Grocery shopping at sea: a multi-sport event

Today, I went grocery shopping with my daughter, Betty. It was a memorable and challenging afternoon. Living on a boat, without a car, makes grocery shopping feel like an Olympic multi-sport event.

First event: dinghy driving

To get to shore we needed to use our dinghy. The ride to shore takes about 10 minutes. To get ashore we bounced across white-capped waves, sometimes being sprayed in the face as we went. I am new to dinghy driving and tend to drive at various angles so this aspect of our trip qualifies as an event. A major event.

Next, we docked our dinghy, and tied it to a post.

Second event: walking to and from the grocery store

With the dinghy secured, we unfolded our collapsible wagon, and walked half a mile to the closest grocery shore. We could have called a taxi, but taxis are expensive in the Florida Keys, and half a mile seemed a manageable distance.

At the grocery store I filled our wagon with dense and compact items like blocks of cheese, coffee, sugar, and Gatorade. Bags of potato chips will have to wait. Potato chips take up too much room in the wagon.

Our cart was overflowing  when we got to the cashier, and we packed it as best we could. Still, it was full to the point that items sometimes fell off as we walked. Four eggs were lost as they shattered along the way. Here is a picture of Betty as we walked back to the dinghy dock.

Betty with our groceries on Highway 1 in Key Largo, Florida.

I was very tempted to call a taxi. But, after setting mini-milestones for ourselves we made it back to the dinghy dock.

Third event: lifting groceries into the dinghy

We put on our lifejackets and began lifting our groceries into the dinghy. I was careful to place our groceries on extra lifejackets. I wanted to protect the cardboard and the contents inside from water.

Results: one bag of carrots was dropped into the water by mistake. It was retrieved by paddle.

Betty is about the release us from the dock. The dinghy is fully loaded.

The dinghy ride back to the boat was quick.

Final event: lifting groceries into our boat

With Rick meeting us we unloaded our groceries from dinghy to boat.

Time: approx 3 hours of quality time with Betty.

Betty turns 10 on Monday.





  1. Based on experiences of many other blogging cruisers, you should definitely lock your dinghy every time you take it to shore. Although it would be nice to trust our fellow man, apparently it doesn’t apply to a dingy.

    Congrats on completing the grocery-a-thon.


  2. I love the photos. Your daughter always appears to be happy to help!!! I know you are headed to The Bahamas soon. We live in Abaco and would love to meet up with other homeschooling families.


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