Several years ago, my husband talked me into taking a class on boating.

Here is a little back-story for you – I grew up in Denver and boating was not really an option when I was a kid. I never even went camping. I was a city girl and a landlubber, plain and simple. My first exposure to water and boating was when we moved to Washington in 1989.

After much research we decided on taking our boating class with Desolation Sound Yacht Charters in Comox, B.C. There were Seattle companies to choose from but they only took you out for a weekend. You boarded the boat on Friday night, learned some boating on Saturday, returned to the marina on Sunday.  This was as bad as the Driving Class our children took in high school where they spent weeks reading about driving and only had four hours on the highway. How was someone supposed to learn boating in a weekend?

With Desolation Sound Yacht Charters classes we chartered a boat for seven days, an experienced Captain accompanied and spent time training us, and it was only a little more in cost than a weekend in Seattle. I decided if nothing else, I had a week vacation in an area I heard was stunning. What did I have to lose?

A month before our trip we received two very large binders, our homework for the next month. My husband absorbed it like a sponge, I on the hand, struggled. But I plowed through the monstrosity of text and diagrams and did pretty well on the tests.

As part of the package we were responsible for our homework, fuel for the boat, and provisioning. For someone who had no experience in camping or boating, I was at a loss. What was the best way to maximize a menu for a week on a boat and with a stranger? What if he had allergies? Or was a finicky eater like me? What size was the fridge? Did they have a fridge? This was before there was a lot of information online and I did not know any boaters to ask.

I was also unfamiliar with the area. Were there stores around? I envisioned a wilderness, remote and removed from civilization. I planned out the menu with limited knowledge and uncertainty. I assumed the boat had a small fridge so we invested in a small cooler on wheels that folded up when empty. I planned meals that did not require a lot of items, which needed to be kept cold.

Once we arrived at the marina and checked in, they took us down to the boat. I now had a visual picture of what we had to work with. We located the local grocery store and commenced provisioning for three meals for seven days, plus snacks. I felt I over-bought, but since I wasn’t sure if we would ever see a store again, I felt it was better to have too much than not enough.

If it had just been the two of us, I would felt more secure in what was needed. Having the responsibility of feeding a complete stranger made it a little more challenging for me. Turned out he was not allergic to anything, at least nothing I purchased. He was not a finicky eater. One night he even cooked and made some of the best fish I had ever had.

What I did not count on and could not foresee was that he was English and he loved milk with his tea. The boat turned out to have a small fridge so I did not purchase a lot of milk, just enough for a couple of meals. I did purchase some boxed milks, Rice Milk or Almond, I think? But for a good cup of tea, sometimes two in a day, only real milk was good enough. We ran out of milk by day three.

I should point out we were in Desolation Sound in late September. I had heard there were less crowds and boats after the 15thof September and as a newbie I preferred to embarrass myself in front of only a small crowd. It turned out there were a couple of stores in the area, but since it was late in the season the store at Refuge Cove was closed. When we finally made it to Squirrel Cove we made a trip to the store. My first stop – milk. After all, a good cup of tea only deserved the best.

What did I forget? Not much, as it turned out. I got lucky and we did not have much for leftovers. For a first time boater, on a charter, with a Captain, I did not do too badly when it came to provisioning.

Learning to boat, well that’s another story.