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Update, day 107: survival food!

As I said in a previous post, I am down to eating some "cup of soup" instant soup packets that I had left over from the southern legs and life raft biscuits. Like the hard tack ships biscuits that powered merchant seamen in the days of sail, these are concentrated biscuits that have had all moisture driven out of them and then vacuum packed so they'll last forever. Unlike their ancient cousins, my life raft biscuits are 400 calories each and are fortified with all sorts of vitamins and minerals so I won't lose my teeth to scurvy while crossing Biscay but I might lose some while crunching the biscuits!

Since the I finished the jury rig I have been eating an estimated 700 calories per day which amounts to a third of government agencies suggest we eat, or a quarter of your average Chipotle burrito! Hmmm... Chipotle! This daily ration is made up of one biscuit and a couple of soups per day with the extra special treat of some alfalfa sprouts a couple of days ago as you'll see in the photo below.

To put this all into perspective I have re-read an excellent account of the sinking of the whaleship Essex in the Pacific. The Nantucket whaler was sent to the bottom after being rammed twice by an enraged sperm whale, launching the crew on a perilous journey across the Pacific in open boats and inspiring Herman Melville's Moby Dick. The crew of the Essex were starved and dehydrated on a diet of a cup of water and 3 oz of hard tack per day. Between the trying conditions and survival cannibalism only 8 of the 21 crew survived.

The story of the Essex certainly puts my hunger pangs in perspective but it also highlights the challenges of solo sailing. Not only can I not count on a helping hand in times of trouble or share a laugh in lighter moments but when things really get tough there's no one to have for dinner!

© Foresight Natural Energy / Conrad Colman #vendeeglobe

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