Provisioning IN THE Dominican Republic

LOCATION NOTES:

Boca Chica is a little village located 30km more East than Santo Domingo, on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, a country situated on the island of La Hispaniola, which they share with their neighbours, Haiti is listed as one of the poorest nations in the world.
Unfortunately, the relationships between these two countries are not smooth: the differences, inequalities and conflicts have intensified
and aggravated even more after the heavy hurricanes and the cholera epidemic which hit the Haitian population over the past
years severely.
Once again, we find that the origins of such a situation dig their roots way back into the History. We have to acknowledge that these seeds of
discord have been sowed a long time ago, here like elsewhere, from hands who were not working these soils but came from far away to
exploit them and enslave their natives. That thick, dangerous border line which divides the French-controlled part of the island, Haiti,
from the Spanish-settled zone, Dominican Republic was not there when the indigenous people, the Tainos among others, were inhabiting
the island. Other were the issues back then, surely, and conflicts were eventually present also before the arrival of the Spaniards, but
it is undeniable that the dreadful events that followed the landing of the first Spanish settlers in La Hispaniola opened up the way for
one of the most shameful chapters of Human history, colonization, which has deep and atrocious repercussions on
all Central and South American continents till our present days. This is in fact the island where Christopher Columbus first landed in 1492. Santo Domingo, the capital of DR, an immense city, overwhelming in its size and crowding was also the first permanent Spanish and European settlement in this part of the Earth in the whole History.

La Hispaniola is a beautiful and wild island, and very big too! In the Caribbean region, it is second only to Cuba in its size and
demography. Its waters, skies and forest are home to many different endemic species of flora and fauna: from the humpback whales, that
come here to reproduce nearby Samana, to the threatened and rare rhino iguanas, and more than 300 species of birds. And finally, in
its rocky guts are hidden ancient deposits some of Amber and of Larimar, a rare “stone” of a stunning turquoise colour, found
basically only in DR. And last but not least, much of the coffee and cacao we drink and eat worldwide has been grown here.

The Dominican Republic offers a very different experience compared to the smaller paradise islands Tres Hombres visits, but it is surely a crucial stop not merely for our cargo operations but also for our crew, to build up a deeper, and more comprehensive, overview of the History of the Caribbean.

PROVISIONING:

For provisioning, I walked to the market area of San Andres, a 10min walk from the commercial harbour. The first day I spent shopping around at all the different stalls trying to get a gauge of what was on offer and the different prices. The language spoken there is Spanish which I have just enough of a grasp of to do some of my own negotiation, which was fun. It became apparent that I was getting the best deals with Maria, a very warm woman who ran her food stall with the help of her partner and daughter (on a side post scriptum note: we are still in touch via voice messages, she is really sweet and caring). I decided to organize the bulk of the big crossing order through her.

She also explained to me how it works: all the market stall holders go to a big night market to get their products in San Domingo. Maria told us she goes at 1 AM, three times a week. I have also seen her at her own stall every day of the week, so I can only imagine how long are the days that she works! We asked if we could go with her to the night market, but she wasn’t sure if it was safe for us as white people and was also worried that if she was seen with us they would raise the price of the veg sold to her. Fair enough!

Instead, I put together a big list and she went and got it on my behalf. The next morning her partner Angel drove the approximately 150kg of veg to the fish market, our dinghy spot close to the port. Here we loaded it onto the dinghy in three runs and got it on board. Storing it all away for the big crossing was a big mission as well, but this is another story.

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MEET THE CREW

MEET OUR TRAINEE ARCO

Age:  60
Nationality: DUTCH
Position onboard: TRAINEE
Former occupation on land (aka how do you keep yourself busy when you are not sailing)?
I am a father of two. I work as occupational health physician, insurance physician, and an instituutsopleider at the Radboud
University in Nijmegen (e.g. training new medical specialists). I also volunteer for the local GroenLinks political party, in an
orchard pruning group and for the Slow Food Movement.
Which book, film, song and/or event inspired and sparked in you first the dream of a life at sea?
TV series: Sil de Strandjutter
Book:  In de Bovenjkooi from Jan Maarten Biesheuvel
Song:  Al die willen de kaapren varen
What to pack for your sea chest, absolutely?
A small waterproof (dry) bag for dinghy rides
What to leave ashore, doubtless?
Worries.
Which is your favourite peace corner onboard (aka where do you hide when you need to be alone?)
My bunk is my favourite place on board when I need a moment for myself.
Three magic words to hold fast to?
Look after each other.
Which wild creature would the ship be?
A Manatee.
Biggest fear before joining and greatest satisfaction on the way?
Getting health issues was my biggest fear before we left.
The biggest satisfaction is that I can be part of all this.
Why Tres Hombres?
To me, there is no alternative to the Tres. Who else sails cargo without an engine between Europe and the Caribbean and vice versa? And, for a good cause!

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PROVISIONING ON MARTINIQUE AND MARIE GALANTE

LOCATION NOTES:

Martinique belongs to the French Antilles and it is a well-known pit stop for many (especially French) sailors and cruisers on the Trade Winds route who like to drop their anchors in the many bays the island offers to restock on water, food, fresh croissants and baguettes!

The economy of the island strongly depends on a few agricultural crops such as bananas (first employer of the island) and sugar cane, used to produce the famous rhum agricole the one and only in the world to hold an AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). Right after comes tourism, especially dense and developed in the south of the island where Tres Hombres lands.

It highly relies on mainland France for many resources. Landing in Martinique means also entering French territory, in all meanings. The most consumed and appreciated fruit of this tropical paradise is….the apple. But be sure there is not even one single apple tree growing on the whole island. We won’t dwell here on the post-colonialism issues and consequences that many islands in the Caribbean area still suffer nowadays, but it is essential we keep this awareness well sharp in mind.

Even street markets can be very expensive, many products are imported and the average tourist consumerism is one of the greatest sources of income for the local community. Once a pineapple grower, who also owned a stall at the local market, told us that she had to sell her pineapples very expensive in Martinique because she had to give most of her production to France. She cannot really set a fair price for it. So what remains of her harvest can then be sold freely in the market, but this is the only situation where she is able to choose the price of her fruits herself and to compensate for the little she earns by dealing with the mainland, the local market prices are skyrocketing.

*

Marie Galante, a little island southwest of Guadalupe, is a true pearl and offers a different experience. Definitely more rural than its bigger sisters, Marie Galante still conserves some of its real wild and authentic beauty. Still pretty untouched by the invasive mass tourism and the wicked private construction which ravaged many of the other islands, the time seems to have stopped here. The local community is still very attached to its customs and tradition, animal traction is still widely preferred to mechanical labor of the soil. More oxen and less tractors!

We love this island and try to respect it as best as we can.

PROVISIONING:

I was in such a daze stepping on land for the first time in three weeks when I went to the first little market in Saint Anne that I think I may have got a little ‘done’. I remember thinking that the kilo price for the bananas seemed high, but I was so scrambled and overwhelmed by being off the boat I didn’t properly clock it. Luckily it was only a quick little shop I did there with not too much money wasted.

At the next market in Le Marin, I was a bit more on it, although definitely feeling hindered by not speaking French. The ladies there were businesswomen and know how to hustle. I definitely bought some unintended pineapples as a result of this! However the food was good and I was keen to stock up the dry store after the crossing, especially as I wasn’t sure if we would be able to go ashore in Barbados because of Covid rules. I bought breadfruit at the market and once it got soft and sweet I fried up like plantain. Most of the people on board had not eaten it before. When I provision it’s important for me to find unusual local items and for the food we eat to evolve and change with our surroundings.

Marie Galante

Such a tiny, tiny little island. Marie Galante has a population of 10,000 and only three small villages. In the village we were closest to there were two little veg stalls. With the help of Cami, our Bosun and native French speaker, we managed to organize a larger order of vegetables through one of these stalls. They were quite happy about it, so we got offered to pick up any old veggie that couldn’t be sold, for free. The average tourist cares a bit too much about the sexiness of the fruits and veggies. The first night of picking up a BIG vegetable soup was made!

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MEET THE CREW

MEET OUR TRAINEE EILISH

Age: 23
Nationality: SCOTTISH
Position on board: TRAINEE FOR THE WHOLE JOURNEY
Former occupation on land aka how do you keep yourself busy when you are not sailing?
I am working for an arts company, the “Black Dog Puppet Company”, which is expanding into an arts hub called “Create”.
Since the beginning of it, I am working there, doing a little bit of everything: performing but also building and constructing.
Which book, film, or song (or else) inspired/sparked in you first the dream of a life at sea?
When I was really young, I read a book: the brother of the main character loved boats and I guess that inspired me a lot. Then in my teens, I read a series of books set on tall ships, the Liveship Traders trilogy, which was very fun. And in high school, I studied traditional boat building for a year too. So when I finished my last year of high school, everybody started to look for universities, but I didn’t want to.
So I started to look for tall ships and I found Tres Hombres! I signed up for the half trip, but then a hurricane happened and it got cancelled. In the meantime, I studied organic farming in Norway and had a taste of some traditional sailing there in the fjords, which was very exciting. Then because of Covid, I could save some money and so now I am able to do the whole trip a few years after my original signing on.
What to pack for your sea chest, absolutely?
Loads of socks! More than you think you should pack. Also some way of documenting things, camera or diary, something like that and a good
snack for night watches.
What to leave ashore, doubtless?
Dramatic interpersonal dynamics (D.i.d.)
Which is your favourite peace corner onboard aka where do you hide when you need to be alone.
The Gaff Top Sail (not rigged) for snuggles and my bunk when the foc’s’le is empty (nap time)
Three Magic Words to hold fast to onboard?
Okidoke, Samshine, Fun.
If Tres Hombres was a wild creature, which one she would be?
It’s too difficult to choose something, it’s elusive. I can’t pin it down to one thing.
Biggest fear before joining and greatest satisfaction on the way?
My biggest fear was, that I would be s***t, that I just would be bad.
My greatest satisfaction is, that’s not what happened.
Why Tres Hombres?
I was drawing tall ships in art at school because I find there is something inspiring about them, they are pleasing in every sense.
When I found Fairtransport, the idea grew. And the Tres has no engine, which makes it even better!

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MEET THE CREW

MEET OUR TRAINEE NADINE

Age: 25
Nationality:GERMAN
Position onboard:
TRAINEE FOR THE WHOLE JOURNEY
Former occupation on land (or how do you keep yourself busy when you are not sailing)?
I work as a nurse and this kept me busy most of the time. I was assisting with heart surgeries. So as my daily business I was touching beating hearts in open chests.
Which book, film, or song and/or event inspired and sparked in you first the dream of a life at sea?
I went sailing in the Netherlands with an exchange, organized by our youth centre back in my hometown when I was 13 or 14. Since then I went sailing in the Netherlands every year. Someday I thought: I would like to cross the Atlantic!
What to pack for your sea chest, absolutely?
I wish I would have brought my knife! But definitely, you should bring a unicorn.
What to leave ashore, doubtless?
Phone.
Which is your favourite peace corner onboard aka where do you hide when you need to be alone.
The galley roof!
What do you like the most onboard: a detail of the ship, a routine, a person, an activity…?
Leaving and especially sailing out of the harbours.
Three Magic Words to hold fast to onboard?
Douse the royal!
If Tres Hombres was a wild creature, which one she would be?
While climbing the rigging sometimes reminds me of riding a bucking horse.
Biggest fear before joining and greatest satisfaction on the way?
I was worried about how it would be out in the Atlantic, without being able to reach civilization easily and my greatest satisfaction was to find out how much I enjoyed it when I was actually doing it. And how much I enjoyed not being available!
Why Tres Hombres?
Because I was looking for a safe way to cross the Atlantic. The Tres impressed me with her beauty and the fact that there’s no engine on board. I also wanted to join a traditional sailing vessel, to learn some traditional seaman skills.
I didn’t want to do the crossing in a plastic boat!

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PROVISIONING IN LA PALMA

LOCATION NOTES:

La Palma, also named “La Bonita”, is known for her Jurassic wild flora, black sandy volcanic beaches, and for delighting the visitors at night with one of the purest skies in the whole Northern hemisphere. It is also one of the steepest islands in the world: the top of its main volcano raises above sea level up to 2423 mt.

Biodiversity thrives here, also thanks to its blessed position in warm latitudes swept by the fresh Atlantic breeze, almost always blowing, being at the entrance of the Trade Winds route.

The island got worldwide famous last year due to the major eruptions of La Cumbre Vieja, which lasted for several months and severely impacted the inhabitants of the island and its wildlife. Growers, farmers, and producers have been struggling in such harsh environmental circumstances but the local solidarity made it possible to cope with the situation and get over it.

PROVISIONING:

We landed on the first island of the many we will encounter during our trans-Atlantic voyage: La Palma, on the Canary Islands. Last years’ cook, Sabine, who has lived on the island for many years, linked me up with lots of small-scale producers. It was great getting to drive around the island and picking up the fruit and veggies direct from them. What a provisioning dream this island is, such a great selection of locally grown produce, including things that are specific to the Island. I tried Yuca for the first time and surprised all the crew with this unsuspecting root vegetable. They look like brown sweet potatoes but have the texture of water chestnut and taste like sugar cane! I added them into salads during the crossing which was delicious. They kept for about a month. I also tried Tomatillo, they look a little like plum tomatoes and also grow on a vine, however, the skin is thicker (and a little bitter) but the taste of the fruit inside is really strong and tropical. These fruits are sturdy and I saved them till at least two weeks into the crossing, they were a nice surprise to pull out long after the rest of the more tropical fruit had been used up.

I also enjoyed buying passion fruit that I would add to fruit salads and to ‘refreshing beverages’ that I would sometimes make and had out to the crew in an extra effort to keep them hydrated.

Being this the first time that I provisioned for a big crossing I was for sure carrying some newbies anxiety. I probably over-bought on some things, and maybe under-bought on others. However in the end the crossing went well and we still had plenty of fresh food by the end. I think another week could have gone by and I would have been able to keep the meals at a good level of freshness and interest.

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MEET THE CREW

MEET OUR TRAINEE MARKUS

Name: MARKUS
Age: 32
Nationality: FINNISH
Position onboard:
TRAINEE FOR THE WHOLE VOYAGE
Former occupation on land (or how do you keep yourself busy when you are not sailing)?
Arthur [First Mate] would describe me as a gipsy pirate Viking.
Which book, film, or song and/or event inspired and sparked in you first the dream of a life at sea?Watching “Around Cape Horn”.
What to pack for your sea chest, absolutely?
I have been the happiest about my sunglasses.
What to leave ashore, doubtless?
I don’t have anything with me, I wish I wouldn’t have it with me.
Which is your favourite peace corner onboard aka where do you hide when you need to be alone?The royal yard, but also the helm and also my bunk and also my headphones
What do you like the most onboard: a detail of the ship, a routine, a person, an activity…?
Sailing!
Three Magic Words to hold fast to onboard?
Live a little.
If Tres Hombres was a wild creature, which one she would be?
Thore Olsen [one of the deckhands on board]
Biggest fear before joining and greatest satisfaction on the way?
My biggest fear: Heights and the ocean.
My biggest satisfaction: Enjoying them both now.
Why Tres Hombres?
It’s a non-charter-square-rigger. This should already say everything, I think.

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Sourdough Bread on board (By Guven Daragon, second mate)

This post is for those who thought that we could spend all this time at sea without bread. Let me tell you that we could not!

If you already tried to bake bread, you might have experienced that it is a real learning curve, and onboard taught us to let go and trust our fellow salty crew, regardless of the efforts you put in to mix the dough or knead it, as usually the one making the bread isn’t the one who will shape and bake it.

Our breadmaking journey started this year in Den Helder with a sourdough starter given by a generous bakery from Amsterdam and a recipe that has been used onboard in previous years.

Sourdough bread is a real art and is pretty demanding, as you need to feed the sourdough starter, make the dough, knead it, proof it, shape it, bake it and finally enjoy it. To make things a little more spicy and interesting, imagine all this being done in a moving galley, where you have to dive into the bouncing dry store to pick up flour when you can be called at any time on deck for manoeuvers while your hands are dipped in flour, and where the temperature and moisture evolve as we sail along different latitudes.

As we all love to have fresh crispy warm bread for breakfast, the bread-making process is split in between watches to have it ready for 7h30. The dough is thus made from 20 to 00, kneaded and proofed from 00 to 04 and baked from 04 to 08.

We have been experimenting with many different consistencies and shapes, and don’t get it wrong, all bread was always appreciated, however, not all looked like bread. Do not get mistaken, bread making is not a fair game, regardless of the time and energy you put into it!

As a sourdough starter needs to be fed 3 times a day, ours became one of the “babies” we have onboard, got a name and got taken care of by all of us alternatively, big up to those who have taken greater care.

Here is a shortened version of the sourdough starter saga.

Early in our journey, our first sourdough starter had been named Herbert. To supply our bread consumption, the sourdough starter had to get bigger but still fit in the galley. That’s how Herbert got split in two one morning and became respectively Her and Bert.

Eventually, Her got spread all over the galley table by a gentle wave one morning. Scooped straight back in her homepot, she turned out the next day to be more active than Bert! Accidents sometimes make things better than they were before!

However, all stories do not necessarily end well. Unfortunately, our beloved sourdough did not survive the post north Atlantic ocean crossing in our stopover in Martinique where they got left aside a little too long, ending up with respectively an ore-dish and blue-greenish colours on their tops.

Fortunately, as all sailors have to have at least a plan B, we’ve been backing up our sourdough attempts with dry yeast, which turned out to be the easiest, less demanding and best bread results we made so far.

For those how are curious, here is the recipe the Tres Hombres crew (almost) always succeeds to make.

In a bowl, put 2 kg of flour with:

2 Tablespoons of salt for the taste

1/2 Teaspoon of dry yeast for the fluffiness

2 Tablespoons of sugar to feed the yeast

A drop of vinegar to reduce the yeast taste and help fermentation

Mix dry ingredients and add 1 litre of water.

Cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise for 6 to 10 hours depending on which latitude you are
sailing by.

Shape and bake for an hour at 230 degrees. Enjoy! (For nicer results use a Dutch oven!)

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MEET THE CREW

MEET OUR TRAINEE DARIO

Name: DARIO
Age: 22
Nationality: AUSTRIAN
Position onboard: TRAINEE
Former occupation on land (or how do you keep yourself busy when you are not
sailing)? 
Acting, clowning, basketball.
Which book, film, song and/or event inspired and sparked in you first the
dream of a life at sea? 
Titanic and Castaway.
Once I spent 1hour on a ferry. I really liked the calmness of the sea, this was touching. I felt free.
What to pack for your sea chest, absolutely?
Snacks! Nail clipper!
What to leave ashore, doubtless?
Razor
Which is your favourite peace corner onboard aka where do you hide when you need to be alone.
The poop house.
What do you like the most onboard: a detail of the ship, a routine, a person, an activity…?
The poop house.
Three Magic Words to hold fast to onboard?
Good morning, foc’s’le! [ Traditional wake-up call in the crew accommodations ]
If Tres Hombres was a wild creature, which one she would be?
A camel! You can store a lot of water in a camel.
Biggest fear before joining and greatest satisfaction on the way?
To fall overboard & not to fall overboard.
Why Tres Hombres?
Well, the rum seemed to be pretty good.

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MEET THE CREW

MEET OUR FIRST MATE ARTHUR

Age: 29
Nationality: ENGLISH
Position on board: FIRST MATE
Former occupation on land (or how do you keep yourself busy when you are not sailing)?
I am a jack of all trades which centers around old wooden ships. Carpenter most commonly.
Which book, film, song and/or event inspired and sparked in you first the dream of a life at sea?
For me, sailing has always been an escape, so I guess the true answer is: getting fed up with land-life is what inspires me!
What to pack for your sea chest, absolutely?
Socks (and more socks).
What to leave ashore, doubtless?
A dead fish with gas.
Which is your favourite peace corner onboard aka where do you hide when you need to be alone?
The dinghy. If people talk, you just turn the throttle.
What do you like the most onboard: a detail of the ship, a routine, a person, an activity…?
Ali’s [deckhand] secret stash. NOM.
Three Magic Words to hold fast to onboard?
Gaff Topsail Adventure.
If Tres Hombres was a wild creature, which one would she be?
Estee…
Biggest fear before joining and greatest satisfaction on the way?
Becoming obsolete & becoming obsolete.
Why Tres Hombres?
Stockholm syndrome.

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