a long day’s rowing. Kindly sponsored by Sea To Summit:

15 x Fish Pie

15 x Thai Chicken Curry

15 x Roast Chicken

15 x Babotjie

15 x Nasi Goreng


18kg rawfood crackers, made by ROAR Foods of Queensland, packaged in biodegradable plastic:

5 kgs of Pizza Base crackers

5 kgs of Sun Burgers

5 kgs of Mock Turkey Burgers (made with cashews and dried cranberries)

3 kgs of Beetroot crackers


Beans for sprouting - instructions thoughtfully included!

25 packs of Shaklee energy chews from California

12 cans of Red Feather Canned Butter from New Zealand, supplied by Ballantyne

8kg of beans for sprouting from Farmland Greens of Western Australia – I grow my own sprouts on board, using a Sproutamo pot, and they really pack a powerful nutritional punch, chock-full of fibre, enzymes, minerals…. and crunch!

6 jars of lemon marmalade and 6 jars of plum jam from Lemon Ladies of California

20 bags of fancy nuts from Samudra of Western Australia (Candy Spice Nuts, Power Max Macadamias, Cacao Cashew Clusters, Sunny Glow Almonds)


Fresh foods (for as long as they last):

Artisan bread, courtesy of Abhi’s Bread Shop in Fremantle (Fruit & nut, Rye & fruit, Spelt, Wholemeal sunflower, Polenta and sultana)



Hummus (3 tubs, biodegradable)

2kg cheese (Emmental and/or Jarlsberg)

Hard-boiled eggs


Other goodies:

Tahini (8 jars)

Shoyu sauce (8 bottles, tahini and shoyu get mixed with beansprouts and nuts for a yummy lunch, with rawfood crackers on the side)

Honey, purchased from Bartholomew’s Meadery during our weekend in Denmark, Western Australia (2 jars)

Miso  (organic, 30 sachets)

Green & Blacks chocolate (5 bars)

Ginger tea (good for seasickness, 50 teabags)

Garam masala (3 jars)


And as my insurance policy, I will also be taking some vitamin supplements from my UK supplier, Biocare:

Vyta-Myn Complex 3 x 60 capsules

Osteoplex 2 x 90 capsules

Jointguard 15 x 300ml

Hair and Nail Complex 2 x 90 capsules

Dermaguard 3 x 60 capsules


…and of course, no trip from these shores would be adequately provisioned without a jar of Vegemite!!


I reckon I’ve got the food down to a pretty fine art now. Enough variety to keep it interesting, without mealtimes becoming a major decision-making process. Enough nutrition, but also enough yumminess to keep me happy.

What about you? If you were going to stockpile enough food to keep you going for 4 months, what would you take? And what would be your special treat?


  • Thanks Roz!
    I’d definitely take the vegemite & marmalade. I’d also have to pack Fairtrade PNG coffee beans, my coffee plunger & 12.5kg coffee grinder (yes, I weighed it on my bathroom scales just for this comment!)
    What would life be without a freshly ground & plunged cup of black coffee in the morning?

    ps. Hi Rita

  • One item on your list made me smile. They used to sell a brand of beer around here (East coast US) called “Ballantine”. A “special treat” indeed, but only if it’s nice and cold. I’m not partial to the English custom of room-temperature beer, sorry.

    • Actually, Tom, English beer should be served at cellar temperature, which is considerably cooler than room temperature. I do love a pint of proper English ale, but there is a fine art to storing and serving it correctly, and not all English pubs get it right, unfortunately.

      See also point above about different countries having different tastes – I’ll pass on the fizzy pale iced stuff, thanks!

  • For those humid hot days: bring some spice into it…

    Spicy foods come from hot, equatorial cultures. It is a potent vasodilator and makes you sweat without working. Your Norwegians won’t even place black pepper on their table but your Vietnamese and Cubans will eat it for breakfast. The “drinking” involved with hot foods is because your brain is telling your body that you are de-hydrated due to the vasodilation, which also cools you off more. Beer is only initially a hydrator 🙂

    Go Roz Row!

  • Stupid Suggestion I guess??? As I was recovering from the 28 Day Coma, they gave me so much Peanut Butter in those 4+ months in the hospital on everything – The Protein is so important for healing… You have PB & PB&J Bars, But a few plastic (sorry, just be careful with the empties – fill them with seawater at the end as ballast) jars of Organic Peanut Butter, being round, squishy, they would fit almost in any nook or cranny… Spread it on anything, dip other things in it, yum, yum… Great for you too!!! And don’t forget to use the empties, filled with seawater, or “whatever” as Ballast…

  • I tasted vegemite once, I had to rinse my tongue off. It is an acquired taste.

    How do you keep mold and mildew off the food? One gets use to room temperature beer. Some beers have far more taste at room temperature. If you really want to cool your beer down, tie a 50 foot line to it and drop the beer over the side.

    • No beer on board my boat! I run a dry ship (in the alcohol sense rather than in the not-wet sense). It’s a chance to bring my yearly average down to something resembling respectable!

  • What a wide variety. I’m only 1 hour away from the supermarket and my menu is ramen and beer.

    Have you ever experimented cooking with seawater?

    • Slob! 🙂

      Fortunately I haven’t had to cook with seawater. With all the plastic that is in it these days, I wouldn’t like to!

  • Hi Roz,

    Wow. You eat better than I do. I do notice that you’re only taking one (1) jar of Vegemite. A nice sop to the down under types, yet obviously can be preserved intact throughout the voyage and even buried with you many years from now if necessary.

  • Roz,
    Here in Colorado, we can get a freeze-dried hummus that saves over 90% on weight and almost as much in volume. I have had a bag of it on my shelf for weeks with no problem (non-ocean environment). Just mix with a little water. It even has a little tahini mixed in.

    I get it in the bulk department of my local organic store. Perhaps somewhere around Freemantle, you might find the same. It would be nice to have hummus for more than the first couple of weeks.

    As for what I would miss … I tend to miss those things that are characteristic of places I visit. Some things I can only get when visiting family in the Seattle area. There are a couple of things you can only get in the area of upstate New York where I grew up. Even with the more wide-spread cultures we get around the world today, the best food is often found at its origin. Perhaps New Orleans is a good example?


      • Roz, They do – at least the used to… Trying to remember the name of the company – Coma will do that to you… The company did freeze dried apples – lots of types, carrots, parsnips, pears, onions… All sorts of things… And it WAS an “English” company – discovered it at a “Survival Camp” in N. Ontario Canada in about 1970… But, Someone specializing in such foods in Australia should know about this firm… And the things came in big, weather-proof, resealable and reuable bags that were good for this Canoeing Survival Camp – as we paddled the lakes of N. Canada…

  • Hey, Another stupid idea that I just read a story about – Not Vegan or Vegetarian, but apparently full of Proteins – again good for healing muscles – Jerky – Beef, Turkey, Buffalo and the like… Keeps forever!

  • Slightly off topic but I don’t recall Roz ever mentioning a medical kit.
    Roz what medical supplies do you carry?

  • mmm… Vegemite, although marmite would be preferable.

    I wondered about medical supplies too. There is a photo of the first aid kit for the Atlantic row in the blog.

    Do you still take the same medical supplies and have you acquired any medical knowledge/training? Obviously, I hope that boat and rower remain in fine fettle and neither require ministrations, medical or other.

    Good luck.

    • Wow, Aimee, what a memory! I do have a first aid kit, although it has become a bit more compact over the years. Fortunately I have still not used anything apart from the painkillers, bandaids, and Deep Heat (or Tiger Balm instead, this year).

      I have done some first aid courses. I’m a dab hand at suturing bubble wrap….!

  • Bon Voyage Roz!!!

    The movie thing on my life is zooming forward – kind of amazing stuff… Lots of “Big Name” people expressing interest in being part of the project…

    About to go bald for my weekly, scalp, skin cancer surgeries – that I have done every year at this time, for 31 years now… Thinking of you, on this amazing voyage, as they are working on me each week, will make this “voyage” for me easier to deal with – growing kind of tired of it all…

    The Free Wind Project seems to be zooming forward again too… Last weeks offer of a donation of 75 acres of land, on the water, in Connecticut looks perfect for our first, self-sustaining, renewable energy model community… I arranged for an appraisal for Tax/Donation purposes today… The appraiser hinted that would be pretty low – so the woman might not go for it… We will see…

    As far as food suggestions… Don’t forget, Jars of Organic Peanut Butter are full of Protein needed to heal muscles – I lived on it post-28-day coma those 4+ months in the hospital in 2008… Spread it on anything, Dip things in it, One of my favorite “Salad Dressings” – great on crispy sprouts – is a mix of Peanut Butter, Soy, Honey and a Little Red Pepper – play with the amounts of each for the texture and taste you like most – but it should be primarily PB – Very Indonesian… And, When you are done with the PB Jar, fill it with seawater as ballast to make up for the loss of the weight of the other food eaten that was ballast in a way… Likewise “Jerkys” are full of protein, weigh nothing, and last forever – Beef, Turkey, Buffalo, I have even seen Salmon, all different flavors – Smokey, BBQ, Teriyaki and the like…

    Be careful Roz – but have a great voyage…

    A new fan – One of millions, I know!

    Richard Webster

    • Funny how different nationalities have different tastes. PB, jerky, and even coffee are particularly American tastes. I find PB glues my mouth together, chewing jerky makes my jaw ache, and if I can’t have a caramel latte, I’ll skip the coffee too, thanks! 🙂

      Having said that, the Indonesian-style dressing sounds really good!

      • The dressing is SPECTACULAR, and I hate Jerky too – I was just thinking lightweight, Proteins, and the PB can be replaced with Cashew Butter – You mentioned liking Cashews, or Almond Butter, neither are as sticky, but still full of Proteins, good on anything, good as dips, and would probably be fine in that “Salad Dressing” too… And the jars can be filled with seawater and used as ballast when done too…

  • Caffeine??!!! You could make sun-brewed tea with a big jar and tea bags. Green tea would keep you hydrated, full of antioxidants, and of course provide you with precious caffeine.

  • Wow, Roz, you really do come up with a delicious variety of food considering all the restrictions you have! Makes me wonder what I could do to improve my own diet with a little effort. As for a special treat, I agree with Pippa… coffee!

  • Vegemite should be great for replenishing salt after sweating and vitamin B for nerves. I’d take a fishing line and net realizing I’d not get much out at sea but might be useful. Do today’s explorers take Kendal Mint Cake? It must give amazing sugar highs. We used to take it as kids. I like dried curries, tins of sardines, and for the first few days some hard boiled eggs. I like sprouted stuff too. Limeys took limes for scurvy! At college my pre-rowing food was a Mars bar.

    • Also re: peanut butter. When I did Greyhound buses on first visiting the US I discovered peanut butter and jelly in one jar so I could alternate flavors.

    • I like dahl and I’d take a sack of rice and lentils too! I wonder if you can make steamed bread – if so you’d need yeast and flour – we made a steamed treacle pudding over a boiling can of water at Girl Guide (~Girl Scout) camp.

  • I am one of those people fascinated by this – so thank you so much for posting your Indian Ocean larder. You make me feel so silly for having to run to the grocery store more than once a week! In theory I could plan even fewer trips!

    (And freeze dried carrot sticks sound like a very yummy idea… I wonder if you could make a few suggestions to that company!)

  • Very good looking and somehow perfect choice of food to be with on the go.. That could be more idealistic new way of picking thing with you in the middle of nowhere considers all the mentioned options.. More power!

  • Small tins of fish in various sauces, Carrs crackers, dried fruits, organic buffalo jerky, vacuum packed cooked new red potatoes, freeze dried packets of New orleans red beans & rice, Katmandu curry, Garlic mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, Chocolate musse with graham cracker crust, 120 energy bars, Laughing Cow cheese, 30 apples, almond butter, lingonberry jam unsweetened, unsweetened pineapple juice, grapefruit juice, Welch’s grape juice, Red Zinger tea, English Breakfast tea, sweetened condensed milk, granola, powdered milk, variety of nuts

  • Funny you should mention it, we just finished packing 87 days of food.  38 for rowing, 36 for cycling and 13 for canoeing.  for our exped to Labrador, Canada.   We like to base our dinners off of major carbo providers such as instant potatoes, cous cous, rice and pasta.  On top we add dehydrated chicken or beef, red sauce/white sauce anything to make it interesting.  Breakfasts consist of granola and powdered milk and we self mixed and rationed 20kgs of trail mix with lots of nuts and dried fruits.  we also have all kinds of treats, soups, and instant noodles.  Although it was a lot of work packing and preparing all our food it would never have been possible with out the inspiration of people like Hannah Mckeand, Colin angus and of course Roz Savage.


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